The New Horizon Christian Outreach Ministry is planning to revolutionise the multi-billion dollar bamboo industry through an entrepreneurship training programme in bamboo utilization, energy & agro-processing. By expanding its training facility, through a partnership with the Digicel Foundation, New Horizon will be designing and manufacturing equipment for the bamboo industry which is estimated to be worth US$20 billion globally in 2015. “Bamboo is definitely a winner,” said Michael Barnett, Executive Director of New Horizon. “We see the need in the bamboo industry for mechanized equipment. We always try to differentiate ourselves and look out for the potential opportunities to create social enterprises.” New Horizon will be designing and manufacturing bamboo splitters, bamboo strippers, a bamboo press to develop bamboo ply board, hydraulic clamps and modified chop saws for use in the industry. This J$5.2 million investment made by the Digicel Foundation will directly impact 500 students and residents of the Wynter’s Pen community in St. Catherine where the facility is located. “With 1800 hectares of bamboo not being used in Jamaica the potential is tremendous. This is a project that not only will impact this community but thousands of persons from the person growing bamboo to vendors and producers. Digicel Foundation has helped us in a high tech way so that we can help to transform the bamboo sector,” Barnett added. The training programme will also transform the lives of young persons in the community who through will now have qualifications for the growing industry locally and will be able to pursue opportunities outside of Jamaica. New Horizon has been an active force for change within its community through the COMET II programme executed in partnership with USAID which offers HEART-certified skills training in welding, electrical installation, literacy and climate change. Level II of the programme, completed in March of 2015, saw 31 males graduating in electrical installation and welding, with 18 females graduating in literacy. A number of these students have also benefitted from equipment valued at J$4.5 million preciously invested by Digicel Foundation in 2011. Speaking at the graduation ceremony for the COMET II programme and handover for the bamboo project held on March 28 th at New Horizon keynote speaker Dr. K’adamawe K’nIfe applauded the training being done for the youth within the community. “Sometimes the work we do has so much more value than we think. A programme like this has saved the country $50 million because for every $1 spent, at least $10 has been returned on investment,” Dr. K’nIfe said. According to Mr. Barnett the return on investment is expected to increase through the expansion to bamboo processing and their other social enterprises such as glass processing and nutraceuticals. New Horizon hopes to offer employment to more persons being trained.