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BELTRAIDE and the Belize City Council Sign Memorandum of Cooperation


BELTRAIDE, the nation’s leading business advising and entrepreneurial support entity, signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) with the Belize City Council on Thursday, June 8, 2017 at 2:00 pm at the Belize Training and Employment Centre in Belize City.

The aim of this Cooperation is to enhance and diversify economic activity in the municipality through a closer collaboration between BELTRAIDE and the City Council by providing efficient and seamless business development services to entrepreneurs and to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) located in their respective jurisdiction.

Beltraide MOC with BCC00032_edited
(L-R) Darrell Bradley – Mayor of Belize City ,  Lejia Melanie Gideon – General Manager, BELTRAIDE, Candice Miller – City Administrator, Belize City Council

BELTRAIDE’s Small Business Development Centre Belize (SBDCBelize) and Belize City Council’s Local Economic Development (LED) Unit will be the two respective units to carry out the work plan laid out under the MOC. The town’s Business Support Help Desk will work hand-in-hand with SBDCBelize to support local entrepreneurs and MSMEs by offering business guidance and development trainings. SBDCBelize will also provide mentorship and coaching to the Business Support Officer to ensure that local business community receives the best possible business development support.

Beltraide MOC with BCC00047_edited

 

SBDCBelize and in extension BELTRAIDE remains committed to developing the competitiveness of entrepreneurs and businesses by offering the best tools, business advising and training needed.

BELTRAIDE holds Trade Clinic for entrepreneurs in Independence!


 

A group of entrepreneurs from Dangriga and surrounding villages had the opportunity to attend an information session to assist them in becoming more competitive. The Trade Clinic was held at the Independence High School Conference Room on 31st May 2016.

The Trade Clinic is the second session organized by EXPORTBelize, a unit of  the Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE) , with the aim to sensitize members of the private sector across Belize on regulations, requirements, export procedures and documentations   and opportunities that exist under trade agreements in order to do business in the local and international market.

The Trade Clinic included presentations from local partners including the Belize Bureau of Standards (BBS), the Belize Agriculture and Health Authority (BAHA), the Customs & Excise Department and the Directorate General of Foreign Trade. Topics included Standards , Export Procedures, Trade Agreement Opportunities and Sanitary & Phyto-Sanitary Measures among many others.

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EXPORTBelize provides customized needs based services in the areas of export development and promotion. The unit’s role is to encourage competitiveness of local businesses and to promote their products and services regionally and internationally by:

  • Supporting exporters with development promotion that will facilitate maximizing market opportunities in unison with trade agreements;
  • Collaborating with exporters in the promotion of their products and services locally, regionally and internationally;
  • Offering specialized business development services and mentoring;
  • Providing exporters with access to finance and research on product/services that can be capitalized.

The third Trade Clinic is scheduled for  July 6th in San Ignacio with venue to be determined at a later date.

U.S. Embassy Belmopan Announces Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) Professional Fellows Program!


U.S. Embassy Belmopan Announces  Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) Professional Fellows Program to Support Entrepreneurs throughout Latin America and the Caribbean

Program Signifies Important Step in White House’s Commitment to an Entrepreneurship Network in the Americas.

Entrepreneurs! We are looking for you!

The Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) Professional Fellows Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, is looking for 250 young entrepreneurs from Latin America and the Caribbean to bring to the United States for business and social entrepreneurship training in October and November 2016. YLAI Professional Fellows will become part of the larger YLAI Network, an online space to obtain resources and make regional connections necessary to foster positive change in their local communities. 2 U.S. EMBASSY Belmopan, Belize Office of Public Affairs

 

The U.S. program includes the following components:

  1. Opening Program in Texas and Closing Summit in Washington, D.C. featuring workshops, breakout sessions, and keynote speakers;
  2. Four-week individualized fellowship with counterpart companies or organizations in cities around the U.S. The participants will engage in skills-building workshops, develop or refine their own strategic plan, and participate in day-to-day operations at U.S. organizations;
  3. Professional development activities including entrepreneurship training and interaction with experts; and
  4. Ongoing support before, during, and after the YLAI Fellowship through networking, mentorship, and investment opportunities.

 

The program is open to entrepreneurs who meet the following criteria:

  1. Are between the ages of 21 and 35;
  2. Are a resident of Belize.
  3. Are eligible to receive a U.S. J-1 visa;
  4. Have at least 2 years of entrepreneurial/leadership experience, preferably with a startup business or social venture;
  5. Are proficient in reading, writing, and speaking English.

 

The https://ylai.state.gov/ website includes information about how to apply for the YLAI fellowship and how to sign up for the YLAI Network. Submit your application by Friday, May 20, 2016. U.S. EMBASSY Belmopan, Belize Office of Public Affairs

 

The Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative is a program of the U.S. Department of State. This program builds upon the success of the inaugural YLAI entrepreneurs’ project in March 2016. The YLAI Professional Fellows Program is supported in its implementation by Meridian International Center, a proud partner with Atlas Corps, Entrepreneurs’ Organization, and community-based members and universities throughout the United States. For further information, please contact the Meridian program team at YLAI@meridian.org. For press inquiries, please contact ECA-Press@state.gov.

Marie Sharp Inducted in  Hot Sauce Hall of Fame 2016


 

Belize’s very own Legendary Queen of Habanero Sauce, Marie Sharp, was presented with a most prestigious award and induction Into the New York City Hot Sauce Hall of Fame for 2016 at The New York City Hot Sauce Expo in Brooklyn New York on  April 23 & 24. Marie Sharp proudly received a beautiful red jacket commemorating the occasion, as well as a class ring engraved with her name and year -2016.

2016-04-23 14.12.55 (1)
Marie Sharp – Owner, Marie Sharp’s Fine Foods

Marie Sharp was extremely honored not only for being the only female entrepreneur to receive this award and recognition, but also because she was the only foreign candidate to have been selected for the New York City Hot Sauce Hall of Fame!!

Marie Sharp creator and founder of Marie Sharp’s Fine Foods in Dangriga, Belize, continues to be recognized both locally and internationally for  her  production  of a spectacular selection of pepper sauces.

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She attended  The New York City Hot Sauce Expo  along with two executives of Marie Sharp’s Fine Foods : Sales & Marketing Manager, Jody Williams, and General Manager, Rocio Aguilar.  Since 1981, Marie Sharp’s Fine Foods has gradually perfected the entire line of products now offered. The Management of Marie Sharp Fine Foods remains committed to ensure quality products and quality service to Belize and the world.

2016-04-23 14.43.19

EXPORTBelize, a unit of  BELTRAIDE, would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Marie Sharp Fine Foods on being inducted into the New York City Hot Sauce Hall of Fame 2016. Marie Sharp Fine Foods continues to be recognized both nationally and internationally for producing quality pepper sauce with exquisite flavour and heat levels.
Once again, congratulations to Marie Sharp and her team on this milestone!

 

 

 

Beltraide signs MOU with Atlantic Bank


 

On Wednesday March 16th the Belize Trade and Investment Development Service, BELTRAIDE and Atlantic Bank Ltd. signed a memorandum of understanding to partner in outreach initiatives where possible. This first of its kind partnership features the Government’s leading development agency and one of the country’s largest financial commercial banks agreeing to sensitize entrepreneurs and the business community on services and products aimed to improve their business enterprises.

Beltraide X ABL MOU_00028

The agreement also seeks to promote global trade finance programs including pre-import and pre-export financing. Ms. Lejia Melanie Gideon, General Manager of Enterprise and Innovation Division, Beltraide signed on their behalf while Ms. Sandra Bedran signed on behalf of Atlantic Bank Ltd.

Beltraide X ABL MOU_00038
(L) Lejia Melanie Gideon – General Manager, Enterprise and Innovation Division , Beltraide and Ms. Sandra Bedran – Atlantic Bank Ltd. (R)
Beltraide X ABL MOU_00057
(L) Lejia Melanie Gideon – General Manager, Enterprise and Innovation Division , Beltraide and Ms. Sandra Bedran – Atlantic Bank Ltd. (R)

Expression of Interest Notice: Participate in a Seminar on Angel Investor Engagement Training for Entrepreneurs


This training will sensitize, educate, and train regional entrepreneurs in global best practices methods of engaging angel investors for investment.

In its mission to increase the competitiveness of firms in the region, Caribbean Export has taken note of the inability of regional firms to consistently gain access to the right mix of financing applicable to their stages of development as being a major hindrance to them achieving success. As such Caribbean Export has embarked on activities, in conjunction with our World Bank partners, to increase access to private equity financing, specifically Angel Investment to regional firms. One such activity involves training regional entrepreneurs on how to properly and successfully engage Angel investors when seeking to raise capital for their businesses.

Formal Angel investing within the region is a new occurrence; however, informal angel investing has been taking place within the region for many years. There are three formal Angel groups in the Caribbean; two in Jamaica (First Angels Jamaica and Alpha Angels), and one in Barbados (Trident Angels) and others planned for formation in the short and medium term. There are also a number of regional High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs) performing angel type activities outside the auspices of a formal angel group.

Caribbean Export will sponsor a representative from twenty (20) CARIFORUM firms to participate in this event. The aim of this initiative is to build the capacity of those selected to strategically target, engage and properly pitch to regional/international angel investors.

This EOI is targeted to, but not limited to both start-ups and established firms who are actively seeking angel capital, and also firms that are exporting or have export potential in both goods and services.

Interested persons must submit all required documentation to Caribbean Export Development Agency.

All Expressions of interest should be submitted no later than June 5th  2015 4:30 pm Barbados time, by email only and in English to Mr. Kevin Jones, Caribbean Export – Advisor; Access to Finance at emailkjones@carib-export.com.

The criteria for participating in this initiative are listed below:

Firms must submit: 

    • Indicating a willingness to provide Caribbean Export with information on your progress in seeking angel investment.
    • Demonstrating intent to use the training as a tool to target regional angel groups/ investors for funding.

Please note that the support that Caribbean Export will be providing to each of the 20 successful candidates to participate in this Business Summit is limited to:

  • Direct economy airfare for one person
  • Accommodation and daily stipend for one person (based on European Union guidelines)

The OECD defines a high-growth enterprise as a firm with an “average annualised growth in employees (or in turnover) greater than 20% a year, over a three-year period, and with ten or more employees at the beginning of the observation period.”

Expression of Interest Angel Investor Engagement Training for Entrepreneurs Final

Investor Engagement for Entrepreneurs Flyer and Agenda Final

Entrepreneur Investor Engagement EOI Application Form Final

Women Innovators Network in the Caribbean (WINC)


As part of its Entrepreneurship Program for Innovation in the Caribbean (EPIC)infoDev is seeking a qualified firm with presence in the Caribbean to support the team in the delivery and implementation of the Women Innovators Network in the Caribbean (WINC) program.  Whilst already published on infoDev’s website, we bring this opportunity to your attention – for your own consideration and/or assistance in circulating to others who may have the interest and required capabilities to apply.  As you will imagine, we are keen to bring on board the very best support possible for the region’s women entrepreneurs!

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Expression of Interest Deadline: 11th August 2014, 11:59 PM  (EST)

Overview of WINC’s program

WINC is implementing a hybrid approach in supporting innovative and growth-oriented women entrepreneurs in the Caribbean, with the objective to (i) actively encourage growth-oriented women entrepreneurs to apply and participate in EPIC’s Caribbean Mobile Innovation Program (CMIP) and Caribbean Climate Innovation Center (CCIC); and (ii) provide business acceleration service offerings to innovative and growth-oriented entrepreneurs in other sectors.  Across all sectors, WINC will provide a peer-to-peer network to support growth-oriented women entrepreneurs and inspire future women business leaders in the region.

WINC’s three main program components are as follows:

Continue reading “Women Innovators Network in the Caribbean (WINC)”

Caribbean Women in Business: A Trend or Paradigm Shift?


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Across the globe and through the ages, women have experienced the disadvantages of existing in a patriarchal framework, which has designated them to a homemaker role, and continues to define the sex as a whole. Women in business are breaking that mould across the world and writing new stories for themselves, and in the Caribbean, the Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) is assisting them through a variety of programme-based interventions. In commemoration of International Women’s Day 2014, Caribbean Export wishes to highlight and applaud the tremendous progress of Caribbean women in the business arena. We believe that, in keeping with this year’s theme of “Inspiring Change”, that these women are not only inspiring, but also effecting change in meaningful and lasting ways.

In the professional world women often face many obstacles to advancement in the work place and in entrepreneurship, often referred to as the infamous glass ceiling. Many of these constraints are actually social constructs  “…the propensity of women to start a business may differ from that of men for cultural reasons” states Maria Minniti, a researcher for the UN. Socially the expectation is still for women to have children and to raise them at some point in their careers, whereas the expectation for men is to be successful and to provide for his family.

In a recent study by the World Bank, “female entrepreneurs are more likely to operate in the informal sector or in traditional female sectors. This limitation is likely due to “…a number of reasons… a lack of business connections and networks, few entrepreneurial female role models. Accessing finance is also a challenge, with women often lacking the required collateral to obtain successful financing above the microfinance level from banks”.

These World Bank findings presents a global phenomenon, but the Caribbean has arguably always been a region where, females rarely face disproportionate opportunities or even oppression and discrimination, as is often the case in other parts of the developing world. In fact, across the region women have taken full advantage of the educational avenues that have been made available to them and many have succeeded in rising to positions of influence. However, the proverbial glass ceiling and other social limitations still remain a reality for many of those who wish to venture into the business sector.

Despite these challenges the number of women involved in the business sector has dramatically increased globally.  It is thought that due to the current global economic climate, which has left scores of men and women unemployed, there has arisen a greater impetus for women to enter into entrepreneurial roles in order to survive. According to studies conducted by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, particularly in lesser-developed countries “when it comes to entrepreneurship, males tend to cite ‘opportunity’ as their main motivator, while women more often start or maintain businesses out of ‘necessity’”.  The study cited that there are 187 million registered women-owned and operated businesses worldwide and in some countries; nearly half of all adult women are business-owners. In, for example in Ghana female entrepreneurs actually outnumber their male counterparts.

Caribbean Export has witnessed this rise through the number of female participants across several of its programme-based activities delivered under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF), and is particularly interested in the development of the regional private sector, from the perspective of the women involved in, and driving this area.  Women have not only become progressively more involved in such activities, but account for a significant fraction of overall participation.  To illustrate, seven hundred and seventy-six (776) females were involved in Agency initiatives in 2012, however this increased by 5% to eight hundred and seventeen (817) in 2013.

Fig 1_ Female vs Male

Regional female entrepreneurs are increasingly capitalizing on the opportunities, including training, technical assistance, and support in export promotion (Figure 2), which have been put in place to help them develop their businesses and products for the global market. In fact, between 2012 and 2013, one thousand six hundred and fifty-nine (1659) women participated in Caribbean Export interventions compared to one thousand three hundred and sixty-six (1366) men.

 

Fig 2_Participation in Programmes

 

This demonstrates that not only are women serious about business, but they are also serious about the growth and competitiveness of the Caribbean private sector. Their participation is an effort to grow their small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) into globally competitive brands, and is also indicative of the region’s growth in particular sectors.

There is a new generation of women who have ventured outside of the often thought of as “safe” or “female” designated businesses such as salons and boutiques, into professions that are pushing the envelope and changing the landscape of the Caribbean, thereby contributing to the global economy. These women are involved in a wide range of sectors from agro-processing to specialized tourism. Collectively and individually, these women encapsulate the qualities of creativity, intelligence, tenacity, dynamism and the courage that it takes to enter and survive in the business world, particularly a world that is ordinarily dominated by men.

“Caribbean women, have something very unique to contribute to the regional and global markets,” Pamela Coke-Hamilton, the Executive Director of Caribbean Export remarked, “They have been afforded quality educational opportunities which, coupled with the well-rounded perspective that comes from living in a regional village, have made them naturally inclined to think outside of conventional parameters.” Mrs. Coke-Hamilton added that, “At Caribbean Export, we have seen remarkable advancement in the status of women within the private sector which makes me proud as a woman. Women are not just running businesses: they are pioneering ecologically-conscious, sustainable industries in a host of sectors that are constantly looking forward; constantly innovating. The Caribbean businesswoman is no longer trying to survive, she is trying to fashion a stronger future for the region.”

But with all that is being said, does this represent a paradigm shift in the professional focus of females in the region? Some argue that women have not transitioned away from traditional service sectors such as cosmetology, especially given the recent rise in these types of micro-businesses,, particularly in islands such as Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad as a result of the “naturalista” movement. This occurrence evolved out of an interest in wearing ones hair in its unaltered state and in using cosmetic products that are branded as “all-natural” or contain ingredients, which are derived from natural sources.

However, Caribbean Export has seen an increased involvement of women in increasingly expanding industries, such as specialized tourism and renewable energy. Like the cosmetology industry, specialized tourism responds to the demands of consumers with very specific interests. Women have been chiefly involved in responding to these demands in innovative and competitive ways. Another burgeoning sector is renewable energy, which has become a priority in many Caribbean territories, following initiatives taken by developed nations. As a result, the sector attracts a great deal of investment and support from foreign and regional entities alike, and has been pegged as a major growth industry by organizations such as the European Union (EU), Inter-American Development Bank, (IADB) and the Organisation of American States (OAS).

In 2013, Caribbean Export’s, awarded funding to fifty-four (54) women through the Direct Assistance Grant Scheme (DAGS), facilitated under the EU-funded 10th EDF. These beneficiaries represented a range of sectors (Figure 3), however, most notable were the recipients from the agro-processing and manufacturing sectors, which accounted collectively for 51% of the female beneficiaries. This substantial fraction alludes to a much greater female involvement in these traditionally male-dominated areas than might have previously been perceived. These women are not only driving this industry into a new age with pioneering products and methodologies, but, they are also harvesting the resources to position themselves as viable global competitors, with support from Caribbean Export.

Fig 3_Females Awarded Grants

Of these fifty-four awardees, three of the female-owned firms actively take an eco-friendly approach to their businesses. Their stories have been captured and produced into a short documentary entitled The Green Initiative. These women, Barbara Walker and Shireen Aga of Jamaica, Ruth Spencer of Antigua and Barbuda, and Joanna Edgehill of Barbados can be considered trailblazers in regional renewable energy agenda.

Walker and Aga’s Hotel Mockingbird Hill is run on solar energy harnessed by solar panels. These panels were replaced with the funds received in the Grant Scheme. Their establishment is one of the only hotels in the region, which, according to Aga “operates on a completely holistic principle” and has been recognised as such. Ruth’s Place, owned by Spencer also operates exclusively on solar power. As a result of their efforts, these women have established the model for an economically viable and sustainable ecological business system. Undoubtedly, with these initiatives, the regional tourism industry has undergone a rebirth.

Edgehill of MegaPower has jump-started the use of solar-powered electric cars in her home Island, and refers to herself as an “ambassador for the Nissan Leaf and for electric cars”. Her business is the sole dealership of the Nissan Leaf, the first electric motor, and lithium-ion battery-powered car on the island. This is certainly considered a catalyst in the regional automotive industry.

These illustrations validate that this generation of Caribbean businesswomen have demonstrated a dedication to the growth and development of not only their enterprises, but also the sector as a whole. The female entrepreneurs of the region are an essential component of the future of the private sector, a future that is symbolized by growth, innovation and competitiveness. Caribbean Export anticipates that women will continue to be at the forefront of emerging sectors, regionally and globally, and capitalize on the opportunities for capacity-building interventions, which the Agency provides. Caribbean Export is optimistic that there will be an exponential increase in the number of female participating in initiatives as the Agency endeavors to create more effective and tangible support mechanisms for the advancement of the regional private sector.

Continue reading “Caribbean Women in Business: A Trend or Paradigm Shift?”

Importance of a Business Plan – SBDCBelize, BELTRAIDE


Too many people don’t bother to write a business plan because they think it’s too hard or unnecessary unless you’re looking for funding, that’s a shame. These myths keep a lot of people from the benefits of planning.

If you’re still skeptical, here are 10 benefits to business planning you shouldn’t be overlooking:

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Continue reading “Importance of a Business Plan – SBDCBelize, BELTRAIDE”

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