En­trepreneurs turn out for Ju­nior Achiev­ers

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By Faye-Chantelle Mon­de­sir

The 19th an­nual awards cer­e­mony of Ju­nior Achieve­ment Saint Lu­cia (JA-SLU) was held on Thurs­day 17th Septem­ber, 2015 at the Golden Palm Events Cen­tre, Rod­ney Bay.

Ju­nior Achieve­ment (JA) is one of the world's largest non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tions, ded­i­cated to im­prov­ing the lives of the youth by pro­vid­ing eco­nomic lit­er­acy pro­grammes to stu­dents and teach­ing them the im­por­tance of an ed­u­ca­tion. Over 10.6 mil­lion stu­dents ex­pe­ri­ence the JA pro­gramme an­nu­ally. Thurs­day's cer­e­mony rec­og­nized the ef­forts of lo­cal stu­dents over the past year.

The JA-SLU pro­gramme was ini­ti­ated in 1996 as a pro­ject of the St Lu­cia Cham­ber of Com­merce, In­dus­try and Agri­cul­ture. JA-SLU, a fran­chise of the par­ent com­pany, ‘Ju­nior Achieve­ment World­wide', op­er­ates un­der the pa­tron­age of Her Ex­cel­lency, The Gover­nor Gen­eral Dame Pear­lette Louisy, who was guest of hon­our at the event.

The morn­ing's guest speaker was RJB Ho­tel Sup­plies' man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, Mr. Rick Jonathan Barnard. He of­fered the stu­dents a brief history of the com­pany that he started in Oc­to­ber 2013 and which cur­rently rep­re­sents lo­cally over 4,000 qual­ity-prod­uct brands. Barnard re­called his begin­nings in a two-storey Morne For­tune apart­ment, the bot­tom floor serv­ing as his ware­house. He inspired stu­dents with sage ad­vice: “Hav­ing a dream, hard work, de­ter­mi­na­tion, pas­sion and stay­ing fo­cused brings about last­ing re­wards”.

Of­fer­ing him­self as proof, Barnard as­sured his au­di­ence: “You too can build the busi­ness of your dreams from scratch,” while ac­knowl­edg­ing that his main in­spi­ra­tion was “my fam­ily.”

Fol­low­ing his stint at the mi­cro­phone, the 27-year-old en­tre­pre­neur proudly told me, “I of­fer my clients the op­por­tu­nity to pur­chase lo­cally their for­eign­man­u­fac­tured sup­plies. We don't only pro­vide for ho­tels and restau­rants, as many be­lieve; we also re­tail such house­hold items as ket­tles and other kitchen­ware.” RJB op­er­ates eleven ve­hi­cles and em­ploys a staff of fif­teen.

This year's cer­e­mony formed part of the Min­istry of Com­merce Busi­ness month and was in­cluded in the cal­en­dar of ac­tiv­i­ties.

The for­mer pres­i­dent of the St. Lu­cia Cham­ber of Com­merce, Mr. Chris Hus­bands, told me that his goal was: “to help Ju­nior Achiev­ers as much as pos­si­ble; to foster fi­nan­cial lit­er­acy, good cit­i­zen­ship and lead­er­ship out­side the cur­ricu­lum.” Be­tween last year and now, he said, “We have man­aged to have entrepreneurship of­fi­cially en­dorsed by the gov­ern­ment as a part of the school syl­labus.”

Awards were pre­sented as fol­lows:

Na­tional Achiever of the Year 2014/2015: 1st place, with a bur­sary of $3,000 - Keeghan Pa­trick of St Mary's Col­lege; 2nd place, with a bur­sary of $2,500 - Va­lerie Bap­tiste of Choiseul Sec­ondary School; 3rd place, with a CXC voucher val­ued at $500 - R' Monty Regis of Soufriere Com­pre­hen­sive School.

Com­pany Awards: Best At­ten­dance - JA Xpress De­signz of the Babon­neau Sec­ondary School; Best Records - Tie Daz­zle of the Choiseul Sec­ondary School; High­est Re­turn on In­vest­ment Award - Gem Pa­pier of the Ge­orge Charles Sec­ondary School; Sales Per­son of the Year - Ka­maliah Mon­roque, JA Xpress De­signs of Babon­neau Sec­ondary School; The Gover­nor Gen­eral's Award for In­no­va­tion, Orig­i­nal­ity and Cre­ativ­ity - Gem Pa­pier of the Ge­orge Charles Sec­ondary school.

Com­pany of the Year 2014/2015: 1st place - Gem Pa­pier of Ge­orge Charles Sec­ondary School; 2nd place - Tie Daz­zle - Choiseul Sec­ondary School; 3rd place - JA Xpress De­signz – Babon­neau Sec­ondary School.

Ju­nior Achieve­ment Saint Lu­cia con­grat­u­lates all par­tic­i­pants and en­cour­ages them to con­tinue de­vel­op­ing their en­tre­pre­neur­ial spirit.

Gover­nor Gen­eral Dame Pear­lette Louisy pre­sent­ing Gem Pa­pier of Ge­orge Charles Sec­ondary School

with an award.

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