Students from six high-schools across the island showcased their entrepreneurial skills and business development projects during the “I am the Change Expo: An Initiative to Develop Young Entrepreneurs” today at the Mona Business Lodge. The project is a partnership between the Digicel Foundation and the Mutual Building Societies Foundation. Participating schools are: Seaforth, Porus, Green Pond, Godfrey Stewart, McGrath and Mile Gully High Schools.
Launched in 2011, the Young Entrepreneur “I am the Change” Programme encourages innovation and business development through entrepreneurial activities. Since its inception, the Digicel Foundation has invested approximately $15 million. During the course of the last year, students were charged with developing mobile applications that would assist with solving issues within their schools and communities. These apps include; emergency notifications, study guides, job search mediums and produce distribution channels.
“This has been a great experience. One that has provided us with a number of opportunities and the chance to meet successful entrepreneurs in Jamaica,” noted Ashley Ann Porter, Mile Gully High student. “The programme has really been wonderful and I want to thank all the sponsors including Digicel Foundation, MBSF, JN and all the others for making this happen.”
Samantha Chantrelle, Executive Director of Digicel Foundation applauded the efforts of the participants, saying, “The work displayed by the students today is not only amazing, but truly inspiring. I am confident that these students have bright futures ahead of them and I commend their teachers and mentors, for having played instrumental roles in their development.” Chantrelle also reiterated the commitment of the Foundation to Youth endeavours across the island, “The Digicel Foundation remains fully committed to the empowerment of our youth through innovation and the use of information technologies.”
Kimala Bennett, Managing Director of the Business Lab, highlighted the role of the programme in youth innovation, noting, “We want our kids to imagine greater things and then we want to equip them with the tools to actualize the creations of their imaginations. That’s really what it’s all about.”
During the formalities, students were addressed by The Hon. Julian Robinson, Minister of State in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Mr. Marlon Morgan, Aide, Office of the Leader of the Opposition and Ingrid Riley, Founder and lead strategist of ConectiMass.