US support for ‘women-led’ businesses in the Caribbean
Caribbean women entrepreneurs network launched with US backing
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Thursday, April 12, 2012 – Twenty-two leading women entrepreneurs from 10 Caribbean countries came together to launch The Caribbean Women Entrepreneurs Network at the close of the recently concluded Caribbean Women Entrepreneurs Forum in Washington, DC in the United States.
The Forum arose from the Global Women’s Issues Initiative led by US Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton and the recent two-day gathering was staged by the US State Department’s Global Women’s Issues Division.
The goal of the Caribbean Women Entrepreneurs Network mission is to strengthen the voice, visibility and viability of women-led businesses in the Caribbean through advocacy, training, networking, identifying and sharing best practices and the procurement of funds to support the entrepreneurship development of its members.
At the forum, the women entrepreneurs were connected to the various tools and resources available to the Caribbean by the United States to support women in business. Presentations were made by World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, InfoDEV, International Finance Corporation, Weconnect International and the US Department of State. Additionally, several business women organizations also explained how they functioned to support their members.
At the end of the forum, a representative from each attending Caribbean nation was selected, in addition to an executive, which now leads and coordinates the activities of WEN Caribbean throughout the region. The executive leadership is Agnes Francis, CEO of Accela Marketing; Yaneek Page, CEO of Futures International; Ingrid Riley, CEO of Connectimass; Nicole Chin, CEO of Ms Brafit and Ethnie Miller-Simpson, CEO of Branz Avenue.
Their immediate work is to finalise the structure of the network, recruit new members from the various Caribbean nations and sensitize public and private sector agencies as well as launching the organization’s website at wencaribbean.org.