By Machela Osagboro
Young Antiguan entrepreneurs are being given a boost thanks to a US $5 million pledge from Global Ports Holding (GPH) towards its charitable arm, the Yes Foundation.
Prime Minister Gaston Browne hopes the scheme will further encourage the growth of home-grown businesses.
Minister of Tourism, Charles Fernandez, announced the news in his budget debate speech on Thursday.
The foundation will be launched later this year.
GPH’s general manager, Dona Regis-Prosper, told OBSERVER, “As a company with an international footprint of 19 ports around the world, we know that there is a global impact in terms of what we do.
“We are a company that takes corporate and social responsibility very seriously and we understand that, while we are a part of a destination, we are also a part of a community,” she explained.
Asked how they decided on which area to invest in the community, Regis-Prosper said that GPH took a step back and looked at the social needs of the community in making its assessment. She stated that GPH has put similar initiatives in place to ensure sustainable success at all its ports around the world.
This scheme is aimed at providing mentorship programmes that will bring in global expertise to develop the local entrepreneurship culture within Antigua. Research and training will be given to these youths and their success will be monitored to make them more successful in their industries.
The funds will be made available through the Antigua and Barbuda Development Bank (ABDB) and young nationals will get a chance to be sponsored if they present a solid business plan to the foundation.
In his budget speech on January 29, Browne said that those, “who have the ambition to start their own business or develop their current tourism-focused business”, are encouraged to sign up.