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Rotary Club of Kingston to build Junior Achievement Biztown

Thursday, January 16, 2014 | 8:14 AM    

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Rotary Club of Kingston will spend approximately $20 million to establish a model business town at the Ministry of Education’s (MOE) Caenwood Centre complex in Kingston as part of the club’s major project for 2013/14.

The model business town, which will be housed in a retrofitted building at Caenwood Centre, will be called Junior Achievement Biztown.

President of the Club, Allison Peart, said the building will enable Junior Achievement Jamaica (JAJ) to increase its impact on of youth across the island through business education.

The Junior Achievement Biztown will consist of several simulated company storefronts, in which grade five students will discover how real business works, by performing roles as employers and consumers of various businesses, the Rotary Club said in a release.

“We (the Rotary Club of Kingston) are engaging Rotary to change lives with this project and we believe in Junior Achievement’s vision to see every Jamaican child become armed with the knowledge and practical experience required to contribute positively to their development and the economy,” Peart said.

“We also think this project will assist Junior Achievement with its goal of empowering young people to own their economic success.”

The initiative, which is being done in partnership with the MOE, is aimed towards promoting business education of youth in the areas of entrepreneurship, financial literacy and work readiness.

“We are pleased by the response of the Ministry of Education to allow us to use one of their buildings for this purpose,” Peart added.

While thanking Rotary for the build out of JA Biztown, president of JAJ, Alphie Mullings-Aiken, noted that local businesses will be approached to support and sponsor storefronts which will enable the students to benefit from the in class and real world experience.

“Biztown is not unique to Jamaica because the model is used in other Junior Achievement locations across the world but it will be the first of its kind in Latin America and the Caribbean. In other Junior Achievement locations such in the US and Canada, local businesses actually purchase store fronts, brand them and a model of their business is developed at that store front by students,” she said.

The Rotary Club of Kingston will be equipping the building with 11 storefronts, each to represent an actual company. Students will be allowed to engage in the practical learning experience at these simulated companies for one day, after a four-to-six week, in-class business curriculum, including economics, good citizenship and money management.

“We are aiming to reach over 10,000 grade five students each year with this initiative,” added Mullings-Aiken.

The Rotary Club of Kingston will host a groundbreaking ceremony for the construction on Friday, January 17, at the Caenwood Centre. The building is expected to be complete by June 2014.

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