Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

Forty business students from two schools in east Trinidad – Mayaro Secondary and Rio Claro East Secondary – have received a timely incentive to enter the world of business through a skills development programme implemented by the Mayaro Initiative for Private Enterprise Development (MIPED).

The mix of Form Four and Five students received a step-by-step instruction in the creation of a business plan delivered by experienced tutors from the Youth Training and Employment Partnership Programme (YTEPP), who are partnering with MIPED on this innovative project.

Kevin Weekes, a Form Four student at Rio Claro East Secondary, welcomed the opportunity. “This training was very helpful and we really learnt a lot. It made the classroom learning come alive because we got to understand the planning of a business from the ground up. The tutors were excellent and gave us a practical understanding of the syllabus. I was thinking about opening my own business when I complete my studies, and with this training I now have a definite advantage,” Weekes said.

Started by energy company BP Trinidad and Tobago in 2002 with a seed fund of $7 million, MIPED facilitates the development of small business entrepreneurs and contribute to the development of the south-eastern community by providing a combination of financial and technical support to interested persons. To date, the organisation has invested over $45 million and created over 2,000 permanent and 4,000 temporary jobs.

Ronda Francis, Corporate Responsibility Manager, bpTT, and Director on MIPED’s Board, was enthusiastic about the partnership with YTEPP: “One of the key aspects of our investments in the community and young people is in the area of education. This will serve to energise the next generation of micro-entrepreneurs in the south eastern community and MIPED will be there to support them further when they are ready to get into business.”

Each school chose a business idea, ranging from bouncy castle rental to a bakery, and either individually or in groups, the students covered all the aspects of creating a business development plan for micro-entrepreneurs, including a marketing plan, cash flow projections and projected income statement.

Trudy Harripaul, teacher in Principles of Business at Mayaro Secondary School, explained the scope of benefits the students received. “This is a great idea and the training sessions with the students were strategic and on-point. The topics have strengthened the students’ understanding of challenging areas of the POB syllabus, giving them a definite advantage in terms of their school-based assessments. A business plan question usually appears in the CXC exams so I’m sure that the students who participated in this programme will ace that one. They really have benefitted a lot and MIPED and YTEPP have to be commended for this investment in our young people,” Harripaul said.

Of the four secondary schools taking part in the programme, Mayaro and Rio Claro East are the first to complete the minimum 12 contact hours of training that started in February. Soon to complete the training are Rio Claro West and Guayaguayare. As an added incentive to the students, following the submission of all the completed business plans, there will be an evaluation by MIPED and YTEPP with awards presented to the top students

Wayne Griffith, Micro Entrepreneurship Technical Supervisor at YTEPP, gave high marks to the training programme: “The core elements of setting up a business were covered and the students demonstrated a great deal of understanding and technical knowledge. It helped them frame a better understanding of the subject areas covered, and from the feedback, some of them are already looking forward to open their own businesses. We look forward to collaborating with MIPED in expanding this programme because it is beneficial to the next generation of business owners.”

Wayne Griffith (left), Micro Entrepreneurship Technical Supervisor, YTEPP, and Rio Claro East Secondary business studies teacher, Vijai Balliram (right) help these Form Four students put the finishing touches on their business plans as part of the training initiative implemented by the Mayaro Initiative for Private Enterprise Development (MIPED).

Wayne Griffith (left), Micro Entrepreneurship Technical Supervisor, YTEPP, and Rio Claro East Secondary business studies teacher, Vijai Balliram (right) help these Form Four students put the finishing touches on their business plans as part of the training initiative implemented by the Mayaro Initiative for Private Enterprise Development (MIPED).

Form Five students from Mayaro Secondary celebrate the successful completion of their business plan training that was facilitated by MIPED and YTEPP. Sharing in the excitement are Wayne Griffith (second from right), Micro Entrepreneurship Technical Supervisor, YTEPP and Mayaro Secondary Principles of Business teacher, Trudy Harripaul.

Form Five students from Mayaro Secondary celebrate the successful completion of their business plan training that was facilitated by MIPED and YTEPP. Sharing in the excitement are Wayne Griffith (second from right), Micro Entrepreneurship Technical Supervisor, YTEPP and Mayaro Secondary Principles of Business teacher, Trudy Harripaul.