Students of ‘Fusion Flavoured Cupsicles’ during the judging of their business project.

practical approach

Students mixing business with chemistry

The Barbados Community College (BCC) is cultivating an entrepreneurial mindset among its students.

Recently, the second-year Food Chemistry class was tasked with setting up businesses by putting what they learnt into practice. Businesses developed were that of wines, smoothies, ice creams, confectionery and specialty foods.

“Being able to take what is learned in the classroom and make a career out of it if they desire is exactly what we want the students to be able to do, especially in our current economic situation, where we know traditional jobs are really and truly in a short supply.

“Certainly, what I am seeing is very practical in terms of their applying the chemistry and other areas to what they are doing. And I think that the
products that they have produced are very novel and if marketed, I can see them making sales,” BCC Principal, Dr Cheryl Weekes told The Barbados Advocate, also noting that students received no funding from the college.

“I think the fact that they were able to come together among themselves and get the funds required to produce the items is extremely well thought out and well executed.”

With an aim to assist students, Dr Weekes would like to see the development of a business incubator programme at the college, which will help create and grow young businesses by providing them with necessary support and financial and technical services.

“…I think that the ability to translate what we would normally call academic knowledge into something very practical is commendable. And certainly, I am seeing young eager people here and it augurs well for where we can go as a country,” she expressed.

“We were also talking a lot about the fact that we don’t have a lot of foreign currency. Where are looking at perhaps reducing the number of imports and we know that Barbadians like a variety of things and they like good things. And what I am seeing here are good items being produced, that do not require foreign currency – they are locally made, and therefore this in itself would help us as a country….”.

The businesses were judged by tutors from BCC’s Science Division. Food Chemistry Tutor, Kathy Wharton-Lewis said students were judged on business name, overall display, products, variety and quality as well as their responses to questions posed.

She added, “We find that when some of our students leave BCC they open their own businesses. Whether it be students from the Food Chemistry course or the Industrial Chemistry course – they are learning how to make things from scratch.” (TL)

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