The inaugural United Nations (UN) Women Yemanja Collaborative: Leadership and Networking Workshop for Woman Entrepreneurs is being held in Kingston from December 5 to 7.
The initiative targets women of Afro descent from the Caribbean, North and South America and Africa.
It aims to strengthen leadership capacity, empower and equip participants to scale their businesses and create meaningful jobs.
The workshop also facilitates network building and creates mentorship opportunities for entrepreneurs in the agro processing and cultural and creative industries.
Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, in her greetings at the opening ceremony, held December 5 at the ROK Hotel, downtown Kingston, welcomed the initiative.
Ms. Grange said the workshop aims to empower and advance women in business to create a framework that supports gender equality in the society.
“This training and networking workshop presents a great opportunity for us to examine the progress made in advancing gender equality and empowerment of women and girls and explore how progress can be accelerated,” the Minister said.
Representative, UN Women Multi-Country Office, Caribbean, Tonni Brodber, in her remarks said the focus on its target group is not exclusionary. Rather, it recognises the unique sociohistorical barriers that have prevented and still prevent many Afro-descendant women across the world from entrepreneurship.
“[A key] objective of the project is to contribute to enhancing the economic empowerment and resilience of women and youth in the micro, small and medium enterprises in the creative and cultural and growth industries in Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa through strengthened networks and opportunities for employability and entrepreneurship,” she said.
The participants were nominated by their national business support organisations.
The three-day event will see participants engaged in leadership skills coaching and will feature breakout sessions with a focus on coaching in business pitches, diaspora and networking opportunities in Africa and the diaspora, business development coaching, and business financing facilities.
These will be facilitated by industry experts from UN Women, the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), the University of the West Indies (UWI), and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), among other local and international stakeholders.
At the end of the workshop, participants will pitch their business plans/proposals and receive feedback from a panel of experts.
It is a joint programme between UN Women and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), which aims to promote the recognition, justice and development of Afro-descendant women, youth, and women across marginalised groups.