Unemployment disproportionately affects youth and that is why we rely on youth entrepreneurship to provide young people with a sustainable livelihood to build valuable life-long skills and contribute to the wider socio-economic growth of their communities and the nation.

The Young Entrepreneurs Council of Solomon Islands (YECSI) is committed in its efforts to encourage entrepreneurship amongst young people in the country, pushing the need to create more opportunities for Solomon Islands’ growing youth population - currently sitting at 70% of the total population.

YECSI in partnership with the Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Education recently launched the ‘Home Blo Iumi’ program with the belief that Solomon Islands’ economic prosperity lies with our youth population.

Home Blo Iumi strives to build a culture of entrepreneurship within our youth and to change the mentality from being job seekers to job creators.

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

Home Blo Iumi is a pre-accelerator program designed to help young people be innovative, creative and pave their pathway towards entrepreneurship.

Over the past week, the YECSI Secretariat has been introducing the program to schools in and around Honiara targeting senior secondary school students.

So far, the program has been introduced to students at Betikama Adventist College, King George Sixth (KGVI) and Woodford International School with more schools to be visited in the coming weeks.

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.

“Innovative approaches to encouraging entrepreneurship and its opportunities are vital in shifting the paradigm from relying on the education system to make a person employable to now being more conscious of the problems around us and how these can be entrepreneurship opportunities,” the YECSI Coordinator added.

Addressing youth unemployment is a priority for the Solomon Islands Government (SIG) and innovative entrepreneurship programs like Home Blo Iumi can offer a significant step forward in finding a solution.

How can you be a part of the Home Blo Iumi program?

According to YECSI’s Membership and Communications Officer, Ms Irish Melaume, there are only fifty (50) spaces available and to be selected, interested participants are required to enter a business challenge and win a place on Home Blo Iumi.

“All you need to do is tell us in 500 words a social, health, or an environmental problem you are passionate about solving and why, this can be a problem within your own community,” she said.

“With your complete submission you can drop them off at our office and drop boxes have also been provided at every school we visit, feel free to contact our team if you have any further questions.”

The Home Blo Iumi Program is purposely for aspiring entrepreneurs ranging from ages 16-24 and is open to students currently enrolled in forms 5, 6, and 7 and those that have left school in the last years.

The Date to apply for submissions through the business challenge closes on Saturday 31 August 2019.

From all submissions 50 will be chosen to progress onto the final Home Blo Iumi program.

The Home Blo Iumi Program itself will be held September 30th – October 4th in the term 3 school holidays.

YECSI is established under the auspices of the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) in partnership with the Solomon Islands Government as a body that will assist in the promotion, development and provision of dedicated support services to young entrepreneurs in the country.