The Women’s Entrepreneurship Project
This project originally started in January 2011 with the financial support from Exxon Mobil and the personal support from a Canadian intern, through the International Youth Internship Program from The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). Amanda Armstrong, a graduate of the Richard Ivey School of Business from the University of Western was the first CIDA intern working on the Women’s Entrepreneurship Project. Amanda’s specialization and PASSION for entrepreneurship contributed to the success of developing and implementing this amazing project. If you are interested in inspiring entrepreneurship you should really check out her blog http://www.amandasaraha.blogspot.com/ , she is an amazing, motivating and passionate woman who is responsible for the successful launch of the project.
The project was originally aimed to equip 50 female entrepreneurs with the knowledge, skills and support to develop sustainable businesses in region 4 of Guyana. Through various workshops, networking events, monthly meetings and conferences, recruitment to the project has risen to over 65 female entrepreneurs.
Some workshops conducted included:
- The Business Plan: assisted the women with their written business plans (a requirement for obtaining a loan).
- Record Keeping & Accounts: covered the value of record keeping, types of records to be kept for a small business, accounts for tax purposes and financial reporting, budgeting, and examples of different record keeping books.
- Marketing: covered basic marketing principals and assisted the participants to develop their own marketing strategy for their business.
The women entrepreneurs, a part from these meetings, workshops and networking events, have benefitted from the support of one another and the fostering of entrepreneurship in Guyana. Many of the women work together as partners, support and promote each other’s business and learn from each other.
WENET : WOMEN”S ENTREPRENEURSHIP NETWORK
The support group is where all the women who are part of the project can come together get ideas and advice while discussing their challenges. This network is the core of the entire project; women use one another as mentors and strengthen the group through increased participation levels while attracting new members.
The second Wednesday of every month is WENETs support meeting; a committee, consisting of 6 of the entrepreneurs run and support these meetings.
Committee positions for the female entrepreneurs are:
- 2 Co- Chairs
- Communication Officer
- Finance Officer
- Events Officer
- Partnership Officer
These meetings are where all the creative juices flow; many of the women in the group gain encouragement from their peers and obtain business advice. The mentorship aspect of these meetings between the women plays an important role in the success of the female entrepreneurs, their businesses and WENET.
Women Entrepreneurs & Their Businesses
In May 2011 when the project was implemented there were a total of 52 members, since then there have been 18 new female entrepreneurs join the program! All of these women have remarkable businesses all ranging from different stages of development.
The Businesses apart of WENET Include:
- Cake Decorating Business
- Salon (Hair, Manicures, Pedicures)
- Day Care/Babysitting
- Retail Store/ Boutique ( Clothes, Shoes, Wedding Dresses, Accessories)
- Edible Arrangements
- Mobile Confectionary Stand (toys,snacks,poultary,food)
- Fashion Design
- Recording Studio
- Grocery & Variety Stores
- Food Vending
- Animal Care
With such a diverse group of business and amazing women I am excited to be a part of the amazing network the WENET has created. Currently, I am working on visiting all the women and their businesses. I am learning about their business, their goals for their business and creating a support for their business ideas. I have spent the past 3 weeks being a part of this amazing program and have met the most inspiring and influential women entrepreneurs. I cannot express how excited I am to spend the next 6 months supporting them individually and as a network of successful female entrepreneurs!