As a recent graduate of the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College, Yohance Cazaubon was one of the hundreds trying to join the work force. Instead of sending in dozens of applications and waiting weeks for interviews, Yohance instead decided to start up his own business and join the ranks of Saint Lucian young entrepreneurs. Today, he’s the founder of two small businesses based in the town of Soufriere: YJC Deliveries which specialises in the delivery of groceries, parcels and bulk items, and Island Fits which operates as a start-up exploiting the local clothing industry. While also supplementing himself as a butler, Yohance John Cazaubon is making a name as a budding entrepreneur in a country where unemployment is a reality that too many young people face.
Why did you decide to become an entrepreneur?
Yohance: As a young boy growing up, there was always this burning desire to do something big with my life; to stand out and become someone who leaves their mark. I realized at a tender age that having a business of your own is a great accomplishment in life because, if executed properly, one has the chance to open doors of employment for the unemployed, giving them an opportunity to succeed and achieve their goals.
Tell us about your businesses: how did you come up with the concepts?
Yohance: I am the founder of two small businesses based in the town of Soufriere, YJC Deliveries and Island Fits. The idea of the delivery service came about while conversing with a former classmate. On the other hand, the clothing company struck me whilst brainstorming an idea for Independence Day. YJC Deliveries is a local courier service performing deliveries to both individuals and business places. Some of the key services we offer include grocery, bulk, meal, parcel and gas cylinder deliveries. Island Fits is a start-up exploiting the local clothing industry. With the slogan of ‘Grasp Your Culture’, we plan to get individuals to support their own, and also give foreigners fond memories of our amazing island.
How has the experience of being an entrepreneur been thus far?
Yohance: I must say it is quite interesting and difficult at the same time. It is really a roller-coaster ride; there may be times when you achieve a goal set out but, by the next day, you’ve plummeted right back down to level one. The most important thing to keep in mind, though, is to ensure you find out the reasons for your failure because what really allows your company to succeed in the long run is that reflection on why things happened a particular way.
What has the support from the wider public been like?
Yohance: Support has been okay. I believe more persons should support small businesses instead of seeking items overseas. An example mentioned by Minister Guy Joseph was that when building a house in the country, persons would more than likely buy their building supplies, furniture etc overseas when we have companies like True Value, Builder’s Choice and Essential Hardware.
Where do you hope to be in the next five years as a young businessman?
Yohance: I see myself implementing ways to give back to my community and country. Saint Lucia has a lot of unacknowledged talent hidden in various parts of the country. One of the ways of implementation will be to pick out those individuals and provide them with the opportunity to be heard by someone who can further advance those talents they possess. Another way will be by encouraging the government to introduce Entrepreneurship as a CSEC subject so our youth can learn the importance of self-employment at a tender age. Here’s my formula: More Small Businesses + Competition = Higher GDP.
How do you intend to expand your business?
Yohance: We plan on expanding with the current relationships that have been established with various small/large business places and also attending various symposiums both locally, regionally and internationally in order to meet and absorb the information provided by the experts in the industry.
Would you encourage young people to become entrepreneurs? What would you say to them?
Yohance: I believe, for all those who seek success and also financial stability in life, it doesn’t happen by going in debt, taking a $10,000 – $60,000 student loan and spending numerous years in a classroom learning a field when there are so many free, similar courses availble online. Entrepreneurship is the solution for you. Why? If we look deeper into the reason persons who already have, keep getting more, it’s because of entrepreneurship. The key is interconnected. Find something you’re passionate about and start writing your business plans. The time is now, because now is all we have.