(PointeXpress)A workshop specially designed for female entrepreneurs in the agro-processing space has just concluded with participants giving the training an enthusiastic ‘thumbs up.’ Workshop Coordinator, Craig Thomas, of the International Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture (IICA), said they catered for twenty women agro-processors and five youth entrepreneurs, but more than twenty women attended.
One participant, Didi Russell whose business, The Salt Patch, utilizes Barbudan sea salt to produce several items, said she has been utilizing the sea salt for years, but got the inspiration to utilize it in other products. Her products include seasoning, candles, sea salt, soaps, and body scrubs. According to Russell, the module dealing with marketing was for her, the most important one.
“As explained to us, the population of Antigua and Barbuda was just 100,000, but we receive more than 600,000 visitors a year, and that is also part of my market. So, my focus now is to move beyond the local market to tap into this larger market of visitors to the country,” she emphasized.
She added that the area of standards was also very informative as the importance of producing safe products for final consumption, as well as the need to ensure that the process of producing the products is at a high level.
One of the youth participants, Jahliah Jackson, of the Young Antigua and Barbuda’s Entrepreneurs Stewardship Group, started her business in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. Her products are lip gloss and similar products utilizing natural ingredients and local fruits. She said marketing and the pricing of products were two key areas for her.
“I think that this is really important, because as young entrepreneurs we would just throw any price out there and say that’s the price. However, you must account for the price of the ingredients and your input when setting the prices for your products,” Jackson observed.
Nekima Williams of Kima Delectable Treats also shared her observations about the workshop. She described it as ‘very informative,’ noting that she too gained much knowledge and new insights from attending the training.
“For us, the more than twenty ladies who attended the workshop, it was a good learning exercise and I hope that it is something that continues not only for female agro-processors but for others in this space,” she added.
The workshop was funded by the UN Trust Fund, UN Women, and the International Labour Organisation and implemented by IICA.