As the local economy continues to reel from the devastating impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic, awardees of the NCB Foundation's Level Up Grant were able to earn over US$85,000.
In June 2020, over 1400 awardees who experienced reduced income due to the pandemic, received grants to complete short online courses to enable them to change careers and begin earning again.
The foundation, partnered with Internet Income Jamaica (IIJ), iCreate Limited, and Northern Caribbean University (NCU), to administer short courses specialised in areas such as social media management, transcription, virtual assistant and remote call centre support, digital marketing, graphic design, grant writing, business communications, crisis/trauma/grief counselling, and small business management.
“The Level Up Grant created a significant impact on those who participated in the programme with some developing the skills to earn income online via freelancing platforms or start their businesses online,” shared Nadeen Matthews Blair, the foundation's chief executive officer.
“We have touched the lives of many individuals who experienced significant loss due to the pandemic. The foundation is proud of the success of our Level Up Grant awardees who are earning significantly from their entrepreneurial endeavours online,” she continued.
For Trudy-Ann Burke, the programme was life-changing. When Burke's common-law husband died leaving her with four school-aged children to raise, she thought life could not get harder, then the pandemic hit Jamaica.
“I gained skills which enabled me to earn a total of US$1,520 within two months of starting my virtual assistant services to a myriad of international clients, some of whom have become long term,” said Burke.
Grant awardee Patrieka Mascoe who has recently become an entrepreneur after completing her online course also shared similar sentiments. She too was left unemployed due to the economic downturn caused by COVID-19.
“I felt stuck and left with no sense of direction until I came across this programme and the grant offered by NCB Foundation,” said Mascoe.
Mascoe has since earned over US$600 online and is capable of providing for personal needs.