Junior Achievement (JA) students enjoyed brisk sales for a variety of products as the organisation held its 41st Annual Trade fair at Woodford Square, Port-of-Spain on April 27. The young entrepreneurs, representing secondary schools throughout Trinidad, offered for sale products such as handmade craft items, decorative stationery, household items, key chain, necklaces, hand bands, tie-dyed tee-shirts, cushions and pillows. JA Executive President, J Errol Lewis, commended the various corporate companies which have supported the JA movement in T&T over the years. He singled out platinum sponsor, energy company bpTT, for its long and fruitful partnership with the organisation stretching back to the 70s. He said the students should be proud of their efforts, expressing the hope they would use the experience to enter the world of business in the future.
Ronda Francis, Corporate Responsibility Manager, bpTT, told the students that the company was proud to partner with the JA initiative since it centred on three of its main focus areas, education, youth development and entrepreneurship. "We are really pleased to see the significant number of students and companies which make up this year's trade fair. Through this project we are able to target a wide cross-section of young people throughout Trinidad," Francis said.Port-of-Spain City Corporation Alderman, Asha Permanand, who represented Mayor Louis Lee Sing, told the students that the project would help them to prepare for the real world when they leave school. More than 500 students were involved in the 2011 programme.
Eager to sell their products, the budding entrepreneurs displayed considerable "street smarts" as well as conventional sale techniques as they peddled their products. "Sales are going quite good. The whole project has been very exciting and we have learnt a lot about proper business practices. Maybe some of us will try our hand at business later in life," said Jeanine Pilgrim, President of Mayaro-based Young Developers, one of six companies counselled by bpTT. A student of Rio Claro West Secondary, Pilgrim was partnered in the company by students of Mayaro Secondary, Guayagyayare High, Rio Claro East, as well as her own schoolmates. Young Developers sold items such as cushions and key chains.