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One Young World in the Caribbean

Published: 
Monday, August 21, 2017
Melissa Pascal at the One Young World session in Thailand. Photo by:Franka Philip

 

Melissa Pascal has a lot on her mind. Ideas that zoom as quickly as the pace she speaks, trying to find a way to connect young people to developing themselves as strong, determined, successes. Out of the many ideas, she has developed a two-day forum for young entrepreneurs which takes place on August 25 and 26 at the Arthur Lok Jack School of Business, Champs Fleurs.

“I wanted to do something amazing before I was 30. I googled and stumbled upon One Young World (OYW). It’s about social entrepreneurship, about making a difference. I left my job at Scotia, I reached Thailand in 2015,” she said.

At the OYW session in Thailand, she met 2006 Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Muhammad Yunus. Yunus, a Bangladeshi, defined a concept of microcredit and microfinance that helped entrepreneurs too poor to qualify for bank loans. Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, whose name is well known at many Trinidad breakfast tables, Pascal felt that young people in Trinidad could learn something from this. But for her, it also meant a new chapter in personal development.

“I have an insatiable hunger to leave a legacy of positive impact in the Region. I grew up in an incubator since I so (she lowers her hand to demonstrate). I was in a ‘shark tank,’ I have been pitching since I was five years old,” she said.

Before she turned 26, Pascal already had three businesses. While at university abroad, she turned $100 into $25,000 in one year. She ran a jewellery business, then she had a café. She applied her business savvy when she did her Masters at Arthur Lok Jack. Closing in on 32 in September, she has found more strength in developing a tech(nology) network. “My power lies in the network, my network is equivalent to my net worth,” she said.

The tech network is built on developing connections in the IT space, as young business owners use social media to connect with potential audiences and customer base. Value is placed on a connective following and it is on this a network is based.

“I have been building this network for the past 10 to 15 years without realising it,” Pascal said.

Based on this network concept, social entrepreneurship becomes palatable. Millennial entrepreneurs are found mainly on social media and web pages. Technology and entrepreneurship then becomes a beautiful pairing, she said. Since her return from Thailand, she has been amping up social media as her communication. That’s how she has been getting the word out about the two-day session.

The British High Commission will host the launch of the One Young World Caribbean Caucus on August 24. On August 25 and 26, the caucus will host regional youth ambassadors including those from Belize, Haiti, St Lucia and Jamaica. The session caters for young people between the ages of 18 and 30 years who have a passion, who wish to make an impact on their community, who seek and drive change.

There will be panels under the themes Entrepreneurship and Social Education; Social Inclusion; Challenges and Opportunity for Caribbean Youth. In addition, a collection of Trinidad and Caribbean produced films will be shown.

The objective is more than seeking that Caribbean identity in business, Pascal said, but understanding purpose and drive.

“Once you have found your own and proven yourself, you have made your mark. The next step is to work side by side to create. That is the win-win relationship. That old school mentality of competitiveness has to go,” she said.

About One Young World

Caribbean Caucus:

• Event will take place on August 26th- 27th at the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business.

• T&T will host the first ever Caucus to be held in the Caribbean Region.

• Eligible for young people between the ages of 18-30 years

• Local and regional speakers to attend.

Further information: www.oneyoungworld.com/caribbean-caucus-25-26-august or Free One Young World Caribbean Caucus 2017 on Facebook

About Melissa Pascal

• Coach entrepreneur and coordinator for the One Young World Caribbean Caucus

• Melissa is an entrepreneur who uses her own experiences in business to support and help smaller businesses grow.

• Former member of the National Women’s Senior Hockey Team

• She’s into venture racing and crossfit

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