Phillip Rolle
Phillip Rolle

Young entrepreneurs in the northeast are positioning themselves to take advantage of the opportunities linked to the impending international airport.

The airport construction project, to be built with funds from the Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programme is currently in its early phases and is expected to be completed by 2025.

The Dominica Youth Business Trust (DYB) with funding from UK Aids SkY (United Kingdom Aids Skilled Youth), has brought one of its flagship programmes to the northeast, spanning the areas of Concord to Marigot.

Coordinator of the DYBT, Phillip Rolle, told The Sun the Entrepreneurial Development Programme (EDP) is geared at fine-tuning the skills of young business-minded individuals.

"At the end of the day what we are trying to do is build the capacity of the young people to get involved in business, become an entrepreneur," Rolle said.

The EDP has been decentralized before, having been hosted in Grand Bay and St. Joseph.

The four-week course will teach entrepreneurs how to position themselves to yield better outcomes from their goods and services. Rolle says the course has been structured to ensure a large number of entrepreneurs is able to attend.

"We'll be running sessions in the evenings from 5 pm to 8 pm twice weekly," he said. "So we're making it very accessible to the entrepreneurs who live in the area, even persons who work, working in the day and have time to come and do these training sessions in the evening."

The northeast is of particular interest to the DYBT for this signature training programme as the country anticipates an influx of tourists over the next few years.

"We notice with the construction and other opportunities which will surround the international airport, we see it as a chance to prepare our young people to take advantage of these opportunities," Rolle said.

Twenty people have come on board with this programme thus far, though the Coordinator hopes more will follow suit. He says the entrepreneurs bring with them a wide range of skills and services to the table.

"There are some in food and beverage, others involved in retail, as well as some involved in agriculture and cosmetology and so forth," he said.

Rolle noted the low number of males engaged in the programme and says they too can join the sessions and reap the benefits of entrepreneurial life.

"As of right now we have quite a bit of women, we are still hoping that we get more males to join the programme. Because entrepreneurship is for everyone and we want to see the young men in particular who have an abundance of skill really tap into that and see if they can turn some of their technical abilities into opportunities for income generation," Rolle said.

The Entrepreneurial Development Programme is highly sought after island-wide, as young people and communities by extension are realizing the benefits and spillover effects of entrepreneurship.