Barclays ‘unlocks’ youth’s potential


 The opening session of the workshop yesterday

The aim was to empower the youth with the skills to develop their ideas, grow their business and help them to achieve economic independence.

Ashvin Pravinsingh, head of compliance at Barclays, discussed the success stories of well-known entrepreneurs such as Sunil Mittal of the Bharti Group in India, Bill Gates of Microsoft Corporation and Sam Walton of the American mass retailer group Walmart, and said that these examples clearly show that to be a successful entrepreneur means you have to be innovative and fearless.

“Entrepreneurs shouldn’t have fear. The sky is the limit if you have faith in yourself,” he said. “Some people think that in order to succeed in business you need support from A, B and C, but in reality you can go out there and do it for yourself.”
Mr Pravinsigh warned against relying too much on government for support. He explained that while government is there to create a platform and an environment where entrepreneurs can do business, it is the business owners who need to put in hard work and determination to succeed.

The workshop was attended by students from various post-secondary institutions, young entrepreneurs as well as representatives from the Seychelles National Youth Council (SNYC), the Small Enterprise Promotion Agency (Senpa) and Women in Action Solidarity Organisation (Waso).

Barclays Seychelles’ acting managing director, Gift Moonga, said that Barclays has a clear business purpose to help people achieve their ambitions in the right way.

“Barclays Seychelles is joining a number of our colleagues across Barclays Africa in volunteering and launching this very important initiative, which we are calling ‘Unlocking Youth Potential’. We recognise as a bank that the future of any society lies in entrepreneurship and of course our youth, who are the future of the economy, are a very integral part of this agenda,” said Mr Moonga.

“This initiative is the first of its kind in supporting ideas of entrepreneurship in the country, and not only in Seychelles, but also across Barclays Africa. We are a responsible corporate citizen, and we always look at what contribution we can make within our communities where we do business.”

“We have a set of values at Barclays and one of the values that we have is called stewardship, and this value challenges us, as Barclays employees, to leave things better than we found them,” he said. “We hope that through this initiative, we are making a difference to the communities and the society we live in and that we are leaving them better than we found them.”

Barclays Seychelles’ head of citizenship, Colleen Morel, added that the ‘Unlocking Youth Potential’ campaign focuses on the entrepreneurial education of the youth, and said the higher than expected turnout of participants was rewarding in itself.

Included in the workshop were sessions aimed at helping participants analyse the market and plan for the growth of their businesses.

Egbert Laurence, the manager of Barclays Corporate, said that while money was certainly the main motivation behind entrepreneurship, it should not be the only reason people go into business.

“You also need to demonstrate other attributes and a positive attitude if you want to be a successful entrepreneur,” he said. “A keen sense of leadership is also needed for the management of your business, and you need to put in a lot of hard work and effort. This is your business, so you need to be passionate about what you do.”

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