I can’t believe that it’s almost two months to Women’s Entrepreneurship Day already! I am delighted to be the Barbados Ambassador again this year, and happy to see that the Caribbean is well represented with 22 ambassadors, compared to just four last year! The group is ably led by Cecile Watson of Jamaica.
This year I will be focusing on growth-oriented women entrepreneurs and encouraging them to begin (or continue) exporting. The theme I’ve selected is Beyond Borders, Breaking Barriers and I’m planning an exciting event to help women go beyond our borders and break barriers to exporting. To that end, I have engaged local and international speakers to give practical advice to the women entrepreneurs who will be in attendance.
Only this week, I spoke to a business acquaintance who has just returned from Sao Paulo where she attended the International Trade Centre’s Women’s Vendors Forum, at which she met entrepreneurs from all over the world and was able to secure some business. She expressed disappointment that some of our development agencies were not represented or had not sponsored entrepreneurs to attend.
If we want to go beyond our borders, we have to get out and meet other entrepreneurs and build relationships that can lead to exchange of business. Having said that, Facebook and Twitter and other social media platforms can bring business, but nothing beats that personal contact.
Speaking of going beyond borders, I was really delighted when my friends Patty Mash and Marie Alleyne from Island Plates in Speightstown emailed to let me know that some clients, who come to Barbados every year and always come into their restaurant to eat, have invited them to Austria (and arranged to have their expenses covered) to prepare a five-course tasting menu for a group of 40, many of whom will be in the travel business.
Now, that is the kind of story I love to hear! Hopefully more of their clients will invite them to do the same and take a taste of Barbados beyond our shores, or maybe it will drive more tourists to Barbados.
I’m also looking forward to going beyond the borders myself as I’ll be visiting Belize for a week in the near future, during which I’ll be conducting workshops based on my first book What Do You Have In Your House?. Since I’ll also be speaking to university and secondary school students, I will use the opportunity to launch my upcoming book on entrepreneurship which has been written specifically with students of business and entrepreneurship in mind.
The week looks packed; but I’m very much looking forward to participating in a leadership conference organized by Danalyn Myvett of the Belize Centre For Training And Development. She has invited a group of Caribbean growth-oriented women entrepreneurs to go outside of our borders to speak at her conference themed Transforming Her Corner, Leading Her Region: Unite | Ignite | Expedite.
Another beyond the border initiative I’m excited about is a trade mission from St Lucia, that will be taking place in the first week of October. It will be led by Gasper George of their Trade Export Promotion Agency (TEPA) and they will be bringing to Barbados and the OECS, several entrepreneurs who are seeking to trade with local companies. This is very much in keeping with my passion to see Caribbean people working together to trade and to form strategic alliances to supply, not just the region, but to go beyond our Caribbean borders.
The team from St Lucia includes companies with diverse offerings of products and services, ranging from marketing and public relations to consulting, to health and wellness products, paper products and awnings, blinds and shutters. The companies are looking to find trade partners and possibly strategic alliances and joint venture partners to go beyond their borders.
Having said that, we don’t always have to leave our island to go beyond the borders. With the Internet, we can stay at home and export our products and services globally. That’s exactly what I’m doing with my books on Amazon. The latest one, What Now?, was released on August 10 and has been purchased and borrowed by people in the United States, England, the Netherlands, Australia and all over the Caribbean.
Another “stay at home and go beyond the border” initiative is a webinar that is being hosted by one of my fellow Caribbean growth-oriented entrepreneurs and leader of the WED Caribbean, A. Cecile Watson. I featured Cecile’s crowdfunding platform Pitch & Choose in one of my articles earlier this year. She was recently invited by President Obama to sit on a panel on crowdfunding and Angel Investing at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Kenya.
Cecile is offering a free webinar entitled How to win at crowdfunding to help entrepreneurs understand and utilize crowdfunding as a means of securing finance for their businesses. Entrepreneurs should go to www.eventbrite.co.uk and type in the title of the webinar to register. See you there!
These are exciting times and I am looking forward to encouraging many women entrepreneurs to go beyond the borders
and break the barriers.
(Donna Every is an author, motivational speaker and a business and personal development trainer. She is the current Barbados Ambassador for Women’s Entrepreneurship Day. She has just released her seventh book and fourth novel What Now?
Visit www.donnaevery.com and www.facebook.com/DonnaEvery1 Email firstname.lastname@example.org)