2 minutes reading time (493 words)

Small Business Making Big Waves

Meet Dionne, Marilyn, and Nakeisha, just a few of the small business owners making big waves in Barbados. These three entrepreneurs recently graduated from the Personal and Economic Empowerment for Women (PEEW) program offered through our partner Pinelands Creative Workshop (PCW). Building on its overall mission, Pinelands created this intensive workshop to help empower women and alleviate the negative impacts of Covid on the economy.

As the fallout from Covid closures and restrictions began to unfold on the tourist driven island of Barbados, many households began to feel the full effects of the growing economic crisis through job loss and decreased wages. Many women in charge of running their households and paying the bills found themselves scrambling as family incomes diminished. 

Some women, like Marilyn, began relying on side 'hustles' to make ends meet. It was a means to make a little extra money to help with bills. Maybe cutting hair, selling jewelry, making food, but they never saw it as a 'business'. Certainly not something to sustain their families full time. But Pinelands said, why not!? If these women can rely on these alternative businesses now, why not make them permanent?

Soon, word spread that Pinelands was offering a 12 week program to help new entrepreneurs transform their ideas into sustainable, viable businesses able to support their families and add to the redevelopment of the country. Pinelands tapped the knowledge of accountants, lawyers, and other business professionals to provide a well rounded business class aimed at building on skills the students already possessed as well as introducing new ones needed to run a successful business.

Nearly all the participants found one or more areas where they learned something new, but simply coming together to share ideas, questions, and solutions was the biggest take away of the class. Dionne learned a lot about dealing with a business and how other entrepreneurs solve problems. Networking among her peers gave new perspective and sparked ideas of development.

Nakeisha almost lost her business during the pandemic. The PEEW program helped her revamp her thought process involved with business development and is opening doors she didn't know was possible. She agreed that meeting other female entrepreneurs was enlightening, but she got the most of the Think Tank presented by Rodney Grant, founder and previous CEO of PCW.

Rodney makes us think outside the box and promotes self confidence. We always doubt ourselves with the choices and decisions we make and even over our ideas. But for Rodney, no idea is a bad idea.

Nakeisha Layne, Owner of Jam Glow
Sophia Greaves-Broomes is the current CEO of PCW and behind the push to bring this opportunity to their community. She reminded the recent graduates that now is the time to capitalize on the changing business environment. Women are an integral part of Barbados' economic development, and with the transferable skills learned through the PEEW program, hopefully these motivated entrepreneurs will continue to grow their businesses. 
Featured Volunteer: Alexander Reichmann
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