Young Entrepreneurs Council in Solomon Islands
Author: Sabrina Habu
Introduction: Sabrina Habu is an Australia Awards scholarship recipient and also happens to be the latest addition to the Pacific Legal Network (PLN) team in Sydney. This week, Sabrina talks about a program back in her home Solomon Islands, which is giving local youths the opportunity to spread their entrepreneurial wings.
One of the key focuses of PLN is supporting some of the more underrepresented groups across the Pacific, with a particular focus on Pacific women and Pacific youth. I am a young Solomon Islander woman studying a Bachelor of Laws majoring in Environmental law and Management at Macquarie University, as part of the Australia Awards scholarship program run by the Australian Government, so I guess I fit the bill for both! PLN have taken me on as a paralegal where I get to complement my studies by working on a range of real-world business and social initiatives across a region that is very close to my heart, the Pacific. So, when PLN asked me to write about a program doing good things back in my home, I knew I wanted to write about things being done to help young people like me.
Demographically, Solomon Islands is a relatively young nation with 70 per cent of its total population being between the years of 3 and 34 years old. This means that majority of our population are still in high school. With a relatively small economy (on a global scale) which has been further diminished by the effects of the current pandemic, competition for jobs in the private and public sector is intense and many of our youths often struggle to find employment after graduating from high school. As a result, youth unemployment is very high.
For a while now, I’ve been keeping a close eye on YECSI, more formally known as the Young Entrepreneurs Council Solomon Islands and I’d love to use this platform to give YECSI the spotlight it deserves. YECSI's main aim is to represent the Solomon Islands' young entrepreneurs and advocate for an enhanced business climate that will enable young entrepreneurs to thrive in creating jobs and investing in the country.
YECSI is an organisation established under a public-private partnership between the Government of the Solomon Islands (SIG) and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Solomon Islands (SICCI). YECSI currently has 54 members and offers an array of programs from networking skills to sit in information sessions, mentoring programmes and other various trainings. An example of YECSI’s mentoring programme is Teachim Me. Teachim Me is a mentoring programme that aims to provide the ability for young entrepreneurs to have mentors pointing them in the right direction. Teachim Me is about connecting current business leaders with YECSI members, who are business leaders of the future, to learn from the experience of those who have built and are leading successful businesses in Solomon Islands. Moreover, the mentoring programme does not always have to be just business-oriented, but it can also be life-oriented which helps young people take a step into a business owner's world and see how they balance running a company with taking care of their personal lives.
Testimonies to YECSI’s success are Brown Thompson Eroi, the owner of Oceania Cleaning Company, Betty Akao owner of Betzla Art & Design and Limahl Totogi, the owner of Edutainment Media Company. By taking part in the programmes offered by YECSI, these three individuals have been provided with the exposure, platform, knowledge and skillset ready to venture into the real world and have opened-up shop and are thriving. These three individuals also participated at the 11th Australia Solomon Islands Business Forum held in Honiara 2019.
YECSI is such a great organisation to be part of and I am glad to be able to shine a light on them. YECSI is currently funded however, additional financial support is still welcomed as YECSI hopes to expand to the provincial level.
If you have any questions or would like to support YECSI, please contact the YECSI Coordinator on firstname.lastname@example.org. To keep up to date with YECSI, visit their Facebook page https://m.facebook.com/YECSolomonIslands/