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Jamaica, T&T friendly to female entrepreneurs

Published:Wednesday | July 31, 2013 | 12:00 AM

Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago have been ranked among 20 in Latin America and the Caribbean that provide the best environments for female entrepreneurs, according to a new tracking index.

The two were the only CARICOM countries to feature in the top ranks of the debut edition of the Women's Entrepreneurial VentureScope Index (WEVenture Scope) released by the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), and developed by the Economist Intelligence Unit. MIF is a member of with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) group.

The WEVentureScope analyses the factors that promote or hinder the success of women-owned micro, small and medium enterprises. It is the first comprehensive and standardised assessment of the region's enabling environment for women seeking to start and grow businesses.

the rankings

According to the survey, Jamaica is ranked 12, while Trinidad and Tobago placed 18th.

The survey found that Chile, Peru, Colombia, Mexico and Uruguay provide the best environments for female entrepreneurs in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The WEVentureScope examines and scores 20 countries in the five areas that most affect women's entrepreneurship: business operating risks, including macroeconomic risks, security, and corruption; the entrepreneurial business environment, including costs and regulatory requirements associated with starting businesses; access to finance, including the availability and use of formal financial products by women; capacity and skills, including educational advancement by women and availability of business skills training.

"Latin American women are among the most entrepreneurial on the globe, but are still greatly underrepresented as owners of SMEs," said MIF General Manager Nancy Lee.

"We, at the MIF and the IDB, are committed to supporting women entrepreneurs throughout the region. The WEVentureScope will help us better understand what the obstacles are and how they can be addressed."

Overall, the WEVentureScope finds that Latin America and the Caribbean score relatively well for educational and business training opportunities for women; in nearly all countries, more than 50 per cent of post-secondary education graduates are women, and more than half of the countries analysed offer access to business networks.

At the same time, women's access to personal and business finance is relatively poor in the region. In the majority of countries studied, less than a third of women had saved money in a financial institution within the past year, and banks finance only about 20 per cent of their business needs, the MIF added.