Within the framework of WEConnect International’s research project “Enhancing the Growth of Women-Owned Businesses in Latin America and the Caribbean by Building on Private Sector Initiatives” funded by Canada’s International Development Research Centre, on April 20th, 2017 WEConnect International in the Caribbean held an executive panel to discuss information related to women entrepreneurs and to share experiences and knowledge that promote the private, public and civil society sectors to better understand the needs of women-owned businesses in the region.
The main purpose of this panel discussion was to:
- Gather data on the environment of women-owned businesses in the Caribbean
- Identify the challenges faced by women-owned businesses in the Caribbean
- Educate women business owners about key issues affecting the economic space for women-owned enterprises and the strategies that can be implemented to solve these issues
- Provide an environment to allow women-owned businesses to engage each other, network and make meaningful connections
- Allow for connections between women-owned businesses and key stakeholders
The event also presented an opportunity to learn more about the needs and broad spectrum of challenges that Jamaican women entrepreneurs face, understand their context and identify and meet with women business owners and stakeholders who serve the needs of women-owned businesses.
The panel discussion identified and revealed several important points about women-owned businesses, the existing data and the economic environment in which they operate. Below are the key points from the panel discussion:
- Women-owned businesses are the fastest growing sector in the world, including the US and Jamaica
- What’s good for women is good for the economy
- Economists and academics agree women entrepreneurs are an under- tapped force that can rekindle the economic expansion
- Women-owned businesses are the fastest growing set of businesses in Jamaica
- Women-owned businesses do more with less; there are nearly 2 times as productive as male-owned businesses
- 81% of the women-owned businesses in the Caribbean were started by women rather than inherited or bought
- The top inhibitors to women-owned businesses: tax rates, inflation, lack of access to finance, crime, and theft