…youth business summit to assist young entrepreneursAs Guyana continues to celebrate Youth Week, Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo has called for youths who are associated with petty felonies to be reformed and not placed in the lockups.Prime Minister Moses NagamootooSpeaking at the inaugural Guyana Youth Business Summit on Wednesday, which was held under the theme “Empowering Guyana’s Youth Through Training, Mentorship and Leadership Development”, Nagamootoo stated that for Guyana to develop and improve the lives of its younger generations, mechanisms must be set aside for individuals to benefit from, after they would have committed “non-violent” offences.“We have to not condone the use of illicit drugs, but we have to make sure that we deal with it in a compassionate and a realistic way so that we do not send our young people to jail, but help to rehabilitate and reform them. Those that are before court for nonviolent offences should be allowed an opportunity to make life better rather than them to be spending the rest of their lives behind bars.”He also noted that several reports in the past have indicated that the rate of unemployed youths, youth crimes and drug use are on the increase. As such, he said, the Youth Policy has been introduced, but the final document has not been debated in the National Assembly.Recently, it was revealed by the Director of Youth, Melissa Carmichael, that the policy, which is still in its gestational stage, caters for the development of a National Youth Empowerment Action Plan, which will include comprehensive and strategic programmes and projects being implemented.“The policy defines youth as persons between the ages of 14 and 35, who make up some 68 per cent of our population. When taken office, there were no statistics. Many of our young people had no jobs or couldn’t get support to start their own businesses,” she added.The first session of the two-day summit saw dozens of young entrepreneurs who were presented with hands-on knowledge from experienced individuals about the different aspects of venturing into a new business. Throughout that day’s proceedings, presentations were made by entities such as the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA); Commercial Registry; Guyana National Bureau of Standards (GNBS); National Insurance Scheme (NIS); Guyana Energy Agency (GEA); GO-Invest and Dr Rosh Khan.The participants were urged by the acting President to be among the policymakers and were briefed on the need for youths to be brought out into the political aspects of society.In many cases, young entrepreneurs are unaware of the procedures and support systems which can assist in the establishment of a business enterprise. According to the coordinators and members of the various ministries, these will help to assist them in critical areas which include the lack of capital and increased knowledge on the ways to access capital, which can be one of the key limiting factors. It was revealed that Guyana had begun to engage in discussions to promote more youth businesses and work of equal value among aspiring entrepreneurs.