View more pictures from the ceremony
Kingston, Jamaica, February 7, 2012
On Tuesday, February 7th at the Knutsford Court Hotel, Women Business Owners Ja. Ltd. (WBO) and the National Commercial Bank Ltd. (NCB) hosted a graduation ceremony celebrating the success of 149 women who completed the first leg of training under the Strengthening & Promoting Women Entrepreneurs in Jamaica project funded by the Multi-Lateral Investment Fund, a member of the Inter-American Development Bank. 

NCB was the lead sponsor of the project's first year in which WBO completed a major launch event, toured the island to enlist women for training, launched a new website and trained 149 women owners of business. 

According to Audrey Tugwell, the event's guest speaker and Senior General Manager of NCB's Retail Banking Divison, "We are very interested in building small businesses in Jamaica and see women business owners as an important segment within the small business sector which we will continue to support. We are proud of their achievements." 

The graduates were markedly elated to have completed the training and the WBO team has noted that the feedback received from the beneficiaries far surpassed their expectations. Michelle Smith, owner of Chocolate Dreams, was one of several women graduates who are owners of established and recognized businesses. "This experience has taught me that education and improvement are the keys to success", Smith revealed. Other established business women included Christine King of the Sunday Herald and Catherine Radlein of Brick Oven. 

Women Business Owners Jamaica Limited (WBO), headed by new President Yaneek Page, was established in 2003 to foster and promote the success of women business owners through education, research, mentorship, and networking, with an aim to assist in the growth of women-owned business in Jamaica. 

The Strengthening & Promoting Women Entrepreneurs in Jamaica project began in 2010 under the guidance of past president Dorothea Gordon-Smith who spareheaded the conceptualization, funding acquisition and management of the project. The 3-year project aims to educate, train and mentor women who own small and medium businesses, to facilitate the growth of their businesses from one level to the next. 

As of February 2012 WBO began training another set of approximately 150 women, with training sessions in both Kingston and Montego Bay. By the end of the year the project is slated to have trained and mentored a total of 300 women across the island. A documentary, case study booklet, major closing event and an in-depth mentorship programme are all in place to be rolled out later this year.



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Strengthening & Promoting Women Entrepreneurs in Jamaica