Although the criteria has not yet been finalised, Finance Minister Winston Jordan announced during his 2017 budget speech that $50M will be placed into a Youth Innovation fund (YIF).
“This fund will provide a financing platform to launch exceptionally innovative ideas,” Jordan said in the House, “harnessing the energetic and creative minds of our young people.”
Jordan hopes the criteria for accessing the fund will include ideas that are original, viable, applicable beyond demonstration, and with zero net impact on the environment. The fund, according to the Finance Minister, will be managed by a multi-stakeholder steering committee.
The Minister did not indicate which agencies, groups or individuals will make up that committee. The establishment of the fund comes just as the National Assembly recently passed the National Youth Policy which sets up a framework for relations between government policy and Guyana’s youth.
“Youth represent approximately 60 percent of our population,” Minister Jordan said, “If we are to ensure that they are well equipped to be independent, viable, and productive members of society, then we have to ensure that we are strategic in our interventions to support this vital demographic group.”
The Finance Minister expressed concern at what he called the “hundreds of out-of-school youth, who, in their thirst for knowledge and certification, get trained in non-certified programmes.”
The administration, according to Jordan, will be pursuing Caribbean Vocational Qualification certification for the country’s youth in hopes that it “will make our young people more employable in the job market both within Guyana and across the region, and encourage continuous professional development.”