Youth Innovation Project to feature ‘Shark Tank’ event
– Minister Ramson Jr.
Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Hon. Charles Ramson Jr. says his Ministry intends to take a new approach to managing the Youth Innovation Project of Guyana (YIPoG) and will equip the participants with the skills to properly showcase their ideas.
The Minister made this statement on Saturday during NCN’s “Budget in Focus” programme.
To ensure the success of the initiative, a $90-million allocation in the 2021 National Budget would be disbursed in three ways.
Forty million dollars will be for grants, another $40 million for training and monitoring of the participants’ development and the remaining $10 million would go towards operational expenses.
“So, what we have also done as well is we are tying a ‘Shark Tank’ event or show into the development of this Youth Innovation Project. So, even though it will have a be a ‘stand-alone’ some of that, or a portion of that will be tied into our ‘Shark Tank’ event or enlist our ‘Shark Tank’ event,” he said.
Shark Tank is a US television show which provides a platform for aspiring entrepreneurs to pitch their business ideas to investors in the hope of securing funding for them.
Minister Ramson says this approach would be made possible through collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce. He said to date his discussions with Minister, Hon. Oneidge Walrond have been fruitful. So far, the Commerce Minister has identified at least five small business grants and he plans to do the same.
The Ministry is also currently in talks with overseas investors, who are seeking to create a venture capital fund. Minister Ramson said this would allow the investors to be part of the show and provide an opportunity for them to mentor the participants.
“We are looking to create that environment where they can do that training as well, training specifically for business so that we’re not just leaving them out to go, ‘here’s the money, go do what you got to do.’ We want to make sure that we stay with them to take it to the end,” Minister Ramson said. The YIPoG was launched in 2017 to provide youth with the opportunity to become entrepreneurs by proposing innovative solutions to address issues in their communities. They were expected to utilise Science, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture, Anthropology, Archaeology, Arts, Mathematics and Spirituality (STEAMS) in this endeavour.