Public Private Partnership supporting Youth Entrepreneurship in Solomon Islands

The Solomon Islands Young Entrepreneurs Council (YEC) is a critical link between government, national employer organisation and young entrepreneurs.

News | 01 April 2018
From left to right – SICCI CEO Mr Dennis Meone, SICCI Chair Mr Jay Bartlett, MYWCA Permanent Secretary Mr Justus Denni & Director Youth Mr Andre Tipoki [Photo supplied by Today Solomons Magazine]
The Government of Solomon Islands has funded the position of Coordinator for the Solomon Islands Young Entrepreneurs Council (YEC). The YEC coordinator, Mr John Wopereis is based with the national employer organisation, Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SICCI) and is a critical link between government, national employer organisation and young entrepreneurs.

The Ministry of Women, Youth & Children & Family Affairs (MWYCFA) provided a SBD$200,000 grant to support the salary of the YEC coordinator and initial activities to establish and operationalise the YEC. As part of phase two (2), the ILO also provided U$2,500 to support the launch of YEC and membership drive.

YEC Coordinator Mr Wopereis (front left) and SICCI CEO Mr Meone (front right) provide an update to government officials on the progress of the Grant
An initiative that started in 2015 by CO-Suva and ACTEMP (ROAP), has resulted in the establishment of YEC’s in Fiji, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Samoa and recently in Kiribati. The YEC model has three (3) phases that provides a national platform for young entrepreneurs to effect policy change that will improve the entrepreneurial eco-system and resulting in incentivising and promoting youth start-up and expansion. It was during phase one (1) that ILO consultant and young entrepreneur, Mr Avinit Narayan brokered negotiations between the government and SCCI to enter into a PPP arrangement. “The government was developing a youth employment and entrepreneurship policy and it made perfect sense to establish the collaboration that could foster better coordination and maximise results,” said Mr Narayan.

YEC initiative supports Objective 5 of the Solomon Islands National Development Strategy which prioritises private sector development and entrepreneurship. This single initiative also allows for ILO Programme & Budget (P&B) reporting under outcomes 1 (Youth Employment), 4 (Enterprise Development) and 10 (Employer Capacity Building). Mr John Wopereis, the YEC coordinator said that things were progressing well with the partnership and a meeting between SICCI, YEC and government was held in July to provide an update of the Grant. He further mentioned that YEC was excited to work with UNDP and ILO in the submission of a concept not on youth entrepreneurship and peacebuilding to the UN Secretary General’s Peace Building Fund.

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