Area Youth Foundation Trains Youth on Starting Their Own Businesses

Sheila Graham, Executive Director of AYF and AYF members at Tapioca Village, St. Mary

The Area Youth Foundation (AYF) recently took thirty young men and women from the inner city to Tapioca Village in St. Mary for a three day workshop on how to start their own businesses and write a business plans.

AYF members working on their business plans

The workshop was conducted by AYF Executive Director Sheila Graham with James Bell, Karin Wilson Edmonds and Matthew McLarty, who taught the young people the basics of starting their own businesses. The workshop included sessions on market research, marketing strategy, operations, and basic accounting.

The participants were from various inner city communities around Kingston including August Town, Denham Town, Hannah Town, Waterhouse, and Tivoli Gardens. Some of the persons who attended the workshop have already started their own businesses in ornamental fish farming but most of the participants are in the planning stages of their ventures.

According to Sheila Graham, the weekend workshop was to “provide participants with an immersion experience in business planning under the guidance of experienced business coaches”. Graham explains, “The participants thoroughly enjoyed the experience and gained valuable knowledge on how to go about starting and marketing their businesses.”

AYF is a charitable, non-governmental organization which, since 1997, has been working with young people in the inner cities to assist them in developing additional life skills and business training. AYF often uses an arts based approach and focuses on building bridges of friendship between the divided, marginalized communities of Kingston.

This project is being implemented with funding support from the European Union and the Jamaica Social Investment Fund.

AYF members doing their SWOT analysis on their business
AYF members presenting their business plans to the group
AYF members presenting their business plans to the group
AYF members working on their business plans
AYF members working on their business plans
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  1. June 9, 2014 at 2:30 am — Reply

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  2. […] area-youth-foundation-trains-youth-on-starting-their-own-businesses […]

  3. June 3, 2011 at 3:32 pm — Reply

    This is such a wonderful accomplishment. Jamaica needs more of these initiatives for the young. When we reach out to them, we help them to raise the bar. We let them know that not only can they reach for but also attain excellence!!!!

    Well done AYF

  4. June 3, 2011 at 1:26 pm — Reply

    Congrats to you miss Sheila and your team, it was a wonderful and inspiring experience for me and the rest of the member,And i would recommend it to every youth.So keep up the good work that you are doing!.

  5. Duke
    June 2, 2011 at 5:24 pm — Reply

    Sounds like a great program, I think this kind of training would be useful to pretty much any group but especially teenagers who are starting to think about how they want to fill their time after high school. Great work Sheila and team!

  6. Horace
    June 1, 2011 at 5:00 pm — Reply

    Sheila, James, Karin, Matthew – how many are the “some who attended the workshop [and] have already started their own businesses”? Can we track how many others go on to do the same? Can we track how many businesses last? And the reasons for successes and for failures? So that we can be convinced that these trainings are worth it and learn from what is achieved and what is not.

  7. Michele Samantha Williams
    June 1, 2011 at 9:46 am — Reply

    This is a remarkable start for our youth, keeps hope alive and encourages them to make the first step in realizing their dreams. Congrats Mrs G. Keep up the good work anything I can do to help let me know. Cheers!

  8. Lisa LeFeuvre
    May 31, 2011 at 6:21 am — Reply

    This is another example of the amazing work that the Area Youth Foundation does for the people. This will hopefully help more and more people realize their dreams and there is always hope..

  9. Hope Brooks
    May 30, 2011 at 10:02 am — Reply

    When will the governments of Jamaica take the business of culture seriously. Culture has made Jamaica a household name all over the world but all we do here is give it lip support. Congrats on the work you are doing to Shiela and company. Hope.

  10. Rawle
    May 29, 2011 at 8:58 am — Reply

    Penetrating work,aimed at the core of the issue. Instruction in there for us all. Congrats, AreaYouth, and continued success.

  11. Elsa
    May 27, 2011 at 4:47 pm — Reply


    Wonderful initiative – continue inspiring the youth with your creative energy and passion Sheila.


  12. dani
    May 26, 2011 at 10:46 am — Reply

    Wonderful!!! CONGRATULATIONS!!!!
    Keep up the good vibes, strength, enthusiasm, creativity and joy!!!
    Love and hugz from Trinidad and Tobago

  13. May 26, 2011 at 9:17 am — Reply

    This is great. Whether or not these children actually decide to own their own bisunesses, this type of training will, or at least should be an active participant in their subconscious, which will allow them to make correct, executive decisions.

  14. DiMario McDowell
    May 25, 2011 at 11:43 am — Reply

    AYF has been a long journey of youth succeeding through difficult times. Lady Sheila and TEAM…CONGRATULATIONS on another positive milestone. Their three day visit to Tapioca Village in St. Mary for a business focussed workshop must have been life changing.

  15. Ms.Music
    May 21, 2011 at 6:52 pm — Reply

    Thx Colette, it was a very inspiring and enlightening experience for me too…

  16. Colette Garrick
    May 20, 2011 at 2:36 pm — Reply

    Good show guys, not only teaching them he joys of creativity and self-expression but survival skills in the business world. i love it! Kudos Sheila and team.

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