Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 3rd 2015 Contents You really don t know
what to expect when you
put a dozen-plus
in one room for a week.
But when 15 entrepreneurs from 12
Caribbean countries came together in Port-
of-Spain in April to share experiences and
build strategies for future collaboration, it just
felt like the start of something good.
Besides their Caribbean heritage and passion
for productivity, these go-getters---all women---
had something else in common. Each had
been competitively selected to take part in the
first-ever facilitators training for the Women s
Innovation Network of the Caribbean (WINC)
programme, a World Bank project funded via
the Canada Development Bank that specifically
supports woman entrepreneurs in the region.
In WINC s one-week workshop, from April
20-24, they would learn how to run a course
targeted at other goal-oriented women in their
home territory. Up to 10 of the 15 would receive
funding to run the course for one year. For
Nerissa Golden, though, the big win wasn t
in the funding but the friendships.
"What has been incredible is the opportunity
to connect with other women who share this
same passion for entrepreneurship and
empowering others to launch and grow a busi-
ness," she said.
Goldenmedia, the company that she started
12 years ago, is a small business rooted primarily
in the cultural and technology industries, and
specialising in publicity and multimedia content
creation for brands and entrepreneurs.
"The other ladies and I decided even before
arriving in Port-of-Spain that the greater gift
was in having this new connection and aware-
ness that we weren t alone in our desire to
serve our communities with business growth
programmes. We re already exploring ways
that we can work together to help each other
achieve our business goals long after the project
funding runs out. Each woman is a professional
in various disciplines and so the opportunity
to learn from them has been quite a gift. We ve
all been strengthened by being able to connect
and find common ground on which we want
to build future collaborations."
WINC is part of the Entrepreneurship Pro-
gram for Innovation in the Caribbean (EPIC),
which is being implemented by infoDev, a
global multidonor programme in the Trade
and Competitiveness Global Practice of the
World Bank Group, with support from Cana-
da s Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development
The programme is being implemented across
the region by Enterprise Hub a T&T-based
company specialising in providing support
services to a wide range of start-ups and estab-
Enterprise Hub founder and lead consultant
Ashley Mitchell, himself an entrepreneur, said
that "intermediary agencies," such as the World
Bank s infoDev, can be a significant source of
financial support for budding businesses.
Beyond simply acting as a bridge to start-
up financing, Enterprise Hub works alongside
the business owners to open their eyes to fresh
opportunity, enhance their ability for innovation
and increase their tolerance for risk-taking.
Encouraging people to take initiative and chal-
lenge received wisdom---even within the con-
straints of a full-time job---is crucial to unlock-
ing the region s entrepreneurial potential,
"Our young people have been conditioned
and shepherded over time to simply get on a
track of academic pursuit. There s nothing
wrong with that but it s not for everyone.
Some of our Caribbean people are very willing
to take entrepreneurial risks but that ability
is not being harnessed in a constructive way
by our formal education systems."
Entrepreneurship, says Mitchell, is a mindset.
And you can act entrepreneurially even without
ever leaving your job, he said.
But local entrepreneurship, Golden under-
scored, should not depend on foreign agencies
or even national governments.
"Entrepreneurship is still one of the sexy
topics for governments and international donor
agencies. However, we have to see it not as
a hot topic but essential to how every nation
is going to grow its economy."
More cohesion is needed in how programs
are implemented across the Caribbean, as
many have the similar goals but resources are
not used efficiently, she said.
"I would like to see more entrepreneurs
being given the capacity to unleash their ideas
by having the financial support they need, the
theoretical knowledge and the access to mar-
kets. Bottom line is entrepreneurship challenges
won t be solved by governments, only entre-
preneurs can do that," she said.
A life's work
Golden participated in the Grow Your Busi-
ness boot camp, another WINC project, in
2013 and 2014, and before that had been work-
ing with entrepreneurs for more than 10 years,
"My vision is to create opportunities for
the Caribbean to grow and an important way
to do this is through the media. Most of what
will generate revenue and transform our nations
are the ideas inside of us waiting to be
unleashed. I like being a part of providing the
platforms as well as guiding how these mes-
sages can connect with the people ready to
She said she saw WINC as a way to continue
with her life s work.
"Much of the work I do is centered around
job creation and empowerment, so this is an
extension of that. I began hosting my own
entrepreneurship conferences in 2006 simply
because I realised other people had the same
need as I did to learn about starting a busi-
The latest WINC initiative, co-ordinated
by the Enterprise Hub, covered eight subject
areas including marketing, technology, net-
working and financial management, giving
Golden and others rich resource from which
to draw for future growth.
"I am looking forward to first implementing
the new ideas I learned or were reinforced this
week to help my company continue along a
growth path, then it will be extended out to
Montserrat and neighbouring islands," she
SUNDAY BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt MAY 3 • 2015
Women at work
Birthing new Caribbean entrepreneurs
Fifteen Caribbean woman
entrepreneurs taking part in
the first-ever facilitators
training for the Women's
Innovation Network of the
Caribbean (WINC) programme,
a World Bank project funded
via the Canada Development
Bank and co-ordinated by the
Enterprise Hub, at the Kapok
Hotel on April 21.
Front row: Nerissa Golden
(Montserrat), left, Simmone
Bowe (The Bahamas), Donna
Every (Barbados), Barbara
Innocent-Charles (St Lucia),
Cecile Watson (Jamaica), Jenni
Headlam (Jamaica), Sandra
Baptist (Antigua & Barbuda),
Glenda Joseph-Dennis (T&),
Aine Brathwaite (Grenada).
Back row: Telojo Onu (St Kitts
& Nevis), left, Reina Kolf
(Suriname), Danalyn Myvette
(Belize), Virginia Riviere
(Dominica), Georgina Terry
(T&T), Valrie Grant (Guyana),
and Ashley Mitchell (Head of
The Enterprise Hub, T&T).
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