Youth Entrepreneurship – Challenges and Prospects for Sourcing Micro-Finance in the Caribbean Economy

The unavailability of accessible micro-finance for new venture creation has been a challenge in many potential entrepreneurs’ lives. Potential youth entrepreneurs have been given nothing more than a promise of microcredit as they continue to struggle to acquire small loans to invest in their business ideas and/or grow their entrepreneurial ventures

In the Caribbean, there are very few micro-finance institutions (MFIs) whose sole mandate is to address the distinct needs and challenges youth face in engaging in entrepreneurial activities. From the entrepreneurs’ perspective, these challenges include: accessibility and cost of finance, lack of credit history, and perceived higher risk. These challenges are further compounded in the Caribbean when youth are found wanting as they tend to possess fewer years of schooling and work experience, and their businesses are usually undercapitalized.

Evans and Jovanovic in a 1989 study, using data from a National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, contended that talented youth without financial backing are excluded from entrepreneurship because of insufficient funds to finance their new ventures. This raises the question, why do existing micro-financing approaches in the Caribbean allow potential youth start-ups to slip through the cracks?

Click here for full text