Women entrepreneurs awarded $250k grants

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Four women entrepreneurs have been each awarded a $250,000 grant that will be used to improve the capacity of their businesses and get them on the path to formality during the course of the next fiscal year.

The awardees are Yolande Gooden-Rhoden, Kumea's Hair Perspective; Dr Charah Watson, Kihara Cosmetics; Irene Moore, Irene's Chicken & Eggs and Sherlene Mott, Richly Done Hair and Nails.

The grants, which were given under the Women's Entrepreneurship Support (WES) Project, are said to be part of a wider collaborative initiative by the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport/Bureau of Gender Affairs, the Ministry of Industry Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries and the Jamaica Business Development Corporation.

It follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on November 2, 2017, in an effort to strengthen collaboration in the development of programmes to encourage entrepreneurship among women.

Speaking at a media launch of the project at his New Kingston offices, Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Audley Shaw, said that under the MoU, both ministries sought to collectively address the challenges facing women in the Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (MSME) sector, such as access to financing, capacity building, training and securing markets.

“This MoU will ensure that there is an enabling business environment where both genders have opportunities to advance through entrepreneurial endeavours and create a framework for both parties to undertake impactful programmes by leveraging their collective resources to advance business development,” Shaw informed.

The minister said further that the ministry is aware that there are gender sensitivities in entrepreneurship, whether at the policy level or institutional level. He informed that findings from the Companies Office of Jamaica indicate that the majority of new business registrations are male owned.

“In fact, the findings revealed that during January to October 2018, approximately 62 per cent of newly registered companies were male owned while approximately 38 per cent were female owned. While this data is not sufficiently comprehensive, it supports existing observation that we need to put measures in place to encourage stronger involvement of women in mainstream entrepreneurship,” Shaw reiterated.

Meanwhile, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia Grange, said the Government is focused and committed on creating prosperity for everyone.

“What we are attempting to do is to change the narrative about work, wealth creation and productivity. No longer must we tell our children to 'get an education and find a job'. Instead, we want the new narrative to be 'get an education and create a job,” Grange added.

The ministers hailed the recipients who received the grants and encouraged them to continue maintaining high standards in their businesses, grow their businesses and create prosperity.

The project will be implemented over a three-year period. In the first phase, only four women were selected, but the numbers will be increased in the following years.

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