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Youth Economy Agency Gets Visit From Taiwan ICDF

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The offices of the Youth Economy Agency received a visit on Thursday, May 4th, 2023, from a contingent representing the International Cooperation and Development Fund (Taiwan ICDF).

Led by H.E. Timothy T. Y. Hsiang, Secretary General of Taiwan ICDF, and accompanied by H.E. Peter C.Y. Chen, Ambassador of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to Saint Lucia, the 16-member team paid an official call to the YEA offices to assess the work being done by the recently launched organisation.

The Republic of China (Taiwan) has been one of the principal partners of the Government of Saint Lucia in establishing the agency, which seeks to provide training and financial support for Saint Lucian entrepreneurs between the ages of 15 and 35.

Mrs. Ginel Mondesir, the Business Development Officer at YEA, gave an overview of some of the work that has been achieved by the agency to date. She said:

“We have received over 357 grant applicants, and 109 loan applicants, and counting. We have assisted 22 young entrepreneurs with grant funding to help in the growth and development of their small businesses. We have provided funding to businesses in various sectors including Agriculture, Food and Beverage, Fashion, Health & Wellness, and Manufacturing. The list of applicants grows daily, as our young people are hearing that an organization is here that is tailored just for them.”

YEA has had over 500 walk-ins at its offices in the space of less than four weeks. The agency’s website has had over 13,000 hits since being launched in early March.

And more than 400 applications were fielded for the organisation’s first training exercise, which is currently underway. 100 budding entrepreneurs are undertaking a four-week business planning course, resulting from a Memorandum Of Understanding between YEA and the Taiwan Technical Mission.

Ambassador Hsiang expressed his confidence that YEA would reap benefits for the nation’s youth, and for the economy as a whole. He said:

“Our foreign aid, mainly, is capacity building. This agency [YEA] exists for capacity building for the youth. So today I am happy to have taken this opportunity to come here to witness the establishment of this agency, and to follow your Government’s policy to nurturing youth for their development. What I heard earlier today, the numbers, and the interest of the youth, certainly I believe this is going to be a very successful project. And I also believe it is going to support the development of Saint Lucia. I am also happy because ICDF is the implementer of these projects. And of course we have done part of it under the guidance of our embassy.”

Members of the visiting delegation were presented with gift bags, including items produced by YEA grant recipients.

Mr. Riad James is the owner of D’Lokal Bites, and his chips and salsa are made with local produce.

Grant funding from YEA assisted him in the purchase of two storage freezers. Mrs. Vana Sonson produced customized dominoes for the visit of the Taiwanese team, with grant funding from YEA helping her acquire raw materials.

Mr. Kayode James operates a local manufacturing business, Real 3D Printing, which produces a wide range of products such as merchandise, custom parts, replacement parts, prototypes, and key chains, which were presented to the visitors.

SOURCE: Youth Economy Agency

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