Local female entrepreneurs excited over participation in AWE programme

1. (From left) Janeal Williams, Ebony Richardson and Azara Lavia are just a few of the female entrepreneurs taking part in the programme
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Dozens of local female entrepreneurs are looking forward to take advantage of a programme designed to provide the necessary skills and training needed to grow their businesses.

The US State Department’s-sponsored Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) programme, which was launched last Friday, seeks to promote prosperity by creating opportunities for women with business ideas to become successful entrepreneurs.

The programme is spearhead by Jans’s Empowerment Institute, which is partnering with the US Embassy for Barbados and the Eastern for the second time.

Observer media spoke with three entrepreneurs about their expectations for the programme.

Ebony Richardson, the owner of a creative body casting business, mentioned that she is looking forward to building a bigger entrepreneurial network and also gaining “guidance, tips, knowledge or skills that I can use to apply to my business, especially in the areas of marketing and branding”.

Baker and cook, Janeal Williams revealed that her interest was piqued upon realising that she needed to garner more skills and understanding in managing the finances of her business.

“I decided to just take advantage of it. I mean it is free, so after I saw this ad, I said well, this looks kind of interesting, so I said I would give it a shot. At the end of the programme, I hope that I will be able to manage my business properly, set things in place so that it can become even bigger and better than what I am putting out now,” Williams said.

Meanwhile, Azara Lavia, owner of Eloquent Advertising Agency said she’s “elated to be a part of the programme”.

“This is the first time I have been a part of such a workshop. I am here today because I want to learn the necessary tools and the guidelines of a business and how to become a successful and brilliant entrepreneur in today’s world.

“The voice over business is not new within Antigua and Barbuda, but it is not necessarily a business that’s well looked into or highly recognised by the business community, so my aim is to bring some more attention or knowledge to the area of voice over,” she explained.

While speaking at the launch, Janese Henderson — the Founder and Executive Director of Jan’s Empowerment Institute — provided more details about the programme.

“AWE provides women entrepreneurs with the skills and resources and the networks needed to start and to scale your businesses. Now, we had the opportunity to launch this program last year and the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) programme Antigua and Barbuda is a free blended learning programme for aspiring and current female entrepreneurs. The goal of the programme is to promote, strengthen and grow entrepreneurship locally by supporting the growth of women entrepreneurs.

“Specifically, for this programme here in Antigua and Barbuda, we aim to increase the number of women-owned businesses locally by equipping women with the knowledge, with the skills they need to turn their idea into a viable business,” she explained.

Henderson added that success in the sessions will depend on the input of each participant.

Twenty-two females completed the programme in 2021 and this year it has expanded to include two separate groups.

The live sessions will run from August to September for the first set, while sessions will begin in January for the second set.

There will be live training sessions each week with 13 courses. There will also be a face-to face rap session and a mentorship section as well.

As of 2018, this programme is available in over 65 countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa and other territories.

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