Female business leaders blame Government for difficulties in operating in Jamaica
Andrew Harris, Gleaner Writer
The perceived role of women in the society and a lack of support from the Government are two of the main problems identified by local female entrepreneurs as they react to a ranking which shows the country as among the worst places for women to do business in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Jamaica ranked 20th out of the 20 Latin American and Caribbean countries surveyed by the Women's Entrepreneurial Venture Scope, a member of the Inter-American Development Bank Group.
And that is no surprise to local women, even as they accept that the island is generally difficult for business operators, no matter the gender.
HARD ALL AROUND
"Running a business in Jamaica is hard for both men and women," said Sandra Glasgow, former chief executive officer of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica and owner of Biz Tactics Ltd.
"The role of women in society has limited their potential in being effective entrepreneurs. The reason we ranked 20th in the category of social services is because the Government does not provide the adequate support for women to do business," added Glasgow.
Lorna Green, founding president of the Women Business Owners (WBO), which helps in the mentoring and assisting in the growth of women-owned business in Jamaica, agreed with Glasgow even as she argued that things that are currently in progress to better the environment for women entrepreneurs.
"It's hostile for both men and women to operate a business in Jamaica, but I am not surprised with the finding of the study.
"Based on a research the WBO did in 2006, funded by the United States Agency for International Development and the Mona School of Business, there were 10 or less well-established businesses owned by women in Jamaica," said Green.
"The facilitation and support that women should get from the Government to enable them to succeed needs to improve greatly," she added.
Green noted that businesses owned by women are mainly at the micro, small and medium-size enterprises level.
According to Green, the WBO is in the process of finishing a project funded by the Inter-American Development Bank, which started with 300 women who own small and medium-size businesses.
These women are being given training to expand their businesses and get help to obtain loans from the banks to fund the expansion.