May 12, 2015

Women’s Department and BELTRAIDE moving forward

Women’s Department Signs M.O.U. with BELTRAIDE

Violence against women, human trafficking and femicide in Central America remain regional issues of concern for SICA member countries.  In Belize, as part of a related initiative, the Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation signed a Memorandum of Understanding this afternoon with the Ministry of Economic Development in support of the BA1 Project.  The undertaking includes a plan to provide small grants to improve the lives of women who are at risk of and are victims of gender based violence to help them improve their economic status.  The M.O.U. was signed on behalf of the Women’s Department, the Small Business Development Center and the Belize Training and Employment Center and will see some two hundred and fifty women participate in a series of training courses.  C.E.O. Judith Alpuche explains the importance of the program.

Judith Alpuche, C.E.O., Ministry of Human Development

“This partnership that I am very pleased that we are having, with the Ministry of Foreign Trade and specifically the SBDC… really tries to address exactly that.  The goal is to ensure that women are economically empowered, so we will be seeking out women who are not only survivors of gender based violence but are also at risk of becoming victims of gender-based violence and help to shore them up, help to ensure that they can stand on their own two feet, at least economically.  Apart from the other faucets that will also provide support in terms of the psychosocial education and just the public education et cetera that will happen, this is a critically important piece.”

Mike Singh, C.E.O., Ministry of Trade

“A lot of times social development is looked at as charity while economic development is looked at as profiteering and in reality they should really be brought together.  And I think today is a signal, in my mind, of where we’re actually bringing those two things that everybody sees as being completely separate together into one program. So every one of these women that we will be supporting will now become a client, will have a client record on our system and we will be able to tell you what their sales are, how many people they employ.  We will be able to tell you what their plans are and we will have a copy of whatever it is they put together in respect of their business plans and their goals and we will be there with a business advisor helping them every step of the way to make sure they achieve their goals.”

Tour Operators Receive Training from SBDCBelize

Tour Operators Receive Training from SBDCBelize

The tourism industry has been growing leaps and bounds becoming one of the top foreigner exchange earners for the jewel.  But for the industry to continue to thrive, good customer service and marketing are important factors. This morning stakeholders from the Fort Street Tourism Village were trained on how to sharpen their skills to improve their services. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Professionalism and quality within the ever-growing tourism industry are important characteristics of service providers, including vendors and tour operators, working out of the Fort George Tourism Zone.


Valdemar Andrade, Director of Cruise & Regional Operations, B.T.B.

“The Belize Tourism Board has partnered with Small Business Development Center and BTEC to deliver a training on entrepreneurship to the stakeholders of the Fort George Tourism Zone.  Basically it is a business development training for them to understand their customer base, for them to understand how their business is conducted, what their business is and at what level their business is in terms of product delivery.”


As frontline for marketing Belize as an ideal travel destination, these men and women, a majority of whom are independent operators, are required to conduct business proficiently.  In order to deliver the best possible sales pitch and the most professional approach to selling the Belizean product, both organizations have teamed up to provide a crash course in marketing.

Nilda Riverol, Manager, Small Business Development Center

“In marketing we are covering the importance of branding, the importance of portraying that image; for the product itself, brand awareness.  We’re also discussing on labeling requirements and what are national standards if it is a commodity-based product.  When it comes to sales, we are teaching them sales techniques.  How do you make an effective sales pitch?  How do you know when a customer is not interested in purchasing that product or service?  In the areas of customer service which I perceive is the core and a very important element in making that sale happen, we are teaching them professionalism in delivering an approach that they could be aware of what essentially is customer service.”

The expertise, including an array of soft skills, is necessary when dealing with visitors.  Without a formal environment to learn how to properly advertise and promote their products and services, these stakeholders are at a disadvantage.  The program gives them a leg up.

Albert Alvarez, Independent Tour Operator

“I think this is very important and it’s vital to what we do as tour operators.  We have a lot of people that work along with us in different fields.  We have tour guides and we also have craftsmen and for the most part people are very green so by getting this training it goes a long way.  The program on a whole is something I believe that everybody needs to do, you know, and SBDC, along with the [Belize] Tourism Board, have provided this opportunity for us, which I think is great.”

Equally critical to marketing is providing adequate information through customer service.  Adam Ramadam specializes in handicraft at the Tourist Village.

Continue reading “Tour Operators Receive Training from SBDCBelize”

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