The Agriculture Business Challenge

Project Champion

Under BEF Pillar 'Education and

Talent Development'

About the Agriculture Business Challenge ...

Celeste Foster

The Agricultural Entrepreneurship Programme 

The global economic environment has resulted in an increase in unemployment rates which has affected every economic sector. Initiatives to create work opportunities are becoming vital and, in Barbados, it has been found that one of the most significant drivers of economic activity is in the agriculture sector. New ventures can offer substantial opportunities for job creation for young persons and to ensure sustainability.

What is the purpose of the Agriculture Business Challenge?

Based on the success of the $20 Challenge, the BEF has implemented an Agricultural Entrepreneurship Pilot Programme aimed at developing the entrepreneurial skills in youth already involved in agriculture. The aim of this programme is to embed entrepreneurship with agriculture in order to create business opportunities in the agricultural sector. We have noticed a prevalence of males in the agricultural sector and in our annual $20 Challenge, a dominance of females. Therefore, one of our aims is to diversify the demographics of both aspects of the programme. The Pilot Programme comprises of two components – the Agriculture Business Challenge and the NVQ Agricultural Entrepreneurship Level 1.

How does the Challenge work?

Seven schools were selected to participate in the Pilot Programme; the selection criteria was based on Agriculture Science being part of the curriculum or where there are already a significant number of students enrolled in existing agriculture programmes.

The COB Agriculture Business Challenge

For Phase 1 – the COB Agriculture Business Challenge, students underwent a series of training sessions commencing with the Preparatory Leadership Training. During these training sessions, team leaders from the various schools were introduced to best practice business models with a view to help them better understand the industry and opportunities available across the value chain of the sector. To further highlight the importance of agriculture and its various facets of business as well as to encourage team work, there will be two competitions during this phase – the Recipe Competition and the Cook Off.


"For the Business Challenge, each school team will pitch their idea to a panel of judges, and similar to the original $20 Challenge Framework, will be loaned $20 per student towards the working capital of the business."


For the Business Challenge, each school team will pitch their idea to a panel of judges, and similar to the original $20 Challenge Framework, will be loaned $20 per student towards the working capital of the business. Additionally, equipment will be provided up to a maximum of $1000 per school based on the strength of the project proposal. Teams will be guided and mentored by volunteer Ambassadors assigned to each school. There will be three Ambassadors per school drawn from the business community, the agriculture sector and the culinary arts profession. Following their successful pitching session, the teams will conceptualise and develop their business and run them for 8 months. During this period, they will be afforded the opportunity to showcase their businesses at the Agrofest Exhibition under a branded Agri- Business Challenge tent, as well as participate in a number of Ministry of Agriculture sponsored Farmer’s Markets. 

The Massy Foundation NVQ Agricultural Entrepreneurship Level 1: Building Out Skilled & Competent Individuals

The second Phase of the Programme focusses on building out skilled and competent individuals who will be able to progress up the career ladder, have improved employability and transferability and who will be recognized for their knowledge and skills. Phase 2, The Massy Foundation NVQ Agricultural Entrepreneurship Level 1 will focus on providing basic management tools and building entrepreneurial knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours. Initially, 35 students selected by their schools will be enrolled in this programme which is anticipated to run for one academic year in concurrent with the school terms. 


The technical knowledge and acumen acquired will enable students to make use of modern and innovative agricultural and business management practices comprising on-farm and off-farm value addition, innovation and growth. These skills, knowledge and practical experience will also expose students to the co-operative model. 

A Holistic Intervention in our Schools

Schools participating in the Programme include The Alleyne School, Daryll Jordan Secondary School, Ellerslie Secondary School, Grantley Adams Memorial Secondary School and St. Leonard's Boys Secondary School. Student teams will be drawn from Agriculture Science, Food & Nutrition, Business, Visual Arts and Information Technology. The school teams will work together to create business cooperatives that model modern agricultural enterprises. This project therefore, is a holistic intervention that not only promotes teamwork, but allows students to recognize and value the wide array of skills that lead to successful business outcomes in the agriculture sector.

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