Sun | Oct 21, 2018

Women innovators for venture capital conference

Published:Wednesday | August 27, 2014 | 12:00 AM

The Development Bank of Jamaica Limited will host Venture Capital Conference 2014 at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston, on Tuesday, September 9. One of the highlights of the day is a panel discussion titled, 'Backing Women Entrepreneurs'.

It is interesting to note that companies founded by women account for only 13 per cent of United States venture capital- backed companies in 2013 (up from four per cent in 2004). One of the goals of the conference is that the panel discussion will produce information on some of the strategies to be employed so that women-owned businesses may access a sizeable share of the venture capital funding in Jamaica's emerging market.

The panellists will include Dr Winsome Leslie, a leading specialist of Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), who is a senior specialist in the Access to Finance Unit of the Multilateral Investment Fund, a private-sector window of the Inter-American Development Bank. In this capacity, she designs projects to support microfinance institutions and small-medium enterprises. She is also the coordinator in MIF headquarters of the project pipeline in the English-speaking Caribbean and Haiti.

Leslie is team leader for the Carib-Cap II project currently in implementation, which seeks to improve financial performance and outreach to microcredit clients, for microfinance institutions and credit unions in the English-speaking Caribbean.

Another panellist, Lorna Green, is the chief executive officer of Digital Transtec who ended her corporate career as a vice-president at Cable and Wireless (now LIME) in 1994 and became the first female founder and owner of a Jamaican information technology company, Digital Transtec Limited, which currently develops software for the aviation regulation and gaming industries.

She is also a convenor and founding president of Women Business Owners Limited; chairperson of the Central Information Technology Office and the Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC), in addition to being a member of several other boards.

Green will be among four other women entrepreneurs who will be exploring the strategies to be employed so that women-owned businesses may access a sizeable share of venture capital funding in Jamaica's emerging venture capital market.

20 years experience

Lisa Bell, managing director of the EXIM Bank, has more than 20 years experience in providing financial, analytical, project and general management expertise in both the private and public sectors. She has held key managerial positions in the financial-services sector and within the public sector. Along with her stellar management performance, Bell brings a wealth of knowledge of credit and financial services, especially as it relates to SMEs and the export sector.

Bell was the deputy president of the Jamaican Trade and Invest (JAMPRO) after contributing more than eight years to the national investment and export agency. Prior to that, she served as deputy general manager and general manager for Alpha Financial Services Limited and Victoria Mutual Investments Limited, respectively.

Yaneek Page is the founder and managing director of Future Services International Limited, a pioneering company in legal funding, litigant support and enterprise risk management training in Jamaica. A certified trainer in entrepreneurship, Page is also the creator and executive producer of 'The Innovators' business TV series, which transforms small businesses and promotes entrepreneurship to drive economic growth.

She has received many awards and accolades, including Female Business Leader of the Year in 2013 and a Nation Builder award in the category Women in Business in 2011. She was also an awardee of the prestigious Gleaner/PSOJ 50UnderFifty awards in 2012, which honoured business leaders under 50 years old.

Roxanne Wanliss is a young entrepreneur in the information and communication technology industry and among a group of young people who created Digital Jam 3.0 - Caribbean Edition. The initiative is the follow-up to the highly successful Digital Jam 2.0 mobile-app creation competition, the finals of which were held earlier this year.