SWITZERLAND / BARBADOS – The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the International Trade Centre (ITC) have partnered to create the SheTrades Caribbean Hub, a resource centre to connect Caribbean women entrepreneurs to global markets and build a stronger trade network across the region.
On 26 September, after signing the Collaborative Agreement, the ITC and CDB launched the SheTrades Caribbean Hub in Bridgetown, Barbados. The Hub aims to boost market access for women-led businesses in the region through training and support in accessing finance and market opportunities.
In line with conclusions from ITC and CDB’s joint scoping mission to Guyana in June, during which local indigenous women entrepreneurs shared their challenges with scaling up and accessing new markets, the SheTrades Caribbean Hub will expand its service offerings to indigenous women.
The launch event included a regional symposium, where key stakeholders including Caribbean women-led businesses, representatives of regional business support organisations and private sector partners discussed strategies to tackle regional bottlenecks hindering women-led businesses from scaling up and exporting.
At the signing ceremony, Dr. Hyginus ‘Gene’ Leon, president of CDB, said:
“We are thrilled to embark on a partnership with ITC to implement the SheTrades Hub in the Caribbean region. CDB will significantly invest in the initiative to further assist women-owned and women-led small businesses in our borrowing member countries. This fulfils our commitment to ensure that the region, and female entrepreneurs in particular, benefit from the ITC SheTrades initiative.”
Highlighting CDB’s dedication to inclusive economic growth and gender equality, Dr Leon emphasized the importance of collaborating with ITC and other key partners to improve the global competitiveness and to enhance market access for women-led businesses. He also revealed that the Bank is aiming to support over 2,000 women-led small businesses through the regional SheTrades Hub by 2025.
Pamela Coke-Hamilton, ITC executive director, said:
“As a Jamaican, a Caribbean and woman leader who has worked across the local, regional and international trade ecosystem for decades, I am proud of what the Caribbean has so far achieved in terms of gender equality. Through the Hub, ITC is championing more inclusive growth and empowering more women entrepreneurs to succeed in global markets.”
As the host institution, CDB will provide administrative and operational support to the Hub, collaborating with business support organisations across the region and leveraging strategic partnerships with national entities within the SheTrades network.
Participation in the SheTrades Caribbean Hub offers benefits for women-owned businesses in CDB’s 19 Borrowing Member Countries, including:
Global Network: Connecting women entrepreneurs to a global network of like-minded businesswomen.
Technical Training: Access to free certified technical training programmes.
Networking and Investment Opportunities: Facilitating connections and opportunities for investment and partnerships.
Export Support: Assisting businesses in exploring international trade and export opportunities.
International Exposure: Participation in international tradeshows and events.
Established in 2015, the ITC SheTrades Initiative addresses barriers faced by women in accessing markets and participating in international trade. Operating through local institutions known as Hubs, SheTrades delivers in-country interventions to support women entrepreneurs. CDB’s USD 450,000 investment will finance technical support to operationalise the SheTrades Caribbean Hub and deliver programmes for women entrepreneurs between 2023 and 2025.