Globally, statistics show that it is harder for female entrepreneurs to secure investment for their businesses. Nevertheless, more businesswomen are joining the market than ever before, despite facing significant barriers in terms of funding.
The Guyanese government is helping address the issue of gender inequity in industry, meshing together two important administrative policies: economic independence through entrepreneurship, and gender equality. The result is a pioneering program that empowers female business leaders, providing them with the skills necessary to be successful in business.
As Guyana’s longest-serving bank, GBTI offers a variety of loans and financing packages. These provide financial options to entrepreneurs throughout Guyana.
In this article, we look at the Guyanese government’s Success in Business Workshop initiative, which builds women’s entrepreneurial skills and confidence, and GBTI’s Women of Worth program, which provides vital financial support to enable single mothers to turn their dreams into successful business enterprises.
The Government’s Success in Business Workshop Initiative
The program was implemented in 2018 as a part of the Guyanese government’s efforts to bridge the economic gap between men and women. As President Granger explained at the initiative’s launch, the task of running households fell disproportionately on women. He was determined to rectify the issue through full realization of gender equality.
As President Granger pointed out, the key to enrichment is entrepreneurship. In order for communities to grow and prosper, young people need access to training and funding that will help them establish their own enterprises. Entrepreneurship drives innovation and industry: designing, launching, and growing new businesses to meet constantly evolving consumer needs. All over the world today, this process presents disproportionate challenges to female entrepreneurs.
As Paula Fernandes explains, female business leaders face seven unique challenges: accessing funding; overcoming the fear of failure; being taken seriously; building a support network; acknowledging their achievements; maintaining work-life balance; and defying social expectations. According to research conducted by Paula Fernandes, these issues are almost always exclusive to women.
The Success in Business Workshop program was implemented by the Guyanese government. It had the specific aim of helping women overcome barriers in business. In 2018 alone, the government staged 30 separate workshops in communities throughout all 10 of Guyana’s administrative regions.
The Success in Business Workshop program is executed by the office of Guyana’s First Lady, Sandra Granger, in collaboration with Interweave Solutions and the Ministry of Social Protection. It was established to help female participants to develop their business skills, enabling them to run profitable, successful businesses.
Each workshop accommodates up to 40 participants. Events cover a variety of business skills, including the “6 Ps” of a winning business plan (Plan; Product; Process; Paperwork; Price; and Promotion). Attendees learn how to use these business plans to access crucial funding from banks and other financial institutions.
At a workshop in Sophia, Georgetown, Guyana’s First Lady explained that some participants came from abusive relationships, and were convinced that they had no skills since they failed to recognize their own strengths. Mrs. Granger underlined the importance of attendees recognizing their own skills; building business concepts around their capabilities; and leveraging those capabilities to maximum potential.
The First Lady explained that the burden of managing homes and taking care of elderly relatives often falls on women. Nevertheless, many women fail to recognize that the ability to provide care and support are in themselves valuable skills that they could use to earn money. Mrs. Granger encouraged women to explore the potential of setting up co-operative ventures, particularly those centering around child and elder care.
Global statistics published by Guidant Financial indicate that just 26 percent of businesses worldwide are female-owned. This disparity is combined with the prevalence of dependency, abuse, and poverty among women. The Success in Business Workshop program serves a key role in helping women in Guyana overcome these hurdles. It aims to provide them with the skills, information and insights they need to realize their true potential.
GBTI’s Women of Worth Program
Through the Women of Worth initiative, GBTI served as single mothers, providing them with business financing and enabling them to start their own ventures. To date, the bank has supported women establishing enterprises in a variety of different sectors. These include dressmaking; flower arranging; fabric design; poultry rearing; childcare; craft and novelty making; and hairdressing.
Operated in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Protection, GBTI’s Women of Worth program is open to female applicants who are registered with the Ministry’s Single Parent Registry. To Qualify for the Women of Worth program, applicants must present an Introductory Letter from the Ministry or a representative agency.
GBTI offers Women of Worth loans ranging from $100,000 to $250,000 in value. Interest is charged at 6 percent over a maximum repayment term of 24 months. Where an applicant is successful, the bank provides 100 percent of the required funding, without seeking any equity in the business in return.
As Guyana’s leading bank, GBTI offers a variety of financial solutions to support its commercial and private clients. GBTI prides itself in helping businesses, communities, families, and individuals across Guyana to innovate, grow, and thrive.