NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (APRIL 11, 2022) — Twelve women from the St. James’ Parish were awarded for their involvement in business at the St. James’ Women of Entrepreneurial Excellence Awards, an event hosted by Hon. Hazel Brandy-Williams on April 07, 2022, at the Indian Summer restaurant in Cades Bay.
Of the 12 awardees, six have been operating businesses in the parish for many years. They are Esmie Parris of Esmie’s Sunrise; Claudette Walwyn of Sweet O’ Savory; Paulette Fredericks of Somewhere Kitchen & Bar; Dalia Maynard of Double Scope; Valencia Griffin of Compassionate Touch; and Beverly Knowles of Tiny’s Burgers and Fries. The remaining six are budding entrepreneurs hair stylist Tara Jones of Braided by Tara; Cassie Hicks of Cassie’s Delight, specialising in cakes and pastry; nail technician Amelia Jones of AJ’s Nail Xpressions; Monique Washington of The Que Moni Brand (QUE), specialising in skin care products; Kimoye Wyatt of Kim’s Décor; and Clouste Dore of DeLuscious Treats by Chloe.
In her remarks, Mrs. Brandy-Williams congratulated the awardees for their leadership roles in business in the parish and encouraged them to help others to follow in their footsteps.
“I want to say congratulations to all the awardees here this evening. You are being awarded at this event because we want you to carry the mantle for the businesses in the St. James’ community, and we want you to be the first to put your hands back and help another sister to start their own business as well.
“May each one of you encourage another woman or another girl to start their own business so that we can all add to the economic advancement of ourselves, our community and our country,” she said.
Mrs. Brandy-Williams, an advocate for gender equality said the award ceremony was the first of its kind and part of a larger initiative she expects to introduce shortly.
“I am in the process of launching an NGO called REACH. It stands for Rural Entrepreneurs Advocating for Change. We have to change the status quo. Too long the business centre surrounds men. Women have to penetrate that circle because we too could become successful entrepreneurs.
“The idea behind this initiative is to assist women and girls to start, grow and maintain businesses. We have to build economic independence, and I want to say that again, as women, we have to build economic independence. When you are independent economically you are independent on all the other levels and so we must start somewhere, and it is only through owning your businesses that we would we be able to accomplish this.
“This NGO will seek to forge business linkages, assist in grant writing for funding, organising training, host conferences and all this is in an effort to help our young entrepreneurs grow and develop,” she said.
Mrs. Brandy-Williams noted that while women are being empowered to greatness and are moving up the ladder, it is important for them to bring the girls along. Women, she stated, have the essential qualities to build a sustainable future. However, she encouraged them to continue to call for gender equality.
“Women, yes, we have the qualities. We have what it takes to communicate. We have what it takes to empower and most importantly we have what it takes to work hard. We are all hard-working women.
“It is also important that we continue to make a case for gender parity and gender equality to ensure that both women and men, boys and girls have access to the same opportunities, finances and economic prosperity,” she said.
While Mrs. Brandy-Williams hailed the contribution of women in leadership the world over, she said in recent times the world has witnessed more women in leadership positions and they are making their presence felt in entrepreneurship, education, engineering, health, all aspects of management.
“I proudly salute all women who are now willing to change the status quo that limits us to function solely as homemakers, and cleaners. I loudly salute all women who are breaking the traditional glass ceiling that once barred us from entering leadership positions but who are now powerful leaders and entrepreneurs,” she said.
Other remarks were made by Ms. Latoya Jeffers, while the feature address was delivered by Ms. Rhonda Nisbett-Browne. Mr. Mario Philip delivered a prayer and served as chairman for the event.