Minister Hughes Remarks at the Empretec Training and Sensitization Programme for Female Entrepreneurs

Empretec Training and Sensitization Programme for Female Entrepreneurs

Monday July 16, 2018 @ 11.30 am

Pegasus Hotel, Guyana

Topic: “Role of Women in Economic Diversification”

Salutations:

  • Company Secretary, Judy Joseph
  • GMSA Director, Carol Webster
  • All of you strong, determined women in Empretec’s “Venture Out” and Entrepreneurship training networks
  • Representatives of the Small Business Bureau …
  • Private Sector Business Support and other Organizations
  • Friends all …

I am very happy that Empretec remains so determined to ensure that Guyanese women are equipped with the right tools and the know-how to start your own businesses, to expand, to grow, and to stop believing that certain areas of business are for men alone – like Information Communication Technologies.

I want you to know that women are definitely in charge of the developed and developing world, except, of course, some countries in the East and in Africa. In Guyana we can definitely say that the nation is turning around and changing the old systems and laws and societal expectations that used to exist here.

That system is known as PATRIARCHAL. It simply refers to a society that is dominated by males in business, religion, social interactions, public and private sector services, construction of buildings and infrastructure, and most other aspects of life.

But you already know that this world of today belongs to women. Beyonce sang about it just a few years ago. The song asks: “Who run the world? Answer – Girls”.

Now I’d like to bring your minds back to present day Guyana and see if you could identify any field of work where you don’t see a single woman:

  • Garbage collecting and sorting?
  • Owning a Supermarket or shop?
  • Flying airplanes?
  • Working deep in the rainforests to protect our precious, rare wildlife?
  • Landscaping the streets in the city and towns?
  • Functioning as Mayors and Regional Councillors?
  • Repairing the heavy duty excavators for the mining industry?
  • Painting buildings?
  • Trailblazing the ICT industry as website designers and creators of new apps?

Is there any profession where you don’t see women working, or supervising, or managing, or owning the business? I say that there is not.

There is a very old poem from the 1800’s that identifies women as the main forces that bring about change in the world. The main line in that poem is: THE HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE IS THE HAND THAT RULES THE WORLD! The first stanza goes like this:

Blessings on the hand of women!
Angels guard its strength and grace.
In the palace, cottage, hovel,
no matter where the place …
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world.

That poem was written in the 19th Century, Ladies. We are now in the 21st Century. Over the last 200 years, the roles of women have gained much more importance and now the spotlight is trained on our Guyanese women to make sure that you have the knowledge to step into any field of endeavour you want, whether it is opening a new factory to manufacture all kinds of soap, or a full-service spa, a tourist guide service, or a vehicle repair shop.

There is absolutely nothing to prevent you from succeeding. The relationship you already have with Empretec and perhaps with the Small Business Bureau, IPED, the national Standards Bureau or the Guyana Office for Investment, has already set you on the road to fulfilling the potentials of your business for yourself, your community and the country as a whole.

Allow me, in my capacity as Minister responsible for Telecommunications, to say that in today’s world of business, almost nothing can be done without the input of technology. No matter what your product or service is, you need the Internet for many reasons, e.g:

  • To market your products both in-country and all over the world
  • To search for other methods of producing whatever you make
  • To join the networks of similar business owners around the world so you could exchange ideas … or you could even start your own network
  • To learn how to expand your product range with the least expense
  • To find out where you can buy some of your materials, whether in Guyana or overseas
  • And the comments that your customers may make online will help you to correct shortcomings, and they will ensure that you maintain the high quality of your products and services

Guyanese women are no longer holding back. I notice that you are more committed than ever to get involved; to make your own dreams become reality; to create employment for our young people; and to keep Guyana visible around the world.

All eyes have zeroed in on this country since oil and gas were discovered in commercial quantities in 2015. Many investors from as far away as China and Australia want a stake in Guyana’s oil, and they are coming here to assess the possibilities.

These investors (and potential investors) bring with them many opportunities for Guyanese people to get involved. In these early stages, many, many opportunities are available to our small to medium scale business owners to participate in the new oil and gas industry – in hospitality, catering and tourism services; as well as repairs and maintenance for vehicles, boats, and large and small heavy duty equipment.

Guyanese women have proven that they CAN. I say again that the best way to achieve your goals is with Information Communication Technologies and the Internet.

Thank You.

Minister Cathy Hughes.