$20 challenge hoping to double numbers

Organizers of a $20 challenge for students say they are hoping to double the number of participants this year in the programme which attracted nearly 500 students last year.

The competition, which is now in its fourth year, officially begins in mid-November. It is sponsored by the Barbados Entrepreneurship Foundation (BEF) and telecommunications company Flow. It is a competition where forth and fifth form students are provided with a loan of $20 and are given about four weeks to use the money to create a profitable and innovative business, while being socially responsible.

Project leader Keith Miller acknowledged that last year there was “a challenge” with the distribution of the $20 to students. However, he said organisers are anticipating that the process will run much smoother this year with two new sponsors – Scotiabank and the Barbados Workers Union Co-operative Credit Union Ltd (BWUCCU) – on board.

From left, project leader of the $20 challenge Keith Miller; senior manager at Scotiabank Lisa Cole; managing director at Columbus, Barbados Niall Sheehy; chief executive officer of the Barbados Entrepreneurship Foundation Celeste Foster; and general manager of the BWUCCU Corinne Clarke. 
From left, project leader of the $20 challenge Keith Miller; senior manager at Scotiabank Lisa Cole; managing director at Columbus, Barbados Niall Sheehy; chief executive officer of the Barbados Entrepreneurship Foundation Celeste Foster; and general manager of the BWUCCU Corinne Clarke.

“Every year one of the major challenges we’ve faced is the distribution of the $20 to each student. You can imagine with in excess of 500 students, $20 times 500 is a lot of cash. So it was a problem for people to be carrying cash around and to be delivering to people. So in an attempt to find a better, safer system to help our volunteers we approach the Barbados Workers’ Union Co-operative Credit Union,” said Miller.

This year, the credit union will provide students with “a smart card” to access the funds for start-up of their businesses. They will also be able to use the account to lodge their earnings and profits and to view account information online.

During the official launch of the competition at Flow’s CGI Tower, Warrens location this morning,  Miller said one of the challenges for the organizers was trying to get the programme accepted by some schools.

“Each year we try to double, so if we can get a thousand students in total that is what we will aim for . . . one of our challenges is getting into the schools. My aim is that we will be into every [secondary] school in Barbados, if not this year then next year or the year after.

“We want to be in every single [secondary] school,” said Miller, noting that some schools only wanted to offer the challenge to a particular class.

Winners will be selected from a shortlist of entries. The award ceremony will be held in February 2015.

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