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Caribbean Export is now taking applications from Caribbean women-owned businesses to participate in their newest programme: Women Empowered through Export or WE-Xport.

At the Hilton Barbados Resort, Caribbean Export in cooperation with the European Union announced the commencement of the WE-Xport programme which aims to support Caribbean women in business to grow their businesses through assisting in their development to either start exporting or increase their exports, namely to the European Union, utilising the benefits of the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement.

EU Ambassador, Daniela Tramacere said: “The European Union is therefore pleased to provide financial support to Caribbean Export’s efforts to assist the growth and development of female-owned firms in the Caribbean to increase their competitiveness in the local, regional and international markets”.

Pamela Coke-Hamilton, Executive Director at Caribbean Export encouraged the regions female entrepreneurs to take full advantage of the WE-Xport programme and the opportunity to grow their businesses, connect with others and make their mark in our region, “we know you have the potential to do great things with your companies and with the right mix of support we aim to provide”.

WE-Xport is said to address women-owned businesses access to finance through the provision of workshops and technical assistance in partnership with the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).  “We recognise that access to finance is an obstacle too many women owned MSME in our Region face and therefore ensuring access to finance and business advisory services is essential to unlock the economic potential of the region” said Monica La Bennett, Vice President of Operations (CDB).  The programme will have an intensive business coaching programme to build the participants capacity and also increase their access to export markets and networks.

 

Further, an MOU was signed between Caribbean Export and UN Women as their commitment to work together in raising awareness around many of the challenges women face in conducting business and to advocate on their behalf to address these constraints and drive greater change and inclusion in our regional economies. Representative from UN Women, Alison McLean shared that the economic empowerment of woman is one of the mail of objectives of UN Women and they have developed the “women empowerment principles which offer practical guidance to the private sector on how to empower women in the work place, market place and communities”.

 

Senator, the Hon. Maxine McClean highlighted that many women operated “lifestyle businesses” often as a means to supplement income and was therefore pleased that the WE-Xport programme provides an opportunity to empower female entrepreneurs to move outside of their limitations.

The WE-Xport programme is open to businesses from CARIFORUM States that are at least 51% owned by a woman or women and has been in operation for at least two years.  Full details of the eligibility criteria can be found on the Agency’s website.