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JA students transform Woodford Square into lively marketplace

Published: 
Saturday, April 28, 2018
Young entrepreneurs celebrate as they prepare to sell their products at the Junior Achievement Annual Trade Fair at Woodford Square, Port-of-Spain. PICTURE BENCHMARK COMMUNICATIONS

Woodford Square, Port-of-Spain, was transformed into a lively marketplace as hundreds of students attached to Junior Achievement (JA) offered a wide variety of products for sale at the organisation’s 2018 annual Trade Fair on April 13.

Representing 33 companies, the students represented secondary schools from across Trinidad who participated in Junior Achievement, T&T’s after-school JA Company Programme, the organisation’s signature youth development initiative.

“Today is the culmination of a lot of hard work and perseverance. We faced many challenges in forming our company and getting to the stage where we are offering quality products for sale,” said Delilah Mohammed-Khan, president of Big Money Productions, one of several companies sponsored by platinum sponsor, bpTT.

A student of ASJA Girls High School, Tunapuna, Mohammed-Khan said the experience has given her and her colleagues greater self-confidence and taught them the benefits of business enterprise. “Today is not Black Friday. It is Great Friday,” she added, with a wide smile.

Joel Primus, Community Sustainability and Stakeholder Relations adviser, bpTT, challenged the young entrepreneurs to use the JA experience as a driving force in determining their future.

“We are witnessing hundreds of young people engaged in productive activity this morning. Junior Achievement has done a remarkable job of preparing you for the future and I urge you to grasp it with both hands. I want you to consider a future as an entrepreneur where you are your own boss, directing and charting your own future. Instead of looking for a job, be in a position to offer a job,” Primus told the students.

Recalling that Woodford Square had witnessed many epoch-making events in the country’s history, Primus exhorted the young achievers to make their own mark on its landscape by taking the first steps to become future entrepreneurs.

JA executive director, J Errol Lewis, recounted the history of Junior Achievement in T&T, starting in 1970 with the very first trade fair.

“Who wants to get a job when you can create your own employment? Take this opportunity to consider seriously the option of becoming your own boss and creating employment for others,” he said.

The JA executive thanked bpTT for its long-standing partnership with the organisation in its youth development initiative.

He also lauded the support of the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business which facilitated training courses in business operations, and Dawn Richards and Company for giving the students insights in customer service.

Items peddled by the JA young entrepreneurs included hand-crafted products such as printed tee-shirts, wrist and hand bands, earrings, bracelets, chains and necklaces made of beads, souvenir buttons, designer bandanas, mugs and glasses, cushions, pastries and plants.

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