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(GIS) – WE-Xport is a program of the Caribbean Export Development Agency implemented under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF), Regional Private Sector Development Programme (RPSDP) which seeks to increase employment creation, inclusiveness particularly for youth, women and indigenous groups, and contribute to overall poverty reduction in CARIFORUM states.
The program was designed to assist Caribbean businesswomen in export development with a view of increasing the exports of their products and services. WE-XPORT will use a four-pronged approach towards strengthening the export capacity of women-owned firms. The four areas which form the pillars of the program include Access to Finance, Access to Markets, Capacity Building and Advocacy.
The program was launched on March 7, in Barbados and two Saint Lucian firms were successful to become part of the group of 20 firms selected for the program.
TEPA is one of the organizations from the region to champion the programme in Saint Lucia. Our role involved first promoting the program among women exporters and aspiring exporters and then to provide on the ground support to the companies selected to be part of the program. As such TEPA has completed the first of the training workshops of the program, i.e. Access to Finance.
Two Saint Lucian firms from the Creative Sector; Designs by Nadia, and Même Bête, were successful and were selected to be part of the program. TEPA’s representative along with the entrepreneurs from the selected firms attended the two-day Access to Finance workshop in Barbados from May 31 to June 1. This workshop is jointly funded by the Caribbean Development Bank and is a key activity of the Access to Finance component of the Women Empowered through Export (WE-XPORT) programme.
Taribba do Nascimiento of Même Bête who will be celebrating ten years of business next year, said that all this support was timely and would contribute to her goals of breaking the barriers of the fashion industry. The element that stood out most for her from the workshop was the opportunity to network with her peers in the industry. Taribba, visibly thankful and excited said: “Speaking with other women, learning about their journeys their mistakes and their successes, is how I learn. That is how I will grow.”
Following the workshop, additional training and technical assistance will be provided to the entrepreneurs through coaching sessions for a period of six months. The workshop was also geared toward enhancing the capacity of Business Support Organisations (BSOs) like TEPA, in delivering support to firms, specifically women-owned firms that want to secure funding for business expansion.
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