July 16, 2021 | St. John’s, Antigua | Elicia Blutcher-Watson
The Antigua and Barbuda Youth Ministries is alive and on the move. With the mandate to follow the evangelical call, “I Will GO”, the Young Adults division of the Youth Ministries department, under the leadership of island coordinator, Vernon Frederick, has embarked on several initiatives during its two-year tenure. One such creative initiative is the Small Business Alliance (SBA). This initiative is an entrepreneurship ministry that caters for the Young Adults (formerly Adventist Youth) who are chartering their career paths of starting their own businesses.
Launched in May of 2021, the SBA has 16 registered businesses and is under the direct care of assistant island coordinator, Zach Thomas. The SBA is currently supporting these young entrepreneurs in three major ways: training, networking and marketing.
A key format for supporting the SBA members are through seminars facilitated by professionals to include: lawyers, business owners, business designers, bankers and more. Members meet twice per month for these seminars where they are taught various business skills such as business branding, flyer design, communication with customers, business law and managing business finances. The seminars also take on a spiritual component where the young entrepreneurs are exposed to topics such as having a business partnership with God, tithing in business and taking business directives from God.
Another feature of the seminars, is the power-packed devotional session based on business principles. These are followed by interactive business production and management presentations. Here, the young business owners get opportunities to foster networking by promoting and advertising their goods and services to other alliance members.
The SBA also features a weekly marketplace. Every Thursday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., members of the SBA carry their business to the people. This flea market venture generally meets at the South Leeward Conference’s parking lot, on American Road. Some products and services offered include prepared food items, drinks, mechanical services, superette, home decor, designer bags and accessories, hair braiding and ironing services.
Since its inception, the Small Business Alliance has received more applications to its ministry. With a need to expand, SBA encourages all Seventh-day Adventist youth and other interested persons to join the Small Business Alliance. The organization also welcomes volunteers to support in any way possible.
The Small Business Alliance claims 2 Corinthians 9: 8 NIV as its biblical mantra: “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”