Thirty-two Rupununi women have successfully completed a ‘Self-Reliance and Success in Business’ workshop held at the Indigenous Peoples Conference Hall in Lethem, Region Nine, under the auspices of the Office of the First Lady.
According to a press release from the Ministry of the Presidency, the objective of the workshop was to inspire and empower ordinary Guyanese women to tap into their entrepreneurial potential and become successful business owners. It was the third of its kind to be held and lasted for five days.
The first two programmes which were held at Good Hope and in Linden each catered to 20 women. However, the release said, there was an overwhelming response from women in the Region Nine sub-districts and the number was therefore expanded to 32.
According to the release, First Lady Sandra Granger said she was pleased with the level of interest shown by the participants and assured them that this is not a one-off intervention. “We will continue to explore other ways to help you as funding becomes available because we believe that once women progress, nations progress,” she was quoted as saying.
The release said that Grace Albert, a participant from Wowetta Village, and part of a women’s group that cultivates cassava and produces byproducts including chips and cassareep, was able to map out a business plan with short, medium and long-term goals for her group, as well as for her own personal business venture, a grocery shop.
Albert said the group is looking to increase cassava production and will try to get their products on shelves in supermarkets across the country. She explained that women venturing out into businesses not only support their families, but also contribute to the maintenance of food security in her community, the release said.
It also referenced two other women who benefited: Imacuelata Casimero from Aishalton Village, who said that she gained significant insight into the preparation of a budget and importance of promoting the services and products she offers; and Wendella Rohlehr, an itinerant vendor of Brazilian cosmetic products, who plans to use the knowledge she gained at the training to expand her current operations. Her long-term goal is to open a shop.
The release said that Wayne Barrow of Interweave Solutions who facilitated the training, explained that the participants have been taught the pros and cons of developing a comprehensive business plan with which they can approach micro-financing agencies, such as the Small Business Bureau, to acquire loans to start up or expand their businesses. Prominent Lethem businesswoman Shirley Melville, who delivered the charge, called the initiative “timely” and spoke of the importance of discipline and the willingness to embrace change in order to succeed in the business environment.
The release said she reminded women: “We can do it, we are masters at budgeting…at the end of the day, regardless of status, religion or race, we all have one thing in common; that is we are all women and as women it is a great feeling to make your own money.”
The workshop was funded by the Ministry of Social Protection with support from the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs and the participants were drawn from communities such as Aranaputa, Annai, Aishalton, St Ignatius, Tiger Pond, Karasabai, Culvert City, Parishara, Wowetta, Tabatinga and Lethem, the release said.
Workshops are to be held in Regions Two, Three, Five, Six, Seven and Eight next year.