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Amps International hosts entrepreneurship retreat for youth in Puerto Rico 

With U.S. Department of Agriculture support, it focused on conservation business ideas.

Amps International LLC recently hosted an intensive youth entrepreneurship retreat in Puerto Rico, under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service, in the west coast town of Rincón.

This is the second time the retreat has been held on the island. About two dozen high school and college students participated in the retreat, which kicked off on May 30. The opening session was on May 31, where students experienced one-on-one tours of coffee and cacao farms with Luis-Cruz Arroyo, head of the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service’s Caribbean region, who answered their questions in person. 

The three-day retreat, which was free of charge, wrapped up on Saturday with a Pitch Competition at the Villa Cofresí Hotel and Restaurant in Rincón.

James Amps II,  founder of Amps Entrepreneurship Leadership Institute and CEO of Amps International LLC, has been empowering youth for more than a decade, working directly with more than 20,000 youth worldwide. He has coordinated these retreats for years along with “master international entrepreneurship” trainer Juan Casimiro, CEO of Biznovator.

“This model introduces youth to careers they might not normally consider,” Amps said. “Everybody wants to ‘save the environment,’ but what if you could help do it and build a career out of it? More importantly, your own business!” 

The students received hands-on business training, formed teams and competed for cash prizes for the best conservation-oriented business plan. A laboratory for entrepreneurial education and leadership development was also held. 

“Amps Entrepreneurship Leadership Institute is paving the way for high schoolers and college students to start a business by solving a problem,” Amps said. “Their mission: Analyze ways the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service can improve on conservation and agriculture in the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as Puerto Rico, and create a business around it. Food sustainability and conservation are the greatest threats on the islands.”

The institute also recognized Chief Terry Cosby of the USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service and Vivian Dickson, director of Racial Equity & Justice for the USDA-NRCS, for their instrumental roles in spearheading this initiative that explored ways to “get youth excited about equity in conservation and agriculture.”

Amps Entrepreneurship Leadership Institute is becoming a leader in fostering Youth Entrepreneurs, with the backing of corporations like the Miami Dolphins, ABM Building Services, USDA-NRCS, Honeywell, SunTrust, Bright House Networks, Americlaims Billing, Newsworthy Stories, TGI Fridays, KFC, University of the Virgin Islands, and University of Puerto Rico, among others.

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