Four women entrepreneurs have been awarded grants of $250,000 each to formalise and improve the capacity of their businesses.

The awardees are: Yolande Gooden-Rhoden, Kumea’s Hair Perspective; Dr Charah Watson, Kihara Cosmetics; Irene Moore, Irene’s Chicken & Eggs and Sherlene Mott, Richly Done Hair and Nails.

The grant funding was awarded under the Women’s Entrepreneurship Support Project (WESP) and forms part of a wider collaborative initiative by the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport/Bureau of Gender Affairs, the Ministry of Industry Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries and the Jamaica Business Development Corporation.

It follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on November 2, last year to strengthen collaboration in the development of programmes to encourage entrepreneurship among women.

“This MoU will ensure that there is an enabling business environment where both genders have opportunities to advance through entrepreneurial endeavours and create a framework for both parties to undertake impactful programmes by leveraging their collective resources to advance business development,” Commerce and Industry Minister Audley Shaw said at the launch of the WESP.

He underscored the relevance of the WESP since the majority of new businesses are male-owned, according to Companies Office of Jamaica data.

“What we are attempting to do is to change the narrative about work, wealth creation and productivity. No longer must we tell our children to ‘get an education and find a job’. Instead, we want the new narrative to be ‘get an education and create a job,” said Gender Affairs Minister Olivia Grange.

The project will be implemented over a three-year period. In the first phase, only four women were selected, but the numbers will be increased in subsequent years.

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