FIELD Brief No. 12: Accelerating Youth Enterprise through Partnership
This “FIELD Brief” is the twentieth in a series produced by the Financial Integration, Economic Leveraging and Broad-Based Dissemination (FIELD)-Support Program. This brief discusses how an innovative partnership model in the Eastern Caribbean helped youth kick-start their business ideas.
The Eastern Caribbean Youth Microenterprise Program (ECYMP), a cooperative agreement under the FIELD-Support LWA funded by USAID and implemented by FHI 360 and its partner EcoVentures, was designed to address issues of increasing unemployment and the resulting negative social behaviors of youth in the Caribbean. ECYMP sought to accelerate the creation of sustainable livelihoods and employment opportunities for vulnerable youth (ages 16-30) by supporting both increased employment and the establishment of small businesses by and for youth in Barbados and four Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) countries: Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent.
Recognizing that youth development is most effective when undertaken by local community organizations directly, the project served to build the capacity of national initiatives and local youth-serving organizations (YSO) to deliver needed services to youth. ECYMP piloted a unique market-driven approach to youth entrepreneurship development that sought to build the capacity of and transfer needed skills to local YSO partners implement interventions that: a) link youth entrepreneurship interventions to specific market opportunities; and b) develop linkages between youth entrepreneurs and private sector actors as a critical source of market access, technical expertise, and market information.