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Free camps for aspiring young entrepreneurs

Youthful aspiration: Jamahl Simmons, minister of economic development, director of ITC Policy & Innovation Dr Marisa Stones, and BizCamp instructors Joe Mahoney and Philip Trott with previous participants in the programme (Photograph supplied)

Aspiring young Bermudian entrepreneurs are to be taught business skills next month at free camps conducted by the Youth Entrepreneurship Initiative in conjunction with the Department of ITC Policy and Innovation.

Two intensive seven-day sessions, excluding weekends, will be held at Bermuda College from July 8 to 16 and from July 18 to 26.

YEI BizCamps are open to 36 participants between 13 and 17 years of age. Applicants will be admitted on a rolling basis until the available spots are filled.

Students use textbooks, a syllabus specific workbook, online research, guest lecturers and field-based market research to learn about opportunity recognition, cost of goods, pricing, marketing and many other aspects of running a company. Their objective is to develop and present their own comprehensive business plan at the end of the session.

Joe Mahoney, executive director of the YEI, uses a curriculum from a variety of sources, including the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, Babson College, and the Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education.

Mr Mahoney said: “The goal is to inspire young people to become business-savvy and economically self-sufficient. Participants are provided with a business plan template. After learning the concepts, they complete the plan with information for their own business idea and present it to a panel of judges selected from the business community.”

Entrepreneurs and financing partners present real-world practices at the camps. Jamillah Lodge of the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation, who has served as a BizCamp judge, said: “This is an awesome opportunity to see what the future of Bermudian entrepreneurship looks like.”

YEI is a not-for-profit organisation established in 2002 with a mission to foster the development of an entrepreneurial spirit among the young people of Bermuda. More than 1,000 youths have developed and presented business plans, earning certificates for participating in the programme.

The camps are offered at no cost due to the support of the Department of ICT Policy & Innovation and sponsors Bank of Bermuda Foundation, Bermuda Community Foundation, HSBC, Tokio Millennium Re, Chubb Charitable Foundation, XL/Catlin Foundation, Argo Foundation, and One Communications.

Electronic applications are available at the government portal www.gov.bm/online-services/summer-bizcamp, or an e-mail may be sent to jmahoney@gov.bm.