Mothers who either own or plan to establish businesses are being handed a lifeline with the launch today of a special technical assistance programme.
The Mom-preneurship programme of the community-based St George charity, Hands Extended Reaching Out, is hoping to assist at least 30 mothers with technical and financial assistance to develop viable businesses.
The three-month programme, which officially begins next week, will consist of a series of workshops, mentoring and networking session, and is being funded by the European Union and the Human Resource Development Strategy of the Ministry of Labour.
The women will receive training business development, marketing, accounting, time management and money management.
Mom-preneurship patron Senator Dr Esther Byer-Suckoo said while she welcomed the programme and believed it would be beneficial, for it to be successful the mothers would have to begin viewing their operations as businesses and not merely hobbies.
She said a number of women with a range skills, including hairdressing, farming, cosmetology, craft and mobile office services had registered for the programme.
“Our young women have to change their mindset. That has to happen; they have to see themselves now as being able to take control of their destiny. They have to be able to appreciate that they can do it. That is the first step. Unless they can get that out of the programme then it will just be more information coming in and being stored somewhere and nothing is happening with it,” Byer-Suckoo said at this morning’s launch at the Ellerton Wesleyan Holiness Church.
The minister revealed that if this programme were a success, consideration would be given to launching a second one.
The three-month programme will climax with a market day when the women will be given the opportunity to showcase their products and services. And as their businesses develop they will become qualified for grant funding.
The Barbados Investment and Development Corporation will provide some of the mentorship as well as other technical assistance.
Chief Executive Officer Sonja Trotman said there was the need for mothers to develop their skills and turn them into viable business ventures.
“It aims to empowering single mothers to be business owners, and this is a commendable initiative,” Trotman said, adding that BIDC would also be on hand to provide some level of financial assistance for those who qualified at the end of the programme.
“We are hoping that through this initiative we should be able to add 30 more businesses to our numbers . . . So we will be doing whatever is required to assisting these companies,” Trotman added.
The training and workshop sessions will take place at the St George community centre and the Ellerton Wesleyan Holiness Church, and will also see the involvement of the Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme (YES), Blue Waters Production Inc, the St George Constituency Council and the Barbados Coalition of Service Industries (BCSI).