EiA: Classroom to Boardroom in Barbados with The Rotary Club Barbados and Barbados Entrepreneurship Foundation Inc.


“Interesting enough, who shows up on a Monday are not the same persons that leave here on a Friday. There is a transformation and some of you as parents would get to see a little bit of that this evening as your children come up here, receive their certificates and then are required to say something. I’m sure some of you would be amazed… This indeed is a transformational exercise”

Keith King, Director- Vocational Service, Rotary Club of Barbados South

Between the 17th November and 21st November 2014 fifteen students from various schools in Barbados took part in our ‘Classroom to Boardroom’ programme in association with The Rotary Club Barbados and the Barbados Entrepreneurship Foundation Inc.

The objectives of the ‘Classroom to Boardroom’ programme are to:

  • Build leadership skills
  • Give the students an experience of working under pressure to solve real business issues.
  • Provide a meaningful and challenging addition to the service activities

Unlike most programmes where we have a set age range, we had participants from different age ranges. This was very challenging for our EiA Coach, Derek Browne as the children’s ages ranged from 14 to 17 years old.  Despite this the participants were ready to work as one. One of the most surprising aspects of the programmes was that one of the youngest members of the group, a15 year old was elected to be the CEO of the group.

The challenge for the programme was set by Digicel Barbados. Digicel is a leading global communications provider with operations in 33 markets in the Caribbean, Central America and Asia Pacific. After 13 years of operations, total investment to date stands at over US$5 billion worldwide. The company is renowned for delivering best value, best service and best network.


While setting the challenge Dean McIntosh gave the students a choice: they could do the easy challenge, or they could do the really difficult challenge, which is normally reserved for professional consultancy companies. The students all decided they were all confident enough to step up to the really difficult challenge so they could test their various skills and abilities.

Digicel wanted to know how they should retain and protect their current customer base following the merger of two of their competitors.

  • “The session was excellent as a basis for exposing students to the world of business. It provided an excellent means of developing their basic speaking skills.”

Robert Chase, Youth Services Director, Rotary Club Barbados 

  • “The acumen of the students after a few days and the willingness to learn was particularly impressive.”

Celeste Foster, CEO, Barbados Entrepreneurship Foundation 

  • “It requires functioning in a real life situation and we take your wards, your students in, put them in a business environment and they are required to function as if they were running that business for a week and it is amazing to think what they can do in one week.”
  • Keith King, Director- Vocational Service, Rotary Club of Barbados South

The students created a brilliant presentation and for the first time in ‘Classroom to Boardroom’ history the students created a song embedded in the presentation. 

Students comments:

  • “I got to meet a lot of friends and people who I will cherish for a lifetime. I also got to improve my confidence level and personal development”.
  • “I learned a lot from this programme but mainly I improved my presentation skills and learnt how to present well.”
  • “I enjoyed taking part in the presentation and also enjoyed working with people I have never met before.”

Students opinion on the programme:

  • 100% of students felt the event ran smoothly and any problems were handled well.
  • 100% of students felt they had more than enough support.
  • 100% of students found the programme interesting or better and would recommend it to others.
  • 100% of students really enjoyed the experience of presenting in front of senior Board Members.

What the students gained from the programme:

  • 100% of students increased their understanding of business and enterprise.
  • 100% of students now have a feel for what it is like to be part of a real business assignment.
  • 100% of students have increased skills to help their school learning and increased their future employment chances.
  • 100% of the students have greater confidence in what they can achieve.

Student’s gained from taking part in the programme:

EiA was also pleased that the programme recieived a good amount of press during the week. The articles’s highlight the benefits of the programme and what the students gained from taking part in it.

Here are links to the articles.