CAPRI’s public forum, Closed for Business: Barriers to Women's Entrepreneurship, was held on Wednesday, November 20, 2019, at the UWI Mona Visitors Lodge. Mrs. Ethnie Miller Simpson, President, Women Entrepreneurs Network of the Caribbean (WENC); Mrs. Beverly Darby Collins, Senior Director, Social Services/home Economics Unit, Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA); and Mr. Hugh Johnson, President, Small Business Association of Jamaica (SBAJ) were invited to join Dr. Damien King, CAPRI's Executive Director, in the panel discussion. The evening’s discussion was moderated by Mr. George Davis.
Dr. King shared the statistics of preconceptions regarding possible obstacles to women’s entrepreneurship, most of these were debunked. Self-confidence, absence of mentorship, lack of knowledge and absence of a support group; all failed to explain the barriers. Remarkably, the significant barrier found from the research was access to finance. Traditional banks tend to offer more loans to men than female, men are taken more seriously and women tend to be more successful with getting a loan from a micro financial institution
The presentation concluded with Dr. King recommending the establishment of a transaction and collateral registry. This inexpensive database enables the credit market to work effectively. The promotion of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and getting technical support with the database was encouraged.