It is said that necessity is the father of invention. Often times when our backs are up against the wall, we are our most creative selves. There is little doubt that COVID-19 has pinned us against the odds in more ways than one, and therefore innovation has been the only way for anyone to thrive under the circumstances thus far. Examples of this innovation can be found in the stories of young entrepreneurs who have turned the problems posed by the pandemic into positions of endless possibilities.

Take the SLHTA’s very own Wendel George for instance, whose beef jerky side hustle, turned business, has been trending upward since the pandemic started. According to his account, the idea for starting this business venture was born out of share inquisitiveness as it relates to exploring the production of dried goods. After experimenting with the drying of local fruits, Mr. George expressed his desire to branch out into a product that had been a staple of the diet of many US consumers but had not really found foothold the St. Lucian market. Like any good prospective entrepreneur, Wendel proceeded to do his market research, as well as seek guidance from experts in the field of food preparation in order to ensure that his new product would satisfy a craving and therefore turn a profit. “I got some advice from my Chef friend Billy Boyle who worked in St Lucia for some years. He told me the type of meat I should use and how I should cut it” he recounted. “I also got my friends to try the samples and they all loved it!” And thus, the venture
was born.

Young men are not the only ones who have taken to entrepreneurship since the start of COVID19. Pauline Beharry is a symbol that young ladies can flourish in the business realm too. A funloving soul, Pauline’s love for baking stemmed from her time at secondary school in the Food and Nutrition classroom. “I always had talent” she said, “I just never turned it into a business before this time.” Ms. Beharry stated that she had been having a difficult time managing her life due to complications beyond her control. The lunge into entrepreneurship represented a way out, and a need for self-betterment. It is through this strife “CakeCrumbz” was born and is a symbol of her never-give-up attitude. She expressed that business has been going well thus far and is grateful for this blessing in her life.

The drive to self-sufficiency is quite evident amongst young people in light of the sudden change in global financial landscape. There is no doubt that the unexpected turn of events has played a major role in changing the way many young people view money making and entrepreneurship. In fact when asked whether or not they would have started this venture without a prompt from the global situation, both of our interviewees indicated that while they had already thought of getting into some sort of business before, the pandemic did indeed play a major role in spurring them on
to start their respective ventures. It was the necessity of the situation, companied with their willingness to change that provided new opportunities for them, even in the face of crisis.

In terms of a way forward, both Mr. George and Ms. Beharry were willing to share an inspirational thought for any young aspiring entrepreneur who may be faced with doubt. Wendel’s advice was as follows:
“Fear is just a feeling in the back of your mind that basically causes you to be mindful that something could either go right or go wrong and I think it is human nature for us to want to believe that things usually go wrong. My advice to you is to do it anyway. What can really go so wrong? And if anything does not go how you planned it, you can always adjust. If you have an idea, give it a shot because the longer you stay and think about it, the more doubt will set in and cause you to want to give in or give up.”

Ms Beharry echoed Mr George’s sentiments when she said “Nothing can stop you from success. Once you have good people in your corner, nothing can stop you”. An attitude like the ones highlighted here is what ultimately needs to be adopted if we are going to thrive during these turbulent times. Let us continue to strive for better and tackle necessity head on.

To lend your support to Wendel George’s business, go check out this link: https://www.facebook.com/beefjerky758.
To support Pauline Beharry’s venture, check out https://www.facebook.com/CakeCrumbzslu.