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Women being equipped with tools to boost their businesses

Pinelands Creative Workshop (PCW) is continuing its mandate to arm the most vulnerable in Barbados with the tools they need to succeed.

Over the weekend PCW launched their Personal and Economic Empowerment for Women (PEEW) initiative at their Marcus Garvey, Pine, St Michael location. The PEEW project is made possible through the initiative "Strengthening Civil Society's Capacity to Alleviate the Impact of COVID-19 on Vulnerable Communities in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean" developed by the Caribbean Policy Development Centre (CPDC) with funding support from the European Union. The first session held on Sunday 20th February 2022, saw twelve female entrepreneurs engage in the Think Tank session which was being facilitated by Rodney Grant, former CEO of Pinelands Creative Workshop.

Speaking on the sidelines after delivering his session Mr. Grant said that the Think Tank session sought to get all of the creative business ideas from the female entrepreneurs in order to test their feasibility.

“In the think tank we would get all of the ideas out whether it is ideas of a business that has just started or ideas that people want to bring to the table and then we begin to log them into industries- food industry, clothes industry, whatever industry they are a part of and that would give us a better idea to be able to assist the young women in terms of working with them to further develop their concepts and or ideas,” he said.

Grant said women are integral in the running of a household thus he believes that the programme which is set to run for several months would be beneficial not only to the female entrepreneur but to the entire household by extension.

“When we look at households’ women are the important elements within a household when it comes to paying bills and looking after the family - a lot of that responsibility falls on the women and once you empower a woman you empower the entire household and you empower the community,” he said.

Chief Executive Officer and Project Coordinator Sophia Greaves-Broome said that Pinelands Creative Workshop has maintained a priority on developing women considering the organization itself is 95 percent female.

The PEEW project was motivated by the earlier “Building Blocks for Women’s Economic Empowerment in the Caribbean” undertaken in 2011 as a way of responding to the needs of female entrepreneurs in the Caribbean. The research to action approach taken with the 2011 initiative was translated to the current PEEW Project which allows for an immediacy to the development of women. The expressed needs of women who participated in an assessment during Covid-19 informed the design for the PEEW Project.

“We are responding to an expressed needs at the moment because COVID-19 would have dealt a harsh blow to a person’s livelihoods. This Personal and Economic Empowerment for Women Project is timely in terms of allowing women to continue to step up and support their families as whether we like it or not the majority of our households are headed by women and with this in mind, every effort has to be made to provide the necessary tools and support to make sure that they are stabilized so that the knowledge and skills they learn here can trickle down to their families and throughout the community,” she said.

Greaves-Broome further added that opportunities such as PEEW allow women not to be excluded from the broader social and economic development plans of Barbados.

“I think the women just by coming and making the commitment to learn should be lauded. But I think that once they leave here at the Marcus Garvey Institute you can rest assured that these women would be in a better position to help their families even provide employment opportunities to others in their community. There are many takeaways of Personal and Economic Empowerment for Women, especially in what we are teaching them during the training courses - 12-week business workshops, exposure to ICT, 10 business promotion interviews, and teaching of marketing strategies would enhance their relevance, allow for competitive advantage, improve customer base and improve the business image and presence. The skills that they would learn are relevant and transferable and at the end of the day these twelve women have access to new knowledge that would allow them to grow and not be excluded from the society,” she said.

Natalie Morgan who is one of the participants of PEEW said that she learned thus far how to apply a SWOT analysis to her business.

“Today I learned more about myself and how I can apply it to my business. I learned how to use my strengths to balance my weaknesses so my business can be profitable. I am looking to get more confidence in approaching my business model as well as gain added skills to push my business forward,” she said.

The Personal and Economic Empowerment for Women Workshops will examine Personal Empowerment and will also train the twelve participants in the use of Quick Books, Microsoft Excel, Budgeting, Social Media Marketing, Branding, Packaging, Pricing, and Networking over a six-month period. (Write Right PR Services)

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