By A. Bacchus
A pertinent conversation today, globally, is on the opportunity for women to have a seat at the table—in all things. With the oil and gas industry in Guyana, that conversation is now closely embedded in that of local content. Where are the opportunities for women and women-led businesses in this industry? The answer is, everywhere.
Over the last few weeks, I have been in discussions with women from most local industries, who are either working for or providing services to the petroleum sector. During my talks with these women, there was one common factor in their oil and gas journey that stood out—the Centre for Local Business Development. The importance of capacity-building and meeting the requirements of the oil and gas sector continues to be underscored, and they all spoke highly of the Centre and the role it would have played in their success. Now, the Centre—which is being funded by ExxonMobil’s Greater Guyana Initiative—is offering the opportunity for more women to develop and enhance their businesses through the ‘Accelerate-Her’ Programme, and this opportunity is not just for women in oil and gas.
Communications Specialist at the Centre, Ms. Nicola Balram explained that the programme provides a platform for Guyanese women to access business acceleration workshops and professional mentoring to grow their businesses. “It targets local women owners, operators, and managers, to help build the leadership and business skills of women entrepreneurs in Guyana and help them grow companies across a wide variety of industries and sectors,” she said. ‘Accelerate-Her’, she noted, is geared towards those businesses outside of the direct oil and gas supply chain. “It therefore means that it is open to all sectors that may indirectly support the supply chain. This includes construction, cosmetology, logistics, food and manufacturing, tourism, transport, craft and more,” Ms. Balram explained.
Applications are now open and will close on April 8. The programme will run for four months, starting in May. It will include a three-day boot camp which is focused on developing the business model canvas for each business. There are also tailored weekly workshops, which have a two-hour duration, that are focused on marketing, pitch development and customer segmentation. Ms. Balram also noted that participants will benefit from one-on-one business advisory services in supply chain management, financial management, or human resource management; mentoring from a volunteer mentor; pitch development, as well as a strong and supportive peer-learning environment. There will also be a mini exposition where they will be able to share their improved business models with the business community.
This programme was introduced last year with 35 participants in the inaugural ‘Accelerate-Her’. According to the Centre’s Communication Specialist, “The Centre’s key role is to build capacity for local Guyanese businesses in all economic sectors. This programme places a great emphasis on the role of women in business and programming that specifically targets building on the skills they need to make their businesses grow. Research shows that women-led and managed businesses tend to generate broader social and economic benefits for their communities and future generations, and we are here to support that.” Interested persons can apply by following this link.