Women in business

Next week is Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) so it’s fitting for me to talk about the participants in my second WINC Acceleration Programme. Eleven ladies have made it through the application and interviewing process to be a part of the second round of this programme.

What has become abundantly clear to me as the facilitator for this programme and from being involved with entrepreneurship, is that while there are quite a few women with start-up and survivalist type businesses, the number of women with scalable businesses is significantly less. Let me explain scalable since I don’t want to assume that it is clear what is meant by scalable.

A business is scalable if it is capable of being easily expanded or upgraded on demand. For example, if someone is making handmade cards and a large company suddenly wanted 100 in the next week, it is unlikely that the entrepreneur could produce that many on demand, so their business would not be considered scalable in its current form.

That is true for many of our women-owned businesses, because the business is built around the entrepreneur and therefore does not have the capacity to grow beyond what they can do themselves. In order for a business to be scalable, there must be systems built into it and staff to carry out the production, or the ability to outsource, in order to meet demand.

Because of this shortcoming, there is often a struggle to find very large, women-owned businesses in Barbados and the region. Having said that, I am happy to have found a group of women, who have potentially scalable businesses and all of whom want to grow their businesses either locally or through exporting.

Shelly Boyce is a veterinarian whose vision is to expand her practice so that she is not the only vet practising. Currently she has two associates working for her which made her realize that she had to document all the information that was in her head and provide systems for new vets to follow. By doing that, she has started out on the path to being able to scale her business and to make sure that she and her team are able to pursue the mission of helping clients to have happy, healthy pets.

Keisha Branch is an event specialist and certified wedding planner with years of experience in event and wedding planning and management in the USA and Barbados. Her business, Zhlato, provides solutions in planning and management of weddings and events, and also offers destination wedding planning for the Barbados market.  Keisha works with a team of experts who are dedicated to delivering an exceptional, comprehensive experience.

Allison Burnham, who recently won a silver medal at NIFCA for her delicious “Curry Tings” which are curry flavoured coconut flakes, is the owner of Coconut Baby. She also makes the coconut flakes in two other flavours: “You Too Sweet” which is my favourite, made with ginger, sugar, agave, sea salt and spices and “Peppa Mout” which is self- explanatory.   Another of her specialties is Kombucha juice. Allison is the sole entrepreneur in the group this year with food products and they are certainly innovative.

Kellie Cadogan may be best known as a great jazz singer and entertainer, but she also has a business called East Point Productions Inc. which provides vocal training services and products to local, regional and international markets. Its services and products are facilitated by bridging the gap between the non-singer and the singer; through comprehensive vocal development programmes and international vocal and music examinations with the London College of Music.

Simone Davis is by no means new to business. Her graphic design business, Designers Coast, has been around for about twenty years and has done work for all size companies in Barbados. I have been fortunate to have her design the covers of five of my books, including my most successful novel, The Price of Freedom. However, she has decided to take on a different role from designing in order to focus on growing the business locally and regionally.

Andrea DeSouza’s business Body Therapeutics provides therapeutic message and body services, and offers holistic workshops and products for personal transformation. The business also provides rental space for other entrepreneurs to conduct their businesses. In her words, if they grow, she will also grow, hence her desire to expand that aspect of her business. Once a month, she also has an outdoor moonlight bazaar where other entrepreneurs can sell their products

Ana Gill of Classy Raggs Interiors is another very experienced entrepreneur who is continually adding new services and innovating within her business.  While she has specialized in high quality soft furnishings over the years, particularly slip covers and Roman blinds, she has recently added Make Overs and House Staging to her portfolio of services, which is not something that we have done a lot of in Barbados, but which enhances the property and increases the sale potential.

Katrina Ifill’s business, Waves of Bliss, specializes in the coaching of Orgasmik Intelligence™, an orgasmic self-healing and self-empowerment system conceptualized for women and couples to enhance how they use their six senses and sexual energy to heal and empower themselves.  This contemporary and relevant system focuses on effective intrapersonal communication, healthy functioning of the female body, cultivation of self-healing and the transformation of relationships.

Simone McConnie is a podiatrist who has gained notice, not only in Barbados but also in the Caribbean, and will soon do so globally as she has been invited to speak at the International Diabetes Foundation Congress in Dubai next month.  She received an Award of Recognition for her outstanding leadership and dedication to saving limbs by the Diabetes Foot Centre Group in Barbados and is assisting the group in Grenada.  Her business, Comfeet Footcare Inc., not only offers podiatry services, but also aesthetically pleasing orthodontic shoes.

Nicole Forde-Niles runs Caribbean Dreams Publishing, a dynamic, award-winning publishing company, which has been operating since 2013. Their products are beautifully designed to capture the reader’s attention at first glance, produced with fresh content and built on the latest digital concepts and platforms. They offer high-quality design, marketing, project management, social media management, advertising and promotional services.

Toni Thorne is best known for her business Thorne Publishing & Productions which is a multifaceted entity that includes event, fashion, television production and publishing.  Episodes of her TV show, The Toni Thorne Show, can be seen on YouTube. She also designs and produces what has been named “the Caribbean’s sweetest sandal”, a line of locally made footwear, the Sweetheart line, with its signature heart attached.

I am certainly looking forward to working with these ladies and facilitating them in the sessions as they work to grow and expand their businesses.

Source: (Donna Every is an author, international speaker and trainer. She is the Barbados Facilitator for the InfoDev WINC Acceleration Programme and was the Barbados Ambassador for Women’s Entrepreneurship Day (2014–2016). Email:donna@donnaevery.com;Website:www.donnaevery.com;www.facebook.com/DonnaEvery1)

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