Media Center



  June 2, 2007

PANAMA CITY, Panama—The international community celebrated the talent and creativity of young entrepreneurs of the Americas, with awards presented to eight winners for projects in the Talent and Innovation Competition of the Americas (TIC Americas). The winning entries were announced in the Panamanian capital, where the hemisphere’s Ministers of Foreign Affairs will open the 37th General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) on Sunday.

OAS Assistant Secretary General Albert Ramdin presented awards to some of the winners, hailing the 32 finalists on hand for the ceremony organized by the Young Americas Business Trust (YABT), an OAS affiliate. Ramdin said he was impressed by the participants’ talent, attitudes, ideas, innovative abilities and strong commitment to their communities and nations. “You demonstrate the essence of what it means to be socially responsible business citizens,” he told them. “Many now and in the future will benefit from your exemplary attitudes, your steadfast dedication and forward-looking creativity.”

Ramdin said the young entrepreneurs represent hope for the future of the Americas, as more than 68 percent of the hemisphere’s population is under 35 years of age. “Those are the people who will deliver what we need in the societies of the Western Hemisphere—social and economic development, some kind of hope, some kind of future and some kind of stability,” he said.

Pledging the OAS would continue its support for young people’s advancement and for the work of the Young Americas Business Trust, Ramdin said the focus on youth and on investing in education and training has to do with the thrust to build a society in which young people can create opportunities for themselves.

“We cannot continue to lose large segments of our youth population who fall victim to the vicious cycle of inter-generational poverty, crime, and social alienation,” said Ambassador Ramdin.

“It is time we give it the highest priority in our countries,” he continued, noting also that “what YABT does is useful and meaningful to the Western Hemisphere. It has trained some 30,000 young people to become entrepreneurs, assisting rural communities in improving their lives and helping young people not to have to migrate from rural to urban areas to fall victim to crime and poverty.”

Ambassador Denis Antoine, Grenada’s envoy to the OAS and to the United States, also handed out awards and, speaking as Chairman of the YABT Board of Directors, praised the young business leaders for their entrepreneurial spirit. He accentuated the value of YABT and TIC Americas to the future of the hemisphere, and offered special commendations to YABT founder and CEO Roy Thomasson, who served as master of ceremonies for the evening’s awards program.

Awards were handed out in eight categories: Spirit of Entrepreneurship, to Mission Three, of the United States (fresh farm delivery service of locally grown products); Social Entrepreneurship – DUTO, of Colombia (learning tool for visually impaired children); Business Process – Unima Integral Biosecurity, of Mexico (biotechnology); Tradition and Culture – South Hope, of Mexico (ecotourism); New Markets – Nutralif, of Mexico (food marketing); Creative Design – Progalu, of Colombia (biotechnology company specializing in mushrooms); E-Business – EdgIT, of Brazil (interactive e-publication technologies in digital readable devices); and International Alliance – Da Flea, of Taiwan (personalized literature).

Through a variety of programs, YABT acts a catalyst to spur development of young entrepreneurs through business training, partnerships, leadership and technology. YABT promotes social and economic development in the Western Hemisphere and beyond through programs, projects and activities focused on helping to create and advance efforts to improve the quality of life of youth and young adults, especially those living in or near poverty.

Reference: GA-07-07