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Mar 1, 2019

First ever female entrepreneurship program launched!

The Belize Trade and Investment Development Service, through support from the Regional Center of Promotion for MSME (CENPROMYPE) and funds from the U.S. State Department, launched a project called the Female Entrepreneurship Program. The program, which is a first of its kind for Belize, is designed exclusively for women to improve and strengthen their leadership and business skills. The six-month program will promote entrepreneurship education and training to women in different industries, including tourism, I.C.T. and business process outsourcing.  News Five’s Andrea Polanco was at today’s launch and tells us more.


Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Lorcia Moore is the owner of Naturally Belize Coconut Products. She makes high-quality hair and skin coconut-oil based goods. She hopes to expand her small business and export her products. But Moore knows that she needs more skills training and mentorship to get her to where she wants be.


Lorcia Moore, Participant, Female Entrepreneurship Programme

Lorcia Moore

“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.”


Lorcia Moore is one step closer to that dream today. She and seventeen other business women will be getting hands on training through the first ever female entrepreneurship programme. The Small Business Development Center, a unit of BELTRAIDE, will these women in this first of its kind six-month long programme where they will learn about business development; customer discovery; effective communication, negotiating skills, mentorship and other key areas of entrepreneurship. The aim is to empower these women so that they invest the newly acquired skills, knowledge and tools back into their businesses.


Monique Usher

Monique Usher, Acting Manager, SBDC Belize

“The focus is on training sessions. We are also having activities that will allow them to go back to the respective markets that they serve to get feedback from their customer base to validate their business model. 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.”


While these women have been in business for over a year and a half, one of the challenges they may still face is the access to capital. Minister Tracey Panton says that being enrolled in this programme may also help to provide them with the opportunity to benefit from access to capital so that they can grow their businesses.


Tracey Panton, Minister of State, Ministry of Economic Development

Tracey Panton

“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. 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.”


Andrea Polanco reporting for News Five.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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