Ministries Sign MOU to Promote Women in Business

Photo: Donald De La Haye Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Hon. Olivia Grange (third left), and Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, the Hon. Karl Samuda (second right), sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to promote and encourage the involvement of women in entrepreneurship. The signing took place at the Agriculture Ministry’s offices located at Hope Gardens, St. Andrew, on Wednesday, November 1. Others (from left) are Director, Policy and Research, Bureau of Gender Affairs, Sharon Coburn Robinson; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Dr. Janice Lindsay; and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Donovan Stanberry.

Story Highlights

  • The Ministries of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, and Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) aimed at developing strategies and collaborative programmes that will promote and encourage the involvement of women in entrepreneurship.
  • The objective is to facilitate more opportunities for women in the micro, small and medium-size enterprise (MSME) sector.
  • Minister Grange said she believes that the initiatives to develop from the MOU will be successful, particularly with regard to access to loans.

The Ministries of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, and Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) aimed at developing strategies and collaborative programmes that will promote and encourage the involvement of women in entrepreneurship.

The objective is to facilitate more opportunities for women in the micro, small and medium-size enterprise (MSME) sector.

“We are pleased to be signatories to this MOU, which will allow for us to develop strategies to address the constraints affecting women in business,” said Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Minister, Hon. Olivia Grange.

“The agreement is designed to promote sustainable and productive entrepreneurial activities to generate income among disadvantaged women, particularly among those persons living in poverty,” she added.

She was speaking at the signing ceremony held at the Agriculture Ministry at Hope Gardens in St. Andrew on Wednesday (November 1).

Ms. Grange said the Ministry is concerned about the gender imbalance when it comes to opportunities for entrepreneurial pursuits.

She noted that historically, female entrepreneurs have faced many social and financial challenges in starting businesses, and many struggle to stay afloat.

She said that while there are no visible barriers to women’s access to the financial sector, too many of them, particularly rural women, are unable to access specific types of financing that are required to be successful entrepreneurs.

“The challenge, therefore, is to ensure that financial entities provide services which women can access freely, ensuring that there is a level playing field. Women need to have a voice… and an enabling environment to become successful entrepreneurs,” she pointed out.

Minister Grange said she believes that the initiatives to develop from the MOU will be successful, particularly with regard to access to loans.

“Statistics indicate that women tend to be more consistent at loan payment. This is true particularly of women in agriculture, who have a good track record in paying back agricultural and credit loans,” she noted.

Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Karl Samuda, for his part, said the opportunities to be provided for women under the MOU will redound to the country’s benefit.

“It will strengthen (our women), whose role in the family is paramount, and have influence in building the maturity and responsibility of youngsters… who will contribute to the growth and development of our nation,” he said.

As it relates to opportunities for financing, Minister Samuda said, “we are doing everything in our power to ensure that, through dialogue with our banking sector and the Development Bank of Jamaica, that the women play a prominent role as recipients of assistance in their businesses”.

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