bmobile joins YBTT to shine light on young entrepreneurial graduates
TSTT Corporate Communications
The Youth Business Trinidad and Tobago (YBTT) JumpSTART Incubator Programme celebrated entrepreneurial graduates of the virtual two-month programme with a ceremony featuring past graduands, mentors, and corporate sponsors. The event was held at the TSTT Hospitality Suite at the Queen's Park Oval, Port of Spain recently.
As a long-time supporter of youth and education, bmobile has encouraged the development of a more robust youth entrepreneurial culture. According to Khamal Georges, Senior Manager, Corporate, Environmental, Social & Reputation Management, "Entrepreneurs drive more than a third of our GDP as a nation. And in these unprecedented times, our support of YBTT is directed at improving the likely successes of young entrepreneurs who, in turn, make meaningful contributions to our overall economic well-being. They also seek to solve challenges that we experience in socially responsible ways, which is a boost to our overall well-being." Georges added that the bmobile Foundation offers support in business, sports, education, health and culture. "Our corporate responsibility is intended to not only create short-term benefit but also comprises the broader view of creating positive impact for the society that is part of our very DNA," he added.
The YBTT JumpSTART Incubator is designed to cater to individuals aged 18 to 35, aiming to invigorate their mindsets, generate business ideas, transform those ideas into reality, and ensure the sustainability of their entrepreneurial endeavours. The organisation employs a three-pronged approach to their entrepreneurial development program, which includes training, mentorship, and the cultivation of peer-to-peer networks. They also encourage mentorship as a means of motivation.
One programme graduate is well-recognised for his novel approach to solving a simple problem: how to clean vehicles in a climate-friendly way. Joining the graduation ceremony, Dareem Jeffrey, founder of EcoWash, encouraged graduates to focus on the simple things. "Don't aim to reinvent the wheel, but maybe put some rims on it instead! Figure out how to make your marketing different or your customer service better. These things matter. Remember that you may lose good friends in entrepreneurship, but you will gain great ones, you may lose sleep, but you can afford amazing vacations," he advised. EcoWash has won numerous awards for its novel autonomous carwash service that only requires two litres of water to wash one vehicle. At scale, the impact conserves water while his customers shop at various malls and locations where his location-independent business operates.
Charles Maynard, General Manager of National Enterprises Limited (NEL), also left advice for graduands adding, "Be your authentic self especially in business; that's number one. The second thing is that while we all want to change the world, focus on local solutions to local problems. For this, you can take notes from Mr. Jeffrey and his EcoWash solution," he noted. NEL is an investment holding company that consolidates the Government's shareholding in selected State Enterprises (including TSTT). Charles also noted that entrepreneurs should be mindful of creating wealth and not simply earning money.
Other speakers included Atiba Henry, a 2023 Incubator graduate; Michelle Johnson, Marketing Manager - Business Segments of Republic Bank; Lisa Ann Joseph, Managing Director, Reputation Management Caribbean and newly appointed Director of the Board of YBTT.
Several graduates also received special recognition and prizes, including:
• Business Pitch Winner - Atiba Henry
• Runner-Ups - Delisia Joseph & Khachielle Farmer
• Most Innovative and Social Business Idea - Ayodhya Ouditt
• Google Classroom Representative - Kai Emmanuel
• Judges Choice - Brittney Roberts
The Youth Business Trinidad and Tobago (YBTT) is a recognised member of Youth Business International (YBI), a worldwide network of programs supporting young entrepreneurs. Founded in 2001, YBTT is a registered non-profit organisation fully incorporated as an NGO in Trinidad and Tobago. Its mission is to empower young individuals to establish profitable and long-lasting businesses, promoting a sustainable future. Since 2019, YBTT has graduated 142 young persons, with 72% of them being female. According to recent surveys conducted on the 2021 and 2022 cohorts, it was found that 42% of participants at the idea stage proceeded to establish their own businesses, and an impressive 90% of them were still actively trading after their initial two years of operation.
The bmobile Foundation, the philanthropic arm of bmobile, is dedicated to positively impacting the development of the country's youth.