By Christal Clashing
Like many across the world, many Antiguans have lost jobs because of the pandemic. However, these young Antiguans have seen opportunity in the face of a loss of employment. In the face of a recession and new norms such as curfews and social distancing, they have done the unlikely: start businesses in the midst of a pandemic. Why? Because they need to support themselves and their families but also to follow deep-rooted passions and serve their core interests, all the while serving the local Antiguan market.
The 10 entrepreneurs featured in this article were all recognised by the Junior Chamber International (JCI) Antigua chapter on November 21st, 2020. They were awarded the first Youth Empowerment Program awards for “Entrepreneurship during the COVID-19 pandemic”.The JCI is an international service and capacity building non-profit non-governmental organisation for persons between the ages of 18 and 40. Each year, the YEP awards recognise persons between the ages of 18 and 40 for outstanding work across 10 categories.
However, this year was markedly different and so instead of their usual format, JCI Antigua decided to adapt with the times and honour entrepreneurs who have started businesses during the pandemic. JCI board members, along with persons in the community, identified businesses that met that criteria. A selection committee went about the verification of start dates of the nominated businesses to ensure they had indeed started after March 2020 which is when Antigua went into lockdown, along with the majority of the world.
As restrictions eased, these 10 young entrepreneurs decided to make their mark and take a leap of faith by started businesses. Here are the profiles of a few of the businesses awarded.
Through the power of social media, these businesses have connected with their customer base in Antigua and continue to grow despite the economic challenges the island, and the rest of the world faces. Check out the social media profiles of these businesses to see what they are all about!