US Embassy helping to empower women to realise their entrepreneurial dreams in Grand Bahama


SAMANTHA ROLLE, executive director of the Small Business Development Centre, said the partnership with the US Embassy is helping vulnerable groupings in society. Photo: Vandyke Hepburn


Tribune Staff Reporter


THE US Embassy is helping women in Grand Bahama realise and achieve their entrepreneurial dreams through its Academy of Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) programme.

A welcome reception was held for participants at the Pelican Bay Resort this week as a new group prepares to begin its 17-week course on Wednesday.

Suemayah Abu-Doleh, public affairs officer at the US Embassy, reported that over 300 Bahamian women have passed through the programme since its inception.

“The US Embassy is committed to empowering women entrepreneurs, and we want to help give women who are interested in entrepreneurship a leg up,” she said.

“We have over 300 alumni of this programme, and this year, we wanted to focus on a class outside the capital and put our attention and resources into building up the economy. We have seen in Grand Bahama that it is slowly and surely been improving after Hurricane Dorian and the US Embassy wants to be a part of that.”

Ms Abu-Doleh said the US Embassy has partnered with the Small Business Development Centre to help 50 women in observance of the 50 years of US relations with the Bahamas.

Through the programme, she said the women would be provided resources and education on how to build their business plans, how to access resources and grow their businesses to succeed in Grand Bahama.

Samantha Rolle, executive director of SBDC, said the partnership with AWE has been beneficial, especially in assisting vulnerable groupings of entrepreneurs, including women, young people, and the disabled.

At the end of the programme, she said there would be a pitch competition where participants could win $5,000 in grant funding.

“The 17-week programme will provide training to help turn their dreams into profits. But the great thing is the level of networking and collaboration they will gain through the experience that can boost their entrepreneurial endeavours,” she said.

Ms Rolle believes such a programme in Grand Bahama is pivotal and critical “because Grand Bahama needs that boost and we are focused on Family Island development and Grand Bahama.”


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