KINGSTON, Jamaica, 29 June, 2017 – Building on the success of its 2016 Acceleration Program (AP), the Women Innovators Network in the Caribbean (WINC) is launching its 2017 program.
The eight-month peer learning program which begins in November 2017 is designed to help growth-oriented women entrepreneurs innovate within their businesses, and have the self-confidence to make the necessary changes to improve their competitiveness and boost their growth. Participants will benefit from a suite of services including business and personal development, advice from innovation consulting firms, one-to-one mentoring, technical workshops and motivational sessions.
The initiative is part of the Entrepreneurship Program for Innovation in the Caribbean (EPIC), funded by the government of Canada and implemented by the World Bank’s infoDev program for innovation and entrepreneurship. It will be delivered by infoDev-trained and -certified facilitators in nine countries: Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts & Nevis, and Trinidad & Tobago.
In St. Kitts and Nevis, Women entrepreneurs will be considered for selection provided that;
- they have been running their business for at least two years,
- the business has demonstrated growth, and
- they have realistic plans for substantial future growth.
The program for St. Kitts and Nevis will support up to 12 women entrepreneurs.
According to Sophia Muradyan, coordinator for EPIC, “The unique combination of peer learning, personal development, and mentorship sets this program apart and allows our women entrepreneurs to develop themselves as well as their businesses, which is essential for them to scale and so make an even greater contribution to the economic and social development of the region.”
In 2016, 108 women entrepreneurs graduated from the WINC Acceleration Program from 12 countries in the Caribbean. Of these, 94% stated that their businesses had become more focused; 48% noted an increase in business total sales during the period; 77% indicated that they had significantly improved their marketing methods since joining the program; and 73% indicated having significantly improved their internal processes and organizational structure and management practices.
The WINC AP facilitator of the St. Kitts and Nevis program, Ms. Telly Valerie Onu, Managing Director of Quintessence Consulting Inc. expressed her pleasure on being able to host a second cohort in closer partnership with development partners such as the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis and other key stakeholders. She underscored the importance of the program to the Caribbean on a whole, stating that, according to the World Bank, in the Caribbean Labour Market, self-employed females with employees account for only 1 percent of total employment, while self-employed females without employees comprise 8 percent of total employment.
Given our current economic condition, it is a concern and has become an imperative to recognise and overcome the many barriers that hold women growth oriented entrepreneurs back (i.e. lack of access to growth financing, very limited mentoring support, and underdeveloped professional networks) and included in contributing significantly to economic wealth creation through the exercise of their universal rights to work and create through innovation and entrepreneurship.
Onu also announced that St. Kitts and Nevis Cohort delivered exceptional results in the first cohort of the program when compared to its regional counterparts. From an investment readiness lens (delivering an attractive offering for customers; opportunities for new partners and for investors), St. Kitts and Nevis delivered the highest impact followed by Grenada then Belize. From a self-efficacy perspective (high self- assurance in their capabilities to execute tasks even in adverse situations), St. Kitts and Nevis delivered the second highest score after Suriname.
Sophia Muradyan added that, the positive results of WINC’s first offering means that we are now building on a solid foundation across the region. We are extremely pleased to be able to accommodate a second cohort under the program.”
Female entrepreneurs who are committed to growing and scaling their business may apply for the WINC 2017 Acceleration Program athttps://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WINC-AP2. The call for applications closes on 31 July 2017.