WESTERN VISAYAS – In a stride towards unlocking the latent capacities of the youth in Region 6, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Region 6 has taken the lead in implementing the newly enhanced Youth Entrepreneurship Program (YEP). This initiative aims to engage young minds in the world of business through a comprehensive 4-day training program titled ‘YEP! You Can Be Your Own Boss.’

The YEP journey commenced with a Training of Trainers, held from August 1-4, which yielded 14 master trainers in Region 6. These trainers then took on the responsibility of imparting their knowledge to around 120 youth participants hailing from various provinces and one city – Aklan, Antique, Guimaras, Iloilo, Capiz, Negros Occidental and Iloilo City. The training sessions took place simultaneously from August 15-18, 2023 covering youth with disabilities, out-of-school youth and in-school youth. The training was observed by representatives from USAID Opportunity 2.0 Program and the Education Development Center.

The program does not merely focus on the technical aspects of business. Recognizing the significance of soft skills and entrepreneurial mindset, DTI Region 6 has collaborated with the USAID Opportunity 2.0 program to integrate these vital elements into the YEP framework. This move not only enhances the business readiness of the youth but also makes entrepreneurship more accessible to those facing diverse circumstances.

The YEP program marks a strategic response to the call for youth involvement in economic growth. By introducing four key modules – ‘My Business,’ ‘Business Operations,’ ‘My Resources and Finances,’ and ‘My Business Pitch’ – the program seeks to equip young individuals with the necessary skills to venture into entrepreneurship. The overarching goal is to nurture an entrepreneurial mindset that emphasizes customer-centric approaches and empowers youth with the tools to succeed in the competitive business landscape.

 “To provide continued support to existing businesses, we plan to include youth with established businesses in the list of youth mentees to be included in this year’s Panublion Heritage Trade Fair.”, said DTI Region 6 OIC-RD Ermelinda Pollentes.

The selected mentees will have the opportunity to showcase their ventures at the said trade fair on November 2023, offering a platform for visibility and growth.

The remarkable aspect of this program lies in its comprehensive coverage. DTI Region 6 stands out as the only region to achieve simultaneous implementation across all its provinces, encompassing Aklan, Antique, Guimaras, Iloilo, Capiz, Negros Occidental, and the Regional Office.

The collaboration between DTI and USAID dates back to May 2021, with an aim to enhance entrepreneurial readiness among the youth.

DTI Region 6 has extended the program’s reach to communities beyond the originally anticipated coverage within the confines of the USAID program, which was initially centered in Iloilo City.

As the momentum of this initiative surges forward, August 30 promises another milestone for DTI Region 6. A regionwide pitching event, exclusive to Region 6, is set to take place, showcasing the innovative and bold ideas sprouting from the program’s mentees.

The United Nations recognizes the pivotal role of youth entrepreneurship in the pursuit of sustainable development. With SDG 8, focusing on promoting sustained economic growth, productive employment, and decent work for all, initiatives like YEP are instrumental in advancing these global goals.

Aside from the capability-building programs under YEP, DTI is also conducting one-on-one entrepreneurship seminars and coaching sessions for aspiring youth entrepreneurs. Those who are interested can avail of these opportunities by visiting the Negosyo Centers located in every municipality or the nearest DTI provincial office.

Date of Release: 22 August 2023