PADF Youth-Focused Entrepreneurship Program Launches First Group of Micro-Businesses in Belize City

Belize City, Belize (November 6, 2014)The Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) announces the official launch of two micro-businesses under the second phase of the Youth Engagement Services Project (YES!), a program that targets youth who have limited opportunities in order to support youth-initiated micro and small businesses that increase access to jobs and encourage entrepreneurship in Belize City.

The program, funded by the U.S. Embassy in Belize, is building on other services to complement ongoing activities by providing youth from marginal areas the essential elements of technical training and business advisory services so they can succeed in the labor market.

During Phase I, participants completed a 12-week tailored training program in entrepreneurship through SBDCBelize, under the Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE). Youth participants received training on start-up and improved business tactics and business plan development in order to be prepared to start their own business or improve an existing one. Under Phase II participants submitted business plans for review by a Business
Launch Group comprised of private sector panelists. Following this process, four of the 10 business plans submitted received seed funding.

On November 6, 2014 two of the businesses were officially launched during an event attended by the Representative of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Belize, Mr. Starret Greene; Sr. Business Advisor at SBDCBelize, Mr. Omar Castillo; Business Advisor at SBDCBelize, Ms. Gabriela Del Angel; Sr. Programs Director at PADF, Ms. Caterina Valero; and Project Director in Belize, Ms. Minerva Pinelo. The grantees are Ms. Reyna Ramos and Mr. Channing Garoy from Mayflower Street and North-Creek Road, respectively.

Ms. Ramos’ business goal is to expand her home food vending micro business with support from the YES! Program through Elt’s Grocery Store, an establishment located in her neighborhood. She plans to offer local snacks, beverages, stationeries and toiletries. Her greatest motivation is to ensure a stable future for her 6-year old son. She also plans to begin saving money to continue her education as she has completed only the first two years of undergraduate studies at a local community college.

With support from YES! the second grantee, Mr. Garoy, plans to expand his existing frozen drink micro business by marketing a local sweet frozen drink known as “ideals” and selling it under the brand name “Milky Squeez Ideals”. Mr. Garoy, who created the business in partnership with his mother, expects to start meeting growing demand by investing in cold storage equipment, transportation (bicycle and eventually a cart), and sealer materials for optimum packaging. The product, which is a result of experimenting with local flavors such as bananas, peanuts, and papaya, is currently being sold at a local hardware business where Mr.Garoy’s mother works.

About PADF

PADF is the non-profit foundation of the Organization of American States, established in 1962 to implement integral socio-economic development programs for disadvantaged people, to strengthen civil society and community groups in support of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, and to aid victims of natural disasters and humanitarian crises. In 2013, it helped more than 10.2 million people in 22 countries. Headquartered in Washington DC, PADF has field offices in Haiti, Colombia, Suriname, Honduras, and Belize, and projects throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. www.padf.org

For more information on program details, and other issues, please contact:

Minerva Pinelo
Project Director
mpinelo@padf.org
610-3922