The Business Modelling and Applied Management Techniques for Female Operators of MSMEs will seek to assist attendees in creating more efficient and competitive businesses. (A. Miller/BGIS)

Dozens of female entrepreneurs will soon have a new range of skills to assist them in operating more efficient and competitive businesses, thanks to the Business Modelling and Applied Management Techniques for Female Operators of MSMEs workshops, which began today.

The event, which is being held at the Accra Beach Hotel, was coordinated by the Small Business Development Unit of the Ministry of Industry, Small Business and Rural Development and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).??

During his address, Industry Minister, Denis Kellman, observed that women "are the builders and moulders of a nation’s destiny.?? I dare to add that the position and status of women in any society is an index of its level of civilisation and its development progress. It is, therefore, regrettable to note that here in Barbados, some 46 years after independence, the development of women’s entrepreneurship has not kept pace with other areas of development," he lamented.

Noting that the Ministry acknowledged the need to inspire entrepreneurship among this demographic, Mr. Kellman observed that a "revisiting and retooling of our operational skill sets" was crucial for any enterprise.??

He added that the four-day event was specially designed for the participants, explaining that "the Business Modelling and Applied Management Techniques to which you will be exposed over the next four days, are informed by the development of an interactive computer model using both PowerPoint and Excel technologies.?? Basically, the model will simulate how the female entrepreneur in any given business endeavour will be required to set up their respective enterprises.

"The model will also give you a pictorial sense of how the core values of your business can grow out according to market expectations; and more importantly, give singular focus to your market position…

In other words, this tool forecasts the possible benefits, opportunities and consequences of any action proposed before it is actually executed," he said.

The Industry Minister remarked, however, that even with these tools in place, business owners needed to be prepared for failure, and to see it as an opportunity, and not a negative. He advised that "while micro and small business enterprises must be allowed to grow, and in some cases to fail, too many entrepreneurs have in the past misunderstood the basic elements of moving the business idea from conceptualisation to effective execution…

"Success is seldom built on success, but in many respects, on failure, adversity, frustration, and even catastrophe. Challenge, no matter how severe, must always be considered a stepping-stone and never the inevitable pathway to failure," Mr. Kellman declared.

Division Chief (Ag), Technical Cooperation Division of the CDB, Clairvair Squires, reminded attendees that the application of what was learnt was essential, if they were to translate the knowledge into benefits and stressed the importance of capacity development.

He said that while most businesses focused on the local market, targeting foreign markets was important as well, as this contributed to foreign exchange.?? He added that diversification and creativity were paramount, especially in saturated markets like food and beverage; and advised the entrepreneurs to regard their businesses as an enterprise and not be defined by its size.

Observing that it was also important for entrepreneurs to learn how to bid for contracts, he said that while a business may be small, it required the same attributes – a market, business plan, and staff – as a large, developed corporation. The workshop ends on Friday, November 2.


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