BA 1 project participants finally receive their grants
Monday, February 15th, 2016
On Friday, February 5th, 34 women from San Pedro, Ambergris Caye finally received their long awaited grants to start or expand their businesses. After graduating in May of 2015 from a three week- training seminar designed for victims of domestic violence and human trafficking, the participants were to receive a monetary assistance in order to be more self-sufficient and independent. That assistance did not happen instantly as promised, which led to the belief by many of the participants that it would never materialize. After several inquiries from the participants, pleas through the media and couple of meetings, the women have finally received their grants. Now the town can look forward to a variety of new business ventures to begin.
The official ceremony for the handover of funds took place shortly after 12:30PM at the SunBreeze Hotel conference room. Participants were treated to a reception while members of the Belize Training and Employment Centre, the International Organization for Migration and the Small Business Development Centre of Belize, briefed them on what they are expected to do with their business plans with the help of the funds. The participants received between $3,000 and $4,000 to assist them in starting their new businesses.
Business plans to flourish
One of the recipients is looking forward to opening a jewelry shop which will provide authentic silver and gold pieces. She is travelling out of the country to get her first batch of jewelry items. After finding a location in town. Some of the women who benefited from the program already have established their businesses, especially along the beach where they sell jewelry pieces made of semi-precious stones and conch shells. In order to minimize their expenses in acquiring the finished product, they plan to get a machine so they can make the cuts to the shell and stone jewelry by themselves. Another of the participants is looking into opening the first only-purse store. Patrons will be able to choose from a great variety of purses, different colors and sizes. There will be a purse for every female, and if they don’t have it they will get it for you.
In the food business, a new deli is expected to open in Northern Ambergris Caye. One of the grant recipients, who had been working in getting her startup, will now be able to fully develop her eating place. Another eatery will also be opening in the DFC area, dealing with seafood. A local ceviche bar and grill will give customers the option to avoid the long trips to downtown for some delicious ceviche. The food business does not stop there, as another of the women plans to open a pastry shop in town.
A resident of the San Juan area has observed what the main demand in town is and according to her is room rentals. She is looking forward to finishing works in a number of rooms which will then be rented out. The rooms are just in need of basic furniture and beds she said. Another business idea that will be taking shape is in the hospitality area. Another of the happy recipients has already acquired a massage table and in the coming weeks she looks forward to establishing herself. And for the party lovers, there is a shop coming up which will have all types of accessories for any occasion. The business will soon be making its announcement of location and how to place orders.
With so many bright ideas and the financial assistance now available, the women are expected to perform well and apply what they learned in the training they participated in. Personnel from the Small Business Development Centre of Belize and the other organizations that assisted in the disbursements of the grants will be making routine checks on the development of their businesses and ensure that the funds are spent on the proposed business plans. At the same time, it will provide the women an opportunity for the participants to seek additional assistance if they may need through the said entities.
The first visit to see the development of their business plans will be on Monday, February 29th. The place and time of the visit is yet to be announced.
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