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May 15, 2019

UNICOMER Belize’s First Broadening Horizons Graduating Class

The first cohort of UNICOMER’s Broadening Horizons program received certificates today for successfully completing six weeks of business skills training. Broadening Horizons is an entrepreneurship program that seeks to help businesses achieve sustainable growth; strengthen competitiveness; improve delivery of customer experience, boost their market viability and refine financial processes. The participants are business owners from across the country who completed a number of short courses through the Small Business Development Center of BELTRAIDE. We stopped in at today’s graduation ceremony. Here’s the story.


Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Fifteen entrepreneurs graduated from UNICOMER’s Broadening Horizons program this morning in Belize City. The participants, who are owners of micro, small and medium enterprises, completed six weeks of intense business skills training through BELTRAIDE’s Small Business Development Center. UNICOMER’s PR Officer Grisel Carballo says the program will help these entrepreneurs to do more with their businesses.


Grisel Carballo

Grisel Carballo, PR Officer, Unicomer Belize

“Every week they learned a different course, so they learned from basic startup essentials for a business; marketing; financial statements; taxation – everything they need to know to be well equipped to run a business. Today what we are doing is to celebrate them and we are giving them their certification. So, moving forward they can run their business successfully.”


Leeannah Dawson is the owner of Blue 92 Fashion Jewelry and Crafts. She says that the immersive program introduced her to technology that small business owners can use to refine their financial processes.


Leeannah Dawson

Leeannah Dawson, Graduate, Broadening Horizons

“I got to interact with different business owners who have a lot more experience than I do. So, they got to teach me about their experience of owning a business.The course was very informative because it taught me about different practices that I didn’t know about – about trade license, accounting, and basically paying yourself.”


Andrea Polanco

“Since doing this course, have you seen more opportunities where you can grow?”


Leeannah Dawson

“I do see opportunities where I can grow. With the course it allows you to be able to think more like a business owner and even as a small business owner you are able to see potential in your business growing.”


Andrea Polanco

“Anything new or different you learnt about that you didn’t know before?”


Leeannah Dawson

“Yes.  A lot – accounting. I didn’t know a lot about that and they showed you the different technologies and apps that are out there.”


Yessi’s Cuisine and Catering is a small food business in Orange Walk. Thanks to this course, owner Yessenia Guerra has new ideas of how to protect her creations and expand her business:


Yessenia Guerra, Graduate, Broadening Horizons

“I can better off my business and see a brighter future from here to five years. They taught me a lot of the basics like how to do my own budgeting, pricing, and marketing and stuff like that. So, I am very grateful to them to have referred me to take this training.”


Andrea Polanco

“Is there anything you learnt during this course that you didn’t know before that’s going to help you with your business?”


Yessenia Guerra

Yessenia Guerra

“Trademark – that is one of the topics that we touched on and also to patent. So, I am looking forward to have something to patent in the future. I make my own recipes and being a caterer I do a lot of my own menus and so in the future I might look to have something patented and go in to processing.”


The initiative is a part of UNICOMER’s corporate social responsibility. Carballo says that the programme aims to strengthen these SMEs in all aspects of entrepreneurship so that they can contribute more to the economy.


Grisel Carballo

“Many of our young entrepreneurs that we have or our start-up entrepreneurs are that we open business and three years down the road we shut down. The reason why is that most of us don’t have the basic knowledge, don’t know the dos and don’t’s, can’t get opportunities and can’t find ways to seek help when they have challenges. So, starting with this moving forward they have learnt a lot. They have grown and know what it is to trademark and patent their businesses and so forth. So, given the fact that they are strengthening their business, they will grow not only local but international. So, these are opportunities that we look for as a company investing – that they be successful as Belizean entrepreneurs and eventually opening bigger businesses, hopefully hiring more Belizeans. So, that is our aim.”


Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

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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