Features — 18 November 2015 — by Johnelle McKenzie
Entrepreneurs assisted in honing their skills

BELIZE CITY, Fri. Nov. 13, 2015–Entrepreneurs were assisted in honing their skills in a workshop that ran from November 9 to November 13, and which was administered through Young Americans Business Trust (YABT), MASHAV, BELTRAIDE, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and several other organizations. The aim of the training was reportedly to provide the participants with managerial and practical experience in the different aspects of small business.

Chantae Guy, 23, a business student at the University of Belize and small business owner of Jungle Fever Teas, which she produces and sells in five stores across the country, told Amandala that the workshop has taught her how to work as part of a team, and to make her entrepreneurial skills second-nature. Guy also noted that Belizeans tend to overlook the importance of registering their products in order to own their brands legally.

The workshop also provided training for those who are themselves training entrepreneurs and professionals. Gilroy Middleton, Jr., a trainer who is the Chair of the Department of Management & Social Sciences of the University of Belize, told Amandala that the University of Belize and BELTRAIDE have a memorandum of understanding under which UB lecturers collaborate with business advisors from BELTRAIDE in the delivery of workshops to entrepreneurs and business professionals. Middleton, Jr., said that he participated in the workshop to develop his entrepreneurial skills and identify the current trends in the industry in order to improve the programs at UB.

Jose Clautier, Program Officer for the YABT, said that the organization was established fourteen years ago and works closely with MASHAV, an organization based in Israel which aims to foster social, economic and environmental development in an effort to make the Millennium Development Goals attainable.

Participants in the workshop were encouraged to apply to the Caribbean Innovation Competition (CIC) which was launched in September in Barbados, Clautier said. “The Caribbean Innovation Competition is a competition and business accelerator program that selects persons who have a business idea and works with them to develop their idea for a period of six months to a virtual platform where they can receive training and mentorship,” Clautier explained. These participants’ business ideas are evaluated and grouped, and from these groups, finalists are selected and given the opportunity to participate in an international expo at which they get the chance to meet with investors. Clautier said that from that pool of finalists the winners of each category are selected and they get seed capital for their businesses.

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