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May 2, 2018

Entrepreneurs Share Success Stories

All month long, there will be a series of activities and events to highlight national competitiveness month.  The activities kicked off today with a roundtable discussion on export within CARICOM.  Later this month, there will be a workshop on the business of music, career fairs and job preparedness trainings, as well as the launch of BELTRAIDE’s very own client assistance mobile app. Today, BELTRAIDE also launched the first National Female Business Ambassador, thereby encouraging more women into high-growth exporting business areas. We spoke with BELTRAIDE’s Lejia Melanie Gideon, as well as the new business ambassador.

 

Lejia Melanie Gideon

Lejia Melanie Gideon, General Manager, BELTRAIDE

“The month is about celebrating competitiveness at three levels; the firm level – the company level; labour because labour is critical – it must understand that it has the skill set that the firm is asking for and it is continuous improvement at the labour level. So you are always getting trained – whether the firm is training you or whether you are taking the initiative to improve yours skill set. And at the Government level – because what is the use of having a competitive firm, competitive labour and every time you interact with Government, Government slows you down thereby decreasing your competitiveness. The reason as well, competitiveness is not an external thing. It is not outside of Belize. Competitiveness is where if I have a product that sits on a shelf; my competitor literally sits next to me. So competitiveness is knowing that I don’t have to be an exporter to be able to improve my competitiveness. From the time you are a microenterprise, this is something you supposed to be thinking about systematically improving.   Market changes, so you are continuously assessing the market and adjusting. So, that is why we have decided at BELTRAIDE, with twelve other partners of both Government and Private Sector to be able to have twelve activities this month. Today will also be the official launch of the female business ambassador. The whole premise behind that is simple. We have very few female business owners who are in high growth potential companies. So the premise behind selecting an ambassador for the first time this year is to make females more comfortable getting into businesses that have the potential to export. Everybody knows about Marie Sharp. But there should be more Marie Sharps. This year we have selected a female business ambassador. Her name is Laura Raymond. She is owner of Amarabi seasoning and she is one of the first clients of SBDC six years ago. So, it is a classic example of us working with her, improving her capacity and then her entrepreneurial spirit; taking it to a level that we supported.”

 

Laura Raymond

Laura Raymond, Owner, Amarabi Seasonings & Marinades

“The experience has been great. The support from BELTRAIDE and SBDC has been wonderful. I have been a client of their since I had Amarabi in coffee bottles. They have provided me guidance from moving the product from prototype to product development; the guidelines how to register business; improve presentation; ongoing trainings. For me, it is a privilege to have been selected as the Ambassador. My dream is to help other women in helping them to develop their products and just talking to them about the experience. To me the most important thing you need to have is that you need to be bold, you need to be determined and you really need to have a passion for what you are doing.”

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