On November 19, the IDB announced one of two Juscelino Kubitschek Awards to the Caribbean Centre of Excellence for Youth Entrepreneurship (CEYE) in the amount of US $100,000.00. There were more than 496 proposals submitted from 28 countries. The award recognizes outstanding contributions in i) economics and finance, and 2) social, cultural, and scientific achievement and is given every two years.
Established 12 years ago, the CEYE is a not-for-profit company which gives support to young entrepreneurs by offering life and job skills training with the objective of turning young people into productive and successful business people. The age group of 18-35 year olds experiences the highest unemployment in the Caribbean. The CEYE’s goal is to help this age group to be business entrepreneurs and provide jobs for others.
The CEYE often lends capital to assist a young person to start a business without collateral and without guarantors. In the Caribbean, banks microfinance and credit unions will not take this risk. Over $2 million dollars facilitated by CEYE have been used to create over 3567 youth businesses in the region, providing an average four jobs per business. 75% of young entrepreneurs have repaid their loans and over 75% of them are still in business after three years.
Marcia Brandon, Managing Director of the CEYE, told The Barbados Advocate that they were very proud and pleased to be recognized for their hard work and good results. She added, “[Winning] the Juscelino Kubitschek Award for us is an inspiration; it again tells us we are on the right path. We will continue to strive for excellence in the work that we do and in helping others.”
Among its many activities, the CEYE:
- Coordinates the work, sustainability and growth of Caribbean entrepreneurship organizations with which it partners by assisting them with start-up of their operations; implementation of structures, systems, processes and procedures; partnership building; resource mobilization and accreditation/legitimization.
- Partners with regional public and private sectors to develop entrepreneurship and social development programs for corporate social responsibility and community engagement.
- Partners with international social development investors to design, implement, monitor and evaluate socially and economically impactful projects/programs for youth and women towards the sustainable development of the region.