Youth entrepreneurship organisations from thirteen Commonwealth countries across the Caribbean and including Canada have agreed to form a regional alliance of young entrepreneurs. The group will be called the Commonwealth Alliance of Young Entrepreneurs – Caribbean & Canada (CAYE–C&C).
The Alliance will be modelled on the Commonwealth Asia Alliance of Young Entrepreneurs (CAAYE), which was formed in 2011 and brings together young entrepreneurs from Commonwealth countries in Asia. The decision was unanimously reached by twenty organisations at a forum hosted by the Commonwealth Secretariat from 10 to 12 December 2014 in Barbados.
The proposed mission of the Commonwealth Alliance of Young Entrepreneurs-Caribbean & Canada (CAYE–C&C) is to:
- Empower and nurture young people through access to essential resources including entrepreneurship training, financial and technical support, networking and mentorship opportunities;
- Advocate for policies conducive to creating a strong entrepreneurial culture and ecosystem; and
- Gain global recognition as the voice and face of young entrepreneurs in the Caribbean and Canada.
The Alliance will focus on building support for youth entrepreneurship, promoting knowledge-sharing among member organisations and stakeholders, providing information to young entrepreneurs, and facilitating regional trade for young entrepreneurs.
Speaking at the forum, Katherine Ellis, Director of Youth at the Commonwealth Secretariat, welcomed the groundswell of support received for establishing the Commonwealth Alliance of Young Entrepreneurs – Caribbean & Canada.
Ms Ellis said: “This Alliance will be an invaluable network for young entrepreneurs in the Caribbean and Canada, and help to build trading opportunities and represent their interests across the 53 nations of the Commonwealth and beyond. At the Commonwealth Secretariat, we are committed to the cause of youth enterprise, and we will continue to support and connect young entrepreneurs so that their voices are heard by decision makers at the highest levels.”
Countries represented in the Alliance are: Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, The Bahamas, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, St Kitts & Nevis, Saint Lucia, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, and St Vincent & the Grenadines.
Representatives from the Commonwealth Asia Alliance of Young Entrepreneurs (CAAYE) and the G20 Young Entrepreneurs Alliance assisted with the forum, providing support and inspiration to the young entrepreneurs from the Caribbean and Canada.
Grenada was represented by Jessie Cumberbatch, Executive Director – Junior Achievement Grenada and Jana Caniga, Founder – Grenada Young Entrepreneurs Project (GYEP).