“When you educate a man you educate an individual, when you educate a woman, you educate a nation”.
This popular quote, said President of Soroptimist International of Barbados (SI Barbados), Amanda Lynch-Foster, communicates the mission and purpose of the club’s Sister Forward Academy which was launched last Saturday, October 1, 2022.
“As it so happens in 2019 and 2020 just before the pandemic, the Soroptimist club had decided to turn the focus of our Sister Put Your Best Foot Forward professional development workshops to focus on female entrepreneurs and this was because of the economic situation in the country at the time. During the pandemic it was clear that this kind of capacity building was becoming even more needed as more and more women joined the ranks of entrepreneurship,” added the service club’s President.
She outlined that SI Barbados had carefully curated a series of free masterclasses spread over the next five months that will home in on the most popular and most requested topics from previous years.
These topics include Legal Foundations for Small Business, Strategic Social Media Marketing, Public Relations for Small Businesses, Financial Management and Planning and Funding and Investment for Small Businesses.
Presenters include Marcia Armstrong, financial coach and owner of A Purpose Life, social media expert Tracy Highland, owner of Jill Media, Aprille Thomas, Director of Public Relations and Communications at the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, attorney-at-law Sade Jemmott, founder of Sade Jemmott Consulting and MSME Coordinator at the Caribbean Development Bank, Lisa Harding.
She told the group: “We have given you only the best in this series and we hope that we make a real material impact on the ability of the women here today to be able to thrive and grow their businesses. And in so doing we look forward to seeing the multiplier effect throughout our society because … when women run businesses are successful the success is felt on a much wider scale.”
“We are all at different stages, but we are here today because we want to do something different or we want something more,” Armstrong told the group. “It’s a personal investment towards financial stability for most of us because we understand that if we truly want to create generational wealth, that one way is through business. Your network is your net worth…so you must take advantage of this today…because you might be sitting next to a collaborator, a supplier or someone who could offer your business a service.”
She added that to be successful you could not operate in your comfort zone and urged the ladies to start thinking like a CEO even if they were still working their 9-5 jobs or even at the initial stages of their entrepreneurial journey.
“You cannot have an employee mindset to run a business. It will not work. If you do that then you become a slave to your business when it is supposed to set you free,” she warned.
The financial strategist broke down the characteristic of failed businesses:
• Insufficient capital
• Poor record keeping and controls
• Improper pricing
• Uncontrolled growth
• Poor cash management
Speaking at the close of the master class, Armstrong reflected on the enthusiasm and focus of the women entrepreneurs present the first session, stating:
“When a woman is given a dollar she uplifts her family, community and society. This was seen in the high level of engagement experienced at the inaugural session of the Academy. Many experiences were shared and questions posed, especially about pricing. As an entrepreneur myself and financial coach, my mission is to empower women to charge what they’re worth for their products and services.”