Girlfriends Expo: getting better with age! 2 & 3 February – Concorde Experience

In four years with over 20,000 visitors and scores of exhibitors, Girlfriends Expo has continued on its rise to empowering women across Barbados and the world.

With the brand launching franchises in Bahamas this year and in the United Kingdom in 2014, the Girlfriends’ mission of “Empower, Educate and Entertain” has set its sights on becoming a global household phenomenon.

The brainchild of former pageant queen, Kimtara Clarke, the weekend exhibition was launched in 2009 to target the growing segment of professional women who needed a weekend getaway which was fun, educational and empowering.

Clarke said, “I think definitely over its 4 years, Girlfriend Expo is more recognised and is seen as an avenue for women to come out and showcase what women want and like. In terms of equality, within the exhibitors, there are more women coming into the fray and displaying their goods and services and we have seen this trend expanding in the Expo’s short existence.”

According to Clarke, the exhibition seeks to educate through its various seminars and workshops. “This is where we like to bring a light moment to the whole aspect of the traditional seminar or workshop which tends to be very heavy when promoted on their own, but within the Expo, you can come out and have a good time with your girlfriends and still take in a bit of education,” Clarke explained.

“In terms of the empowering and educating aspects of things, women still seem to be in a shell and shy and very withdrawn, and for this reason we decided to create the Girlfriends Foundation where we set out to have more one on one sessions in a more intimate setting where we can discuss with women those sensitive topics that you may not want to enter a big room and ask for help,” she added.

She continued, “We entertain with our stage shows, fashion, makeovers, comedy and karaoke all of these are aspects of the entertainment which we bring to our audience. All three, empower, educate and entertain can be found in the Expo each and every time.”

(FILE IMAGE - This year's Guest? Author: Eric Jerome Dickey) The Expo is not the only organisation which Clarke uses for women empowerment, its Girlfriends Foundation is the charitable arm of Girlfriends Inc, the parent body which also encompasses the Expo, and the soon-to-be launched Girlfriends TV Show.

(FILE IMAGE – This year’s Guest? Author: Eric Jerome Dickey) The Expo is not the only organisation which Clarke uses for women empowerment, its Girlfriends Foundation is the charitable arm of Girlfriends Inc, the parent body which also encompasses the Expo, and the soon-to-be launched Girlfriends TV Show.

Clarke explained the Expo was designed to raise funds for the Girlfriends Foundation registered charity #841, which provides young women between the ages of 14-35 with the support of proactive measures to build self esteem and confidence, and encourage self empowerment.

She outlined, “We say sometimes we put the cart before the horse with the fact that we launched the Expo first, we us then realising that more needed to be done for women on a whole.

Adding, “Outside of that, the Foundation seeks to help younger girls whether it is with furthering their education or just looking for that avenue to express themselves creatively. It was basically set up to handle those aspects on a year-round basis.

“To date, the Foundation has conducted seminars or “femi-nars” which we will look to develop more in 2013. We have also held the Phenomenal Women Awards celebrating the rise of women in Barbadian society, and looked at the empowerment and education of our young females through the upliftment of those who have made significant strides, large and small, to not only advance themselves but to build a future for others to follow.”

The Phenomenal Awards will take place in Bahamas this year.

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