Sixty-three Guyanese women entrepreneurs will soon commence training through the ‘Accelerate-Her’ and the ‘Cherie Blair Foundation for Women – Road to Growth’ programmes, which are geared towards building the capacity and marketability of women-led businesses in Guyana.
The Cherie Blair Foundation programme is being funded by the ExxonMobil Foundation while the Accelerate-Her program is being funded under the ‘Greater Guyana Initiative’, a project of ExxonMobil Guyana and co-venturers, Hess and CNOOC and they are being facilitated by the Centre for Local Business Development. Both programmes are available free of cost to the participants.
Director of the Centre, Dr. Natasha Gaskin- Peters, in an interview with OilNOW, said that the first phase of the Accelerate-Her programme, which targets 35 women, will commence on September 17 and run until September 19, 2021. Following this activity, which will take the form of a boot camp, the formal training will start on October 3, 2021.
Dr. Gaskin-Peters said that she is pleased with the response the programmes have gotten since the Centre launched calls for applications on July 15, 2021. While the Centre wanted to initially attract 50 candidates for the programmes, she noted that it received almost twice that number of applications and as such, increased its intake to accommodate 63 women.
“The response has been great. We had set out to get 50 applicants for both programmes cumulatively and we’ve ended up with almost double. With over 90 applications by our deadline, we can appreciate the appetite that women entrepreneurs possess to grow their business; an appetite that will most definitely be fostered and channeled towards success by these programmes. Of the applicants, 35 were shortlisted for the Centre’s Accelerate-Her programme, while 28 were shortlisted for the Road to Growth programme,” she noted.
The Director said that upon the completion of the programmes, the Centre will conduct a gap assessment to establish the businesses’ baseline in areas of financial management, human resource management, quality management, and Health, Safety, Security and Environment (HSSE), among others. This gap assessment will inform what coaching, mentoring and additional training the female owners of the businesses will further receive.
Additionally, the Centre will track Key Project Indictors (KIPs) using a cohort management system to monitor the businesses’ progress over the short, medium and long-terms.
“These programmes really target local women owners, operators, and managers, Accelerate-Her builds the leadership and business skills of women entrepreneurs in Guyana to help them grow companies across a wide variety of industries and sectors,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Cherie Blair Foundation’s ‘Road to Growth’ initiative, the Director said, is a highly successful seven-week programme that is geared towards taking women entrepreneurs to the next level. It combines in-classroom training as well as the online training which has been specially developed by the Foundation. Women in several countries across the globe, including Nigeria, Kenya, Mexico, and Indonesia as well as Vietnam are already benefitting.
These programmes complement the ‘HerVenture’ mobile application, which was launched in Guyana on September 14, 2021, through a collaborative effort among the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, ExxonMobil Foundation and ActionINVEST Caribbean Incorporated (ACI).
The mobile learning app was developed specifically for women who own micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in low and middle-income countries. With support from ExxonMobil Guyana, the app is being made available free of cost to women all across the country so that they can grow their businesses.
It features nine learning tracks on a range of topics, including how to launch a business; accessing finance; expanding market access and e-commerce. The app also generates a personalised learning journey for each entrepreneur based on their individual business needs. It can also be used offline.