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18 New Companies Come on Stream

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Contact: John Emmanuel

November 10, 1998 - Eighteen new business ventures to be operated and managed by secondary school students on the island, on Tuesday were presented with their company charters as the St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce launched the 1998-99 Junior Achievement Program.

The initiative is receiving wide-ranging support from several corporate sponsors as well as Government of St. Lucia. Junior Achievement is an international non-profit educational program, geared at teaching basic business operations in a free market economy. In the case of St. Lucia the program is into its third year of operations and already it is experiencing tremendous growth

AIf you consider that we started with six companies and today eighteen accepted charters than truly we are doing quite well indeed. We have triple the number of corporate sponsors in a matter of only three years and I think that speaks well for the program,@ so says David Bethea - Executive Director of the Junior Achievement Program in St. Lucia.

Under the program students organize and operate a business over the course of the school year. They elect officers, sell stock, determine a product or service, produce and market it, pay themselves and maintain all normal business records. Moves are now underway at introducing other non-business programs to students of primary schools.

The success of the program is welcome news to government, not only because its provides extensive support to the initiative via the Ministry of Education, but because it fits in with government=s overall plan of getting young St. Lucians to be more enterprising.

According to Prime Minister the Hon. Dr. Kenny Anthony, Athe future of St. Lucia really lie in our young people deciding to be creative, innovative and imaginative. In that process you and I must explore all the opportunities that are available for self-employment in this country,= Dr. Anthony he told his audience.

Prime Minister Anthony says the program represented recognition of the fact, that the way to go in this country was to prepare St. Lucians for competition and sound investment.

For the Chamber of Commerce which is spearheading the venture, the move is bent on reversing the trend of students leaving school but being totally unprepared for the world of work.

Chamber President and Chairman of Junior Achievement Guy Mayers, says the program was mounted in an effort at changing the culture of business in St. Lucia. AWe hope that by introducing the teaching of practical business skills into the school system from as early as form three, the experience will serve students well so that upon leaving school, whether they work for government or start their own businesses, the skills acquired from the Junior Achievement program would have placed them on the right path to make a success of themselves.

The goal is to have twenty-eight secondary schools on stream before the end of this year, allowing the program to reach one thousand students. Throughout the course of the initiative students receive assistance from the corporate sponsors, who fund the new companies as well as provide a consultant to advise students on business matters.

At end of the school the companies are liquidated and the assets distributed to share holders, if the company makes a profit.


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