Last Friday, the Guyana Foundation took its work to the town of Linden, where it conducted an entrepreneurship training workshop for a group of female business owners. This highly interactive and engaging program was held in the Boardroom of the Region 10 RDC Building. It was conducted by one of the Foundation’s Trustees, Mr. Eric Phillips, who is a business consultant, a lecturer at the University of Guyana, and a 1990-1991 White House Fellow.
The workshop was developed in response to a request from local social worker, Kayana Amos, who contacted the Foundation while conducting a research study in Linden for a Master’s degree program she is pursuing. She shared her observation that many female entrepreneurs in the town were having difficulty growing and sustaining their small businesses, and asked the Foundation to assist. Because women’s empowerment is one of the program goals of the Foundation, and in recognition of the important role of female entrepreneurs, the Foundation immediately began developing a program to provide these individuals with training, and practical skills that they can implement.
The participants of the workshop included food caterers, shopkeepers, a craftsperson, boutique owner, and even a taxi driver. During the program, they were encouraged to network with other businesses in Linden, to build relationships among themselves, and to think strategically and creatively in developing their businesses. They were provided with information about common mistakes to avoid, best practices, and also had the chance to ask specific questions about scaling up their businesses.
At the completion of the program, the participants were able to organize themselves as a group, and will be formally registering as an NGO over the upcoming week. An interim management committee has already been identified that would guide the group’s activities as it seeks to continue building the capacity of women entrepreneurs in Linden, while also conducting projects to help transform their community.
Regional Chairman of Region 10, Mr. Sharma Solomon, spoke to the participants, and offered his support and encouragement.
Meanwhile, Managing Director of the Foundation, Mr. Anthony Autar, explained that this was the first project that the Foundation has conducted in Linden. “We are delighted that we were able to assist this group of women, and to provide them with the encouragement and skills they need to keep moving forward with their businesses. Women play such an important role in sustaining local communities, so we hope that the participants in this workshop will be a part of efforts to bring improvement and transformation to Linden. The Foundation will continue to support and empower these, and other groups of ladies, and will be returning to the town shortly to conduct other programs.”