Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 9th 2014 Contents A36
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt March 9, 2014
the microfinance level from banks."
These World Bank findings represent a global phe-
nomenon, but the Caribbean has arguably always
been a region where females rarely face dispropor-
tionate opportunities, oppression or discrimination,
as is often the case in other parts of the developing
world. In fact, across the region, women have taken
full advantage of the educational avenues available
and many have succeeded in rising to positions of
influence. However, the proverbial glass ceiling and
other social limitations still remain a reality for many
who wish to venture into the business sector.
Despite these challenges, the number of women
involved in the business sector has dramatically
increased globally. It is thought that due to the current
global economic climate, which has left scores of
women, as well as men unemployed, there has arisen
a greater impetus for women to enter into entrepre-
neurial roles. According to studies conducted by the
Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, particularly in less-
er-developed countries "when it comes to entrepre-
neurship, males tend to cite opportunity as their
main motivator, while women more often start or
maintain businesses out of necessity ." The study
cited that there are 187 million registered women-
owned and operated businesses worldwide.
Consequently, Caribbean Export has witnessed a
rise in the number of female participants across
several of its activities delivered under the 10th Euro-
pean Development Fund (EDF). Women have not
only become progressively more involved, but now
account for a significant fraction of overall partic-
ipation. These women are involved in a wide range
of sectors from agro-processing to specialised tourism.
Collectively and individually, these women encapsulate
the qualities of creativity, intelligence, tenacity,
dynamism and the courage that it takes to enter and
survive in the business world, a world that is ordinarily
dominated by men.
"Caribbean women have something very unique
to contribute to the regional and global markets,"
Pamela Coke-Hamilton, the executive director of
Caribbean Export remarked. "They have been afforded
quality educational opportunities which, coupled
with the well-rounded perspective that comes from
living in a regional village, has made them naturally
inclined to think outside of conventional parameters."
Ms Coke-Hamilton said, "At Caribbean Export,
we have seen remarkable advancement in the status
of women within the private sector which makes me
proud as a woman. Women are not just running
businesses: they are pioneering ecologically-conscious,
sustainable industries in a host of sectors that are
constantly looking forward; constantly innovating.
The Caribbean businesswoman is no longer trying
to survive, she is trying to fashion a stronger future
for the region."
But with all that is being said, does this represent
a paradigm shift in the professional focus of females
in the region?
Caribbean Export has seen an increased involvement
of women in burgeoning industries such as specialised
tourism and renewable energy. Another sector, renew-
able energy, has become a priority in many Caribbean
territories, following initiatives taken by developed
nations. As a result, the sector attracts a great deal
of investment and support from foreign and regional
entities alike, and has been pegged as a major growth
industry by organisations such as the European Union
(EU), Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), and
the Organization of American States (OAS).
In 2013, Caribbean Export awarded funding to 54
women through the EU-funded Direct Assistance
Grant Scheme (DAGS). These beneficiaries were from
the agro-processing and manufacturing sectors, which
accounted collectively for 51 per cent of the female
beneficiaries. This substantial fraction
alludes to a much greater female
involvement in traditionally male-dom-
inated areas than might have previously
These women are not only driving
this industry into a new age with inno-
vative products and methodologies,
but, they are also harvesting the
resources to position themselves as
viable global competitors, with support
from Caribbean Export.
A new generation of Caribbean
female entrepreneurs has emerged who
are an essential component of the future
of the regions private sector, a future
that is symbolised by growth, innova-
tion and competitiveness.
Caribbean women have
something very unique to contribute
Continues from Page A34
Pamela Coke-Hamilton, executive
director of Caribbean Export.
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