Participants of the first ever Home Blo Iumi programme with YECSI Chair, Millicent Barty and YECSI Secretariat staff.

The Young Entrepreneurs Council of Solomon Islands (YECSI) hosted its inaugural Home Blo Iumi programme from 30 September to 3 October 2019.

The four-day innovative programme, which targets senior high school students as aspiring entrepreneurs and young leaders, was made possible through YECSI’s partnership with the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, Labour and Immigration (MCILI) and the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development (MEHRD).

Home Blo Iumi is an introductory programme that promotes entrepreneurship as a viable career path with key business, leadership and team values incorporated into the sessions which participants took part in throughout the four days.

It is aimed at 16 – 24-year old’s and is heavily team focused with teams being tasked to develop business ideas to tackle some of the biggest problems faced in the country.

With the business ideas the purpose of the Home Blo Iumi programme is not to provide capital to build these ideas, but acts as a platform that will provide participants an opportunity to think of creative solutions to our nation’s problems in an engaging and informative way.

The programme provides participants an experience that will promote entrepreneurship as a career path, build the culture of entrepreneurship and allow aspiring entrepreneurs to understand that opportunities lay even in the biggest of problems.

“Home Blo Iumi is a program set out to nurture and introduce the entrepreneurial mindset. Allowing our young people, a space to think critically about social issues we are faced with in our communities every day and not being bogged down by it, but rather, possess the mindset to see problems as opportunities for innovation and business,” YECSI Chair, Ms Millicent Barty, said.

With an estimated 4,000 jobs available for 16,000 – 18,000 job seekers annually it’s vital that those yet to enter the job market have opportunities to challenge themselves and see entrepreneurship as a viable career path.

YECSI Coordinator, Mr John Wopereis says creating a conducive entrepreneurship environment for young people to enter into business and have a high chance of success is vital to the long-term economic growth of the nation, working with students is part of achieving this vision.

“We cannot ignore the harsh reality our youth face once they complete their education and enter the job market with the idea that there is work out there, the reality is there isn’t. Building a culture of entrepreneurship amongst the nation’s youth is vital in changing the mindset from being job seekers to job creators,” he said.

Forty-four (44) participants were selected after applying through a challenge which required them to submit in 500 words a problem Solomon Islands as a country is facing and that they are passionate about solving.

From all submissions five (5) of the most frequent problems were interweaved within the programme to which teams were tasked to creating business ideas that targeted one of the five problems.

These were crime, drugs and safer communities, pollution and waste management, health and sanitation, domestic and family violence and unemployment.

At the end of the four-day programme teams assembled at the Dreamcast Theatre to participate in the YECSI Shark Tank where they pitched in three (3) minutes their business ideas to a panel of judges in order to win prizes.

It was a night filled with excitement as participants were joined by their parents, YECSI supporters and friends.

First Place: Team Kurukuru with their idea of recycling waste into souvenirs and furniture

Second Place: Team Island Pirates with their idea of violence victims manufacturing school bags with feel good messages alongside a puppet show to educate children on domestic violence.

Third Place: Team Avengers with their idea of using drones to supply sanitation kits to remote school, clinics and communities.

The top 3 prizes were supported by our Telekom and Solomon Power with all 45 participants receiving certificates to recognise their participation in the program.

There were also prizes for the amazing race component of the Home Blo Iumi programme which were awarded by Solomon Water.

YECSI would like to acknowledge the following organizations for without their help and support Home Blo Iumi would not have been possible: The Ministry of Education & Human Resource Development, Ministry of Commerce, Industry, Labour & Immigration. Our Telekom, Bulk shop, Officeworks, BSP, Solomon Water, Dream Cast Hub, RSIPF, Print Wise, Millicent Designs, Y@W, Solomon Power and Sky Eye Pacific.

About the author

Philip Lilomo is the Chamber's Media & Communications Officer. Philip writes most of the Chamber's media releases. He also manages the website contents, designs the Chamber's monthly newsletter, brochures and maintains the organisation's visual branding. 

Philip can be contacted on email: 

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