Gibraltar’s Young Enterprise: Empowering Future Entrepreneurs – Acquarius

Discover how Gibraltar’s Young Enterprise motivates young people with business skills, leading to success stories like the triumphant Vital team.
Visitors to the Rock are often surprised at just how entrepreneurial Gibraltarians are. There are countless small local businesses, often established by relatively young people, ranging from those we see up and down Main Street to the literally dozens of enterprises owned and managed by local people across almost all sectors.
Naturally, this is to be encouraged by government and the business community at large. The challenge lies in how to equip young people with the relevant life and business skills necessary to succeed. Step forward Young Enterprise in Gibraltar (“YE Gibraltar”).
YE Gibraltar is the local partner of the UK based body, founded more than sixty years ago by Sir Walter Salomon (whose son William is the charity’s current president). YE is the leading organisation that empowers young people to develop their personal and business skills and is itself part of the global Junior Achievement (JA) Worldwide family.
Over the last 18 years, the Young Enterprise scheme in Gibraltar has encouraged budding local entrepreneurs to come up with innovative ideas. Hundreds of students have taken part benefitting from the various YE programmes available.
This year, nine teams made final presentations in front of the judges, their peers and parents. In addition to the finale, YE put on a hugely successful fair in Casemates in April where competing teams were able to showcase their ideas to the public at large.
After a closely fought competition, Vital, a team of four, emerged as the winners. They will go on to represent Gibraltar in the Young Enterprise UK finals. The group released a children’s book inspired by the United Nations global list and entitled ‘Marley and the Mediterranean Mess’. The book is the first in a planned series featuring the title character that aim to raise awareness of environmental issues for the young.
Well-known business executive Carlos Garcia was instrumental in the establishment of YE locally almost two decades ago. Carlos was passionate about the need to develop young entrepreneurial skills and provided tireless support during the charity’s early years which was key to YE’s early achievements. Countless successful entrepreneurs active in Gibraltar today owe much of their success to Carlos and his YE colleagues that provided them with the kick-start they needed.

YE enjoys the widest possible support from “Gibraltar plc” and the charity relies on sponsorship to cover its event programme including the annual Awards. Some of the largest and most prestigious firms locally have publicly demonstrated their commitment over the years.
Stephen Reyes introduced Acquarius’ current management to the charity some time ago. COO Gareth Cross says that the firm is delighted to continue maintaining YE’s registered office at their Irish Town address. Although not a formal sponsor, Acquarius provides these invaluable services on a pro bono basis.
In mid-May, budding local entrepreneurs received a further boost when the Gibraltar Federation of Small Businesses (GFSB) announced a new initiative. Aimed at empowering young Gibraltar entrepreneurs, GFSB will extend affordable membership opportunities to those aged 21 and under. Taken together with YE’s continued valiant efforts and other business initiatives across all sectors locally, all is set fair for Gibraltarians of any age – but especially the young – to enable them to exploit their full potential. This will benefit the entrepreneurs themselves, their families and future potential employees and thus Gibraltar as a whole.
Acquarius will follow developmentsin this area with considerable interest and continue to provide support whenever it is required.

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