Corporate Barbados’ support of the BEF Columbus $20 Challenge, a local youth entrepreneurship competition, is proving that companies can give back to their communities even during challenging economic times.

In-kind donations, volunteering and corporate sponsorships have been essential to the sustained development of the $20 Challenge’s programming. This year, the competition’s support network included corporate sponsorship from well-known businesses, such as title sponsor Columbus Telecommunications (Barbados) Limited.

Referencing his company’s $20,000 donation to the Challenge, Mr. Niall Sheehy, Managing Director of Columbus Telecommunications (Barbados) Limited, emphasized the importance of supporting initiatives that can lead to long-term socio-economic development.

“The Challenge’s focus on entrepreneurship,” said Sheehy, “is very important to Columbus, especially given the power of entrepreneurship to boost our developing economy. We believe that these enterprising young people will one day be the next generation business leaders for this country—it is important that we encourage them on this journey.”

“Sponsoring the BEF/Columbus $20 Challenge is our way to live up to our mission statement, which is not to predict the future but to enable it,” Sheehy continued. “We believe in investing in our youth and partnering with others to create avenues for them to have access to skills and resources that can foster prosperous communities.”

Columbus Communications (Barbados) Limited has been title sponsor of the BEF Columbus $20 Challenge since 2013. The sponsorship has allowed the initiative to improve its capacity to engage young entrepreneurs through: the production of a training manual for the students, video diaries of students during the Challenge, more substantial prizes for competition winners, and the introduction of the BEF $20 Challenge Student Market Place in January 2015.

In 2014, the Barbados Workers’ Union Co-Operative Credit Union and Scotiabank also came on board to support the youth entrepreneurship competition. Ms. Lisa Cole, Senior Marketing Manager at Scotiabank highlighted that the Bank’s willingness to support the challenge is linked to the competition’s potential to have a wide-scale social impact.

“Our mandate is to support the development of children through sport, culture and education,” states the Senior Manager. “We already invest heavily in sport and culture, so the $20 Challenge sponsorship complements our philanthropic efforts by developing the entrepreneurial spirit and can-do attitudes among our youth.”

From its inception, the BEF Columbus $20 Challenge competition was conceptualized as a project that would connect the wealth of resources, talent and skills in the local business sector with youth development. The Challenge will be announcing the winners of the 2014 BEF Columbus $20 Challenge at the Awards Ceremony in February.

To find out more about the BEF Columbus $20 Challenge, visit www.facebook.com/BEF20DollarChallenge.

About the Author

Barbados Entrepreneurship Foundation
Barbados Entrepreneurship Foundation -

The Barbados Entrepreneurship Foundation, formed in 2010, was born from a vision to make Barbados “The #1 Entrepreneurial Hub In The World.” Led by Peter Boos, Chairman Emeritus of Ernst & Young Caribbean, and a group of local and international entrepreneurs called the "E-Team," the goal of the Foundation is to support the critical foundations of developing businesses. The focus of the Foundation is Growing Sustainable Entrepreneurship through advancing the key Foundation Pillars of: Finance, Government Policy, Education and Skills, Mentorship and Business Facilitation.