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Basseterre, St. Kitts, June 21, 2016 (SKNIS):  Local entrepreneur Anastasha Elliott is in Silicon Valley, San Francisco, U.S.A., where she will learn about and explore first-hand what the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) has to offer, while also showcasing her entrepreneurial talent. The GES is slated for June 22 to 24, 2016.

Ms. Elliott left St. Kitts and Nevis on Monday ((June 20) to attend the Summit in order to network with peers and to pitch a tech startup idea for her company “Yaphene” – which produces organic beauty products, and healthy edible products such as jams, jellies, cakes and other delicacies.

The inspiring young woman almost missed the opportunity to network with more than 1,200 entrepreneurs, investors and mentors from 170 countries who are expected to attend the 7th annual event to be hosted by United States President Barack Obama. Funding for the airfare was not available, but the Department of Youth Empowerment stepped in to support Ms. Elliott’s travel. An official handover ceremony was held at the office of the Deputy Prime Minister, Honourable Shawn Richards, on Friday (June 17), to facilitate Ms. Elliott’s travel.

“This is exactly the mission of the ministry, to empower our young people,” Deputy PM Richards said, noting that Ms. Elliott is a product of the entrepreneurship programme “Creativity for Employment and Business Opportunity (CEBO)” that is implemented by the Department.

Ms. Elliott was initially engaged in CEBO in January, 2013. She credited the six-day programme with raising her knowledge and confidence to succeed in business and expand her product line. Her engagement with the Department also enabled her involvement with the Caribbean Development Bank’s (CDB) Youth Vybzing Competition in May, 2015, and a follow up CEBO session to produce bankable business proposals in August, 2015.

Ms. Elliott and her mother have gone on to strengthen the “Yaphene” brand.  Ms. Elliott said she was grateful for this new opportunity in Silicon Valley. “It’s an awesome opportunity to be a part of something like this and to be able to represent my country,” she said.

Deputy Prime Minister Richards said: “she is basically an ambassador for the CEBO programme and for young people.” He wished her all the best in her future endeavours and encouraged her to share her experiences with her peers and other persons upon her return.

Ms. Elliott took the advice and said she intends to mentor others as her way of giving back to the community.

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