Women of business strengthen alliances

THE CONCEPT of strategic alliances has always played a pivotal role in not only supporting but also strengthening female entrepreneurship. Female entrepreneurship formed a major part of the conversation of GEW efforts globally, and Trinidad and Tobago was also part of that experience.

A cross-section of women from various sectors converged recently at the Teaching and Learning Complex, University of the West Indies (UWI), to engage in a fruitful panel discussion themed “Using Strategic Alliances to Strengthen Female Entrepreneurship.” Hosted as a collaborative effort by Powerful Ladies of Trinidad and Tobago (PLOTT ) and The Institute for Gender and Development Studies, UWI , the event was moderated by Dr Paula Morgan, Head of Department, IGDS St Augustine unit, UWI. In opening the discussions, Morgan stated: “This initiative demonstrates the seriousness with which the UWI facilitates its outreach activities in support of independent and aggressive research. Every young person should be prepared to become an entrepreneur.” The panellists comprised industry experts who are also established female entrepreneurs including Dale Laughlin, chairman of Youth Business Trinidad and Tobago (YBTT ); Gillian Wall, founder/chairman and group CEO – IBB Holdings and co-founder of PLOTT ; Jennifer Jones-Morales, PhD candidate, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of of Management (UWI); Antoinette Maund, chairman, ANMA Holdings Ltd and Anthea Walcott, Owner of Flowers to Treasure.

In her contribution Wall stated that “simply ‘belief ’ in oneself causes all uncertainty to disappear; there is no right time for an entrepreneur – start now! “An entrepreneurial spirit should be inculcated in every employee; when more business owners become comfortable with young professionals sharing their dreams, more businesses will be established and of course, the country’s gross domestic product will increase.” Wall also described the importance of the social impact of entrepreneurship created by social entrepreneurs who use commerce to positively impact the environment within which they operate.

Laughlin used “Feminine Capital”, a book authored by Barbara Orser and Catherine Elliott, that focuses on unlocking the power of women entrepreneurs, as the basis to showcase the success of some of YBTT ’s female entrepreneurs including Jineal Chichester, Nikita Legall, La Toya Burgess and Asiya Mohammed, all of whom are testimonies to the power of entrepreneurship.

By: Sandrine Rattan

Project Co-ordinator – Stakeholder & Media Relations (YBTT)

 

Published in the Trinidad and Tobago Newsday on Thursday, November 26th, 2015

See link here: http://www.newsday.co.tt/features/0,220457.html

Linking BG’s Social Performance to Sustainable Enterprise Development

YBTT Feature - BG and GEW (Published on Thursday November 19, 2015 - Newsday)BG Trinidad and Tobago (Platinum Sponsor of GEW 2015), through its operational diversity, has proven its corporate worth beyond the global LNG business. The evidence of this is profound according to the founding tenets of its Social Performance Policy. “At BG Group, we have fifteen (15) business principles that set out our core beliefs, values and behaviours that govern the way we do business” said Leslie Bowrin, the organization’s Head of Social Performance.

Bowrin continued “social performance describes the way in which we meet our commitments to society; these principles state that we work with neighbouring communities which benefit from our presence; we also listen to those communities, and we support Human Rights within our areas of influence.” The organization firmly believes that social performance begins with recognizing the impact that its business activities would have on the communities and societies within which they operate, that can be either positive or negative. “In our social performance policy, we set out our belief that in order to be effective in meeting our objectives, we need to establish and maintain effective relationships with interested and affected stakeholders, avoid or minimize the negative impact of our activities, and create and deliver opportunities that maximize our business benefits to society” said Bowrin.

There are some specific areas of focus that are aligned to the organization’s social programmes, which seek to promote sustainable development within its neighbouring communities as well as the wider national community. “We believe that sustainable development in energy-based economies such as ours, depend on maximum utilization of our hydrocarbon resources for the development of skills, knowledge, competencies and expertise to generate economic activity in other sectors” stated Bowrin.

BG’s core areas for its social investment include building awareness of and promoting Science, Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education and careers; Youth Entrepreneurship and Training and Livelihood Development. The holistic development of young people remains a  high-priority item on the organization’s agenda, which has resulted in a global partnership with Youth Business International in the U.K. Describing the partnership, Bowrin articulated “supporting entrepreneurship is a key part of BG Group’s social investment strategy to promote employment in the countries where we work; over the next few years, this global partnership aims to introduce 8,000 young people to entrepreneurship, create 1,500 new businesses and generate 2,600 jobs.”

This strategic partnership enables the BG Group to improve the business skills of young people, support young people to start or grow a business, provide employment opportunities for thousands of people who lack the skills to work directly for BG Group or in BG Group’s supply chain, help grow and strengthen the local small and medium-sized business sector, respond to expectations from communities for economic benefits and skills transfer, through job creation and enterprise development and demonstrate BG Group and YBI’s expertise in supporting enterprise development.

Long-term sustainability is also a critical success factor for the organization. As Bowrin puts it “when we talk about establishing and maintaining effective relationships, our aim is to ensure that host societies and host communities are broadly happy for us to proceed with our investments and activities, and to ensure that they remain broadly supportive in the long run.” The organization believes that it must secure a “social licence to operate” from its stakeholders. Though Governments provide the regulatory context for its operations, a range of other stakeholders also influence the organization’s ability to meet its business objectives successfully.

Entrepreneurial development builds long-term sustainability, and is thus a major area of focus for the organization. Bowrin emphasized the importance in the context of providing greater support towards youth entrepreneurship. “BG identifies entrepreneurship particularly youth entrepreneurship as a critical area of focus for economic development. We prefer not to restrict our focus to high-risk communities as such, but rather to promote youth entrepreneurship wherever there is the drive and capacity to embark on this road. Entrepreneurship emerges from many varied sources and our partnership with Youth Business Trinidad and Tobago (YBTT) is committed to unearthing and developing entrepreneurs nationwide.”

 

By: Sandrine Rattan

Project Co-ordinator – Stakeholder & Media Relations (YBTT)

 

Published in the Trinidad and Tobago Newsday on Thursday, November 19th, 2015

Celebrating Global Entrepreneurship Week with T&T Host – YBTT

YBTT Feature - YBTT and GEW (Published on Wednesday November 18, 2015 - Guardian)

Mr. Shedron Collins, General Manager, Youth Business Trinidad and Tobago

 

Youth Business Trinidad and Tobago (YBTT) is an accredited member of Youth Business International (YBI), an international network of youth business programmes. YBTT, with the support of the business community, helps young persons to work for themselves by providing access to loans, entrepreneurial training and business mentorship. Sitting at the helm of the organization as the General Manager, is Shedron Collins, a young and visionary professional, who, through his developmental journey with the organization since 2009, has a clear understanding of the entrepreneurial needs of young persons between the ages of 18-35 years who come into contact with the organization on a daily basis either through social media, visits to the company’s website, or walk-ins.

According to Collins “whilst we understand that all young persons can’t become entrepreneurs, YBTT is committed to providing a solid foundation for young Wantrepreneurs by exposing them to a holistic entrepreneurial training programme which we facilitate on an on-going basis.”  He continued “entrepreneurship starts with a renewed mindset understanding that once you step into the entrepreneurial ring, the sky is the limit to achieve your biggest business objectives; YBTT’s most important offering is the opportunity to take risk and become an entrepreneur.”

The After-Care support provided by the organization is one of its major assets, a service that is rarely provided by other institutions. Collins added “it is our belief, that the after-care approach towards entrepreneurship is an ideal, as you’re able to monitor and measure the success and/or failure of the business, and in so doing, use appropriate interventions to treat with the relevant issues.”

Because of its astuteness in addressing the needs of young entrepreneurs, the organization has been the Trinidad and Tobago host of Global Entrepreneurship Week for the past five (5) years, an initiative which is considered to be its flagship. GEW, which is celebrated in more than 160 countries in November of each year and endorsed by world leaders including US President, Barack Obama, is the world’s largest celebration of innovators and job creators who launch start-ups and bring ideas to live, drive economic growth and expand human welfare.

As Collins puts it “during our period as the T&T host, we have been successful in not only galvanizing support from major corporate sponsors and partners, but we were also able to influence and motivate individuals into becoming entrepreneurs; our major role as Host, is to bring as many partners on board as possible.”

GEW in Trinidad and Tobago has been growing tremendously as entrepreneurial stakeholders have been demonstrating their commitment in a profound way. In addition to the annual partners such as the Arthur Lok Jack Biz Booster, Civilian Conservations Corp.,Council for Competitiveness and Innovation (Ministry of Planning and Sustainable Development), Conec Professional Services, Export Centres Limited,  Junior Achievement of Trinidad and Tobago, Launch Rockit, The Lily Foundation for Human Development (Tobago), NEDCO,  University of Trinidad and Tobago and YTEPP, there are new partners who have endorsed the significance of GEW through their participation for 2015. These include a cross-section of Rotary Clubs, the Institute of Gender Studies (University of the West Indies), Powerful Ladies of Trinidad and Tobago, Jason Charles and Associates and Yo Pro(a global NGO).

GEW promises to be a national conversation beyond the week of November 16th – 22nd, 2015. To be part of this journey visit the GEW website at tt.gew.co.

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THE PERFECT MENTOR PITCH FOR GEW 2015!”

Photo of Ty Richardson

Global Entrepreneurship Week is noted for showcasing the creativity and ingenuity of both GEW partners and  stakeholders, but more particularly, it demonstrates the enormous potential that resides within young people desirous of owning businesses. YoPro, a global non-governmental organization whose interest is targeted towards developing and preparing individuals for both paid-employment and self-employment, is set on making an indelible mark along the entrepreneurial landscape for GEW 2015.

According to YoPro’s Founder and CEO, Ty Richardson “the organization usually hosts event experiences for young professionals to meet, engage and connect with each other in a meaningful and productive way.” He added “many young persons need assistance in being able to effectively sell themselves to various stakeholders; notably, a large percentage of the youths who the organization works with, are employed but manage small businesses in their spare time.”

It is against this background that the organization  would be facilitating a workshop themed “The Perfect Mentor Pitch” on November 17th, 2015. “This initiative is aimed at providing strategies to address these gaps; a total of 12 young professionals will be allowed five (5) minutes to pitch their business ideas to a panel of industry experts who will deliberate and share the outcomes in a helpful manner.”

At the end of the experience, participants would be better positioned to present their ideas and/or business proposals to stakeholders including Banks and Investors with utmost confidence as well as having the understanding that they would be able to move their business venture to the next level.

To become a partner, send us an email at srattan@ybtt.org.

 

By: Sandrine Rattan

Project Co-ordinator – Stakeholder & Media Relations (YBTT)

 

Published in the Trinidad and Tobago Newsday on Thursday, November 12th, 2015

CONNECTING ALL THE ENTREPRENEURIAL DOTS FOR GEW 2015

GEW on the Promenade

The success of entrepreneurship lies at the core of ensuring that all the dots are connected so that both existing and future entrepreneurs would be able to navigate the entrepreneurial landscape successfully. During our interactions with entrepreneurs, we have found that many of them are still unfamiliar with the myriad of support services that are available.

 

Themed “Building Your Entrepreneurial Connectivity” Global Entrepreneurship Week carded for November 16th – 22nd, 2015 is meant to be the springboard to intensify the connectivity required to create an enabling environment for our young entrepreneurs. As the T&T host of GEW, YBTT continues to collaborate with the key stakeholders who support and assist our entrepreneurial community at varying levels. According to YBTT’s Chairman, Dale Laughlin, at the core of GEW 2015 is a series of activity-based events that give entrepreneurs the opportunity to connect, learn and use the skills needed to grow their businesses.  We start on Friday, November 6th, with “GEW On The Promenade”, a Connectivity Event that brings entrepreneurs and support organizations together to show and talk about their products and services.”

 

On Friday 6th November, 2015, these stakeholders will converge on the Brian Lara Promenade to provide a creative experience for participants particularly secondary school students. Sharing the space together with YBTT, will be Benoit’s Academy, Civilian Conservation Corp., Conec Professional Coaching Services, Council for Competitiveness and Innovation (Ministry of Planning and Development),, Export Centres Limited, Jason Charles & Associates, Launch Rockit, National Entrepreneurship Development Company Limited, Ninebreaker Media Studios, The Lily Foundation for Human Development (Tobago), University of Trinidad and Tobago, YoPro and YTEPP.

 

Entrepreneurs who have benefitted from the services of these stakeholders as well as those who are thinking of venturing into the entrepreneurial realm, would be on hand to articulate on their respective initiatives, and in so doing, receive the much needed to advice to begin their entrepreneurial journey.

 

As we attempt to strengthen the entrepreneurial curve, we are issuing a call to action by Wantrepreneurs, New Entrepreneurs and even Entrepreneurs who have had both success and failure in their entrepreneurial endeavours, to attend this event which will definitely be a renewed shining light!

 

By: Sandrine Rattan

Project Co-ordinator – Stakeholder & Media Relations (YBTT)

 

Published in the Trinidad and Tobago Newsday on Thursday, November 5th, 2015