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Boost for businesswomen

more than 200 women in the region to get help with struggling businesses

Help is coming for more than 50 women in Barbados who are seeking to turn their struggling businesses into viable export ventures.

Thanks to the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives, the assistance is being channelled through the Pinelands Creative Workshop under a project dubbed Economic Empowerment for Women in Barbados and the OECS.

This morning, the Canadian Government joined other existing partners of the project by contributing a $60,000 grant from the fund — all part of its support to three work areas in Barbados and other Eastern Caribbean states.

Canada’s High Commission to Bridgetown and the OECS, Richard Hanley, told a press conference at the offices of the Pinelands Creative Workshop, Marcus Garvey Resource Centre, the Pine, that the areas were developing economic prosperity, promoting democracy and good governance and strengthening security.

Hanley said it was clear the Pinelands’ project, fell into the category of increasing economic prosperity.

“As a result of the project, the Pinelands’ website will be enhanced and women across the region will be coached in how to use it to enhance their knowledge, expand their business ideas, build partnerships, engage in continuous learning and communicate with mentors and advisors,” Hanley pointed out.

“It is especially exciting that these ideas grew out of a think tank held with women in the region: it grew out of their contribution of what they need to succeed,” added the Canadian envoy.

Chief Executive Officer of PCW, Rodney Grant, said the pilot of this project had started in 2011 in Barbados, Grenada and Dominica to empower women who faced particular vulnerabilities.

Grant said his non-governmental organisation has identified the emerging sectors such as information and communication technologies and services that included the cultural industries, energy and the environment and food security.

He noted that the intention was to move these women from having a concept to an actual business in their country, to exporting regionally.

“Therefore the crux of this project, has been focusing on businesses that have export potential,” the CEO explained.

Grant disclosed that PCW’s decision to reach out to the Canadian High Commission, was to acquire funding to bridge a series of gaps in the project, such as the lack of ICT and the absence of training in cooperatives management.

He said the initiative would benefit the women, several of whom were single mothers, through training in areas that would equip them and empower them with the skills to take their businesses beyond the home based, micro levels.

The business leader has also suggested the establishment of a funding facility, solely for vulnerable women in business which would have special interest rates and much less “red tape” in accessing financing.

Speaking on the eve of International Women’s Day, Grant urged the public and private sectors to embrace human rights as the key to all human development efforts. †In other words, he reasoned, every single person in the society must be treated equally.

More than 200 women across the region are targeted to benefit from this project. (EJ)†

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