THE Young Entrepreneurs Council Solomon Islands (YECSI) has launched the first ever business-mentoring programme on Thursday 2nd May, 2019.
Called ‘Teachim Me’, the programme offers mentoring opportunities for YECSI members where they can gain the ability to learn and improve their businesses by interacting with experienced mentor.
For this pilot programme, nine young entrepreneurs (mentees) are paired with experienced mentors who are also members of the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI).
YECSI is setup under the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) with support from Government through the Ministry of Women, Youth and Children Affairs to represent young entrepreneurs in the Solomon Islands
The Teachim Me programme is envisioned to run for a period of 4 months with mentoring sessions occurring on a fortnightly basis at a venue agreed upon by the mentor and mentee.
This is an opportunity for the mentors, comprising of general managers, experienced business owners and a consultant to share their skills, knowledge and experiences with the upcoming entrepreneurs.
YECSI Coordinator, John Wopereis is proud that YECSI has achieved this major milestone in 2019.
“This is Solomon Islands’ first mentoring program developed purely for young entrepreneurs.
“Mentoring plays a vital role in achieving our vision of fostering a conducive environment for young entrepreneurs in order to contribute to the socio-economic development of our nation,” he said.
Mr Wopereis said the positive impact this programme will have on both mentors and mentees will be fascinating.
SICCI Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Ms Atenasi Ata stressed that empowering young people venturing into business with such initiative is critical to addressing the alarming rates of youth unemployment in the country.
“Young people are critical to future economic development of our country. Their ideas and innovation have the potential to help local communities, and beyond, grow and thrive. But with the high rate of youth unemployment in the Solomon Islands, it seems much of this potential is being lost.
“SICCI through YECSI believes empowering young people to succeed in running their own business is part of the solution and by providing a holistic support package, including mentoring, YECSI and its members are working to do just that,” SICCI CEO, Ms. Ata, said.
YECSI Chairlady, Ms. Millicent Barty also shared similar sentiments.
“For YECSI, in our hopes to tackle high unemployment and achieve our vision to foster a more conducive entrepreneurial environment and a vibrant community of young entrepreneurs, connecting and cultivating SICCI’s senior experience with YECSI’s junior dreamers through mentorship, was identified as a core priority to achieve,” she said.
She added: “In acknowledgement of various mentorship programs out there, ‘Teachim Me’ sits itself in a unique opportunity to strengthen partnerships and build capacity effectively. In the development of Teachim Me, it was crucial for YECSI in our enabling role, to go through process authorship in contextualizing an effective program for our members.”
Mentoring is been identified as a key ingredient to the success of any entrepreneur as mentors provide feedback, expertise and most importantly experience which entrepreneurs can learn and grow from.
Having a mentor can make a huge difference in the journey of an entrepreneur, however to date there has been limited mentoring opportunities for young entrepreneurs.
YECSI believes that its ‘Teachim Me’ programme will bridge that gap.
Speaking on behalf of the mentees, Mr Limahl Totongi, Owner of Reveal Pasifik, thanked YECSI and supporting stakeholders for seeing the need young entrepreneurs have in their struggle to be successful.
“We are fortunate to be part of this first ever mentoring programme and I am sure we will learn a lot from this programme and we are looking forward to working with our mentors.
“We look forward to putting to practise what we will learn so that we can sustain our business and create employment for the young people of our nation. We must be agents of change,” he said.
For this mentoring programme, YECSI is in partnership with Breadfruit Consulting, a Vanuatu base firm, that will take the lead in the implementation of Teachim Me including the creation of material, facilitating of trainings and general oversight throughout the program term.