BELTRAIDE Launches its First Female Entrepreneurship Program Print E-mail
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Friday, 08 March 2019 00:00

The Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE), with support from the Regional Center of Promotion for MSME (CENPROMYPE) and funds from US State Department, has launched a project in Belize entitled the “Female Entrepreneurship Program” (FEP). The Program, which is a first of its kind for Belize, is designed exclusively for women with the goal of improving and strengthening their leadership and business skills.

The FEP was developed to promote entrepreneurship education and training by transferring tools and practical instruments to implement innovative processes that can increase market penetration and sales; facilitating access to entrepreneurial training opportunities with a gender focus; and strengthening the leadership, self-esteem, autonomy and economic empowerment of women.

This program is expected to be completed within six months and includes participants from all districts in priority areas such as tourism, creative industry, Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), light manufacturing, and Information Technology and Communications Services (ITCS). The module will be facilitated through group meetings, workshops, personalized business advising by BELTRAIDE, the Belize City Council, and the Women’s Department, and a signature business networking event scheduled for May 23rd, 2019.

The launch for the program took place on Friday, March 1, 2019 at the Belize Training and Employment Centre (BTEC) on the ITVET Compound. There, we learnt that a total of eighteen women will be receiving hands on training through the program. These training will include business development, customer discovery, effective communication, negotiating skills, mentorships, and other key areas. According to Monique Usher, Acting Manager, SBDC Belize, the women will also participate in activities that will allow them to go into the market of their respective field to get feedback which will be used to validate their business model. Besides that, these women will meet with already established and influential business women. “We also have a networking collision event that we have planned for these women, so we are inviting successful female entrepreneurs to be a part of that program, as well as influential women who have positions in society to provide that mentorship that these women desire to accelerate their business.”

One of those women, Lorcia Moore, is the owner of Naturally Belize Coconut Products. Moore makes high-end hair as well as skin products and says that she hopes to expand her business. She says that her hope is that in five years’ time, she will be exporting her products. While this program will be of benefit to Moore, she says that what she really needs is financial help. “In five years’ time, I feel that I will be exporting already. So, this programme is really a step for me in improving my products; improve myself as an entrepreneur; gain the necessary leadership skills to reach that stage. One of the areas I found is my greatest weakness is the aspect of finance; being able to project those finance; being able to pitch to investors when it comes to the finance aspect of my business.”

Minister of State in the Ministry of Economic Development, Hon. Tracy Taegar Panton says that being in the program will hopefully help to provide the participants with the necessary opportunities to access capital. “This program is part of a wider program in Central America through CEMPROMYPE. So, we hope to be able to tap into some seed capital through this initiative, through CEMPROMYPE and also we will be using our own arrangements that we have. You know BELTRAIDE has a memorandum of understanding with the National Bank of Belize to create that window so that seed capital can be made available at the successful end of the process.” She added, “A lot of these women are already working on their product idea, so this is just another step in that journey for them. I think the greatest measure of success will be the increase confidence that these women have to take their business plans and give it life. It is really about the economic empowerment of women and we know that when we empower women, we empower families and we empower communities.”

Last Updated on Friday, 08 March 2019 13:25