Women’s Business Group
Name of organization:
Women’s Business Group Foundation (WBG)
The Women’s Business Group Foundation (WBG) was established on May 11, 1993 and is registered in the Public Registry Foundation under number 1076.
In 1998, the Office of the Women’s Business Group established as executive arm of the foundation.
From 1998 till 2003 WBG was a partner of NOVIB OXFAM HOLLAND.
From January 2004, the WBG is fully self supportive.
Address: Frederick Derby straat # 64 b, Paramaribo
Opening hours: Monday to Friday from 08.00 am – 15.00 pm
The Women’s Business Group aims to strengthen the productive capacity of female and male entrepreneurs, with a special focus on youth, who conduct business nationally and internationally as a means to facilitate social and economic development in Suriname and to alleviate poverty.
The achievement of its mission to realize through the provision of entrepreneurial training, provision of mediation and / or consultancy services, carry out community development projects and technical assistance.
- Entrepreneurs, in particular women entrepreneurs in both domestic, district and hinterland.
- Community Based Organizations (CBO’s)
- Grass Root Organizations
- Communities in the interior and the districts
The main purpose of the WBG is poverty alleviation through the promotion of (innovative) entrepreneurship and “Social Enterprises”.
1. Advisory services and counseling to women, women’s groups, CBO’s, youngsters, who wish to start a company.
2. Training of entrepreneurs in general and specific skills.
3. The identification of (micro) finance and facilitating micro-entrepreneurs.
4. Offer services and products of the members via the WBG website
5. Bring the entrepreneurs in touch with and provide information on the application of simple technologies to increase their production capacity.
6. Assistance in project development and monitoring.
7. Assisting individuals, organizations and communities in both district and hinterland in the creation and strengthening of productive capacities.
8. Initiating networks in various economic sectors (textiles, food industry, agro processing, handicraft, agriculture, (eco) tourism, etc.)
9. Mediation between NGO’s, CBO’s and donors in project financing.
10. Empower CBOs and NGOs and technical assistance in setting up Social Enterprises .
11. Organizing workshops for capacity building of organizations.
12. Organization of networking meetings, trade fairs, exhibitions and conferences for the audience.
13. The publication of a “Business Guide” containing all kinds of business information on entrepreneurship at the national and international level. (Bi-lingual)
The WBG has of 2009, a membership of approximately 350 members (contributing and non-contributing).
Advisory Board: - – Dr. Mrs. U. Lemen (Professor Anton de Kom University)
- Mrs. A. Singh (consultant)
- Mr. A. Liaw Kie Fa (Surinamese Tax Administration office)
Executive boardmembers: - Mrs. Lilian Wiebers – President
- Mrs. Zaria Enig – Vice-President
- Mrs. Marion Stekkel-Vroom – Treasurer
- Mrs. Angela Sluisdom – Secretary
-Maria Chin Avila – commissaris Projects
All board members are entrepreneurs within various branches.
Managing Director Micro-credit Unit : Cornelly Olivieira
Financial assistant: mevr . Coats
Staff (Full-time):6 1 office manager
Staff (part time): Freelance staff on a project basis;
working with university and college students
The Women’s Business Group works with local, regional and international organizations where one or more of its objectives also pursued.
The services are divided into the following Units
1. The Business Advisory and Training Unit (BAT-Unit).
The services of this unit are:
- Writing business plans or coaching to writing the BP
- Advice and guidance in specific business problems
- Credit intermediation
- Training sessions focused on entrepreneurship
2. Project Development and Support Unit (POB-Unit)
The services of this unit are:
- Assistance in identifying projects
- Applications of funds for projects
- Implementing and monitoring projects of the client.
3. The Unit Production Technology (Pro-Tech)
This unit provides the applicant information on simple technology to increase production and improve quality especially in the food and agriculture industry. Where necessary and desirable, the WBG arbitrate purchase.
4. The Low Income Shelter Program (LISP) Unit
The Women’s Business Group is one of the NGO’s that partners with the program for coordination and implementation focused on the support of Lisp grant applicants.
5. The Micro-credit Unit (MKU)
This unit is an independent operating unit with its own management, providing micro-credits to individuals and groups .The unit focuses not only on financial issues, but offers through the involvement of other WBG units non-financial support such as training and coaching.
Expertise of the Women’s Business Group
1. The WBG has persons / experts with HBO / University work and think level and developmental background. These persons / experts also have macro-economic knowledge as well as technical, financial and business knowledge and experience including in the textile sector, food processing, hospitality services, agriculture and handicraft.
2. The WBG has over 10 years experience in community development, particularly sustainable income generating activities.
3. The WBG is familiar with participatory methods such as Participatory Appraisal (PRA and Rapid Rural Appraisal (RRA)
4. The WBG works frequently in the districts and hinterland and is therefore familiar with the traditions of the communities.
5. The WBG supported communities in the removal of unsanitary water and sanitation problems and is certified PAHO regarding the building of Ventilation Improved (VIP)latrines.
Below is a list of some projects / activities undertaken by the WBG in the interior are carried out.
1. Institutional strengthening women’s organization “Lobi Ku Pasensi”
In 2003 (June 10, 2003) WBG was invited by the domestic women’s organization “Lobi Ku Pasensi” to a field visit.
During March 8 celebrations 2003, a board member of this organization approached WBG with the request for support of the organization. They were in need of training for the board members, guidance towards legal status for the organization and improvement of social and economical circumstances. WBG supported them in writing a project proposal that could be handed to a potential donor.
2. Low Income Shelter
The Women’s Business Group belonged to one of the NGOs that the Low Income Shelter Program (LISP) to help coordinate and implement in the districts and the Interior of Paramaribo. The WBG supports communities in district and hinterland to collective requests of subsidy by the LISP to improve their living conditions. Santigron, Harlem, a few places in Commewijne, Alfons Village and Pet’ondro (Marowijne) Powakka, some Para plantations Coronie, Wageningen, are some of these.
Klaaskreek, Kapasikele, New Lombe and Mujekriki
1. Sustainible Livelihood Project for Women
Commissioned by UNIFEM in 1999/2000 was a pilot project implemented in the district Brokopondo. In this project a total of 65 women participated in 4 different villages (see above villages). The aim of this project was to use application of the Sustainable Livelihood Approach to achieve sustainable development.
On the following manner WBG anticipated on this sustainable development:
To encourage women, who had low income or no sustainable job to create, increase productivity and better opportunities to develop, to provide in a stable way a life for themselves and their families.
Some of the trainings that were provided during this project are:
-Fine cuisine and pastry baking
The group founded a embroidery cooperative called “Fo A Wan”, i.e. “Women from 4 villages together”. The women embroider clothing with traditional marron patterns. These garments are sold in Paramaribo and other places. The women even have their own clothing brand.
1. Set up a women’s training center / Kindergarten and lodging facility
In October 2004, the Women’s Center in Klaaskreek / Brokopondo, was delivered. This project is financed from funds made available by the Embassy of Japan in Suriname and should be seen as a “spin-off effect of the UNIFEM project for sustainable poverty reduction in 2000 was carried out by the WBG.
1. Quilt project together with Peace Corps
In the year 2002 the staff of the WBG was strengthen by a volunteer of the Peace Corps who trained the women of the village of Klein Powakka in manufacturing quilts. The women became very professional in this skill and produced high quality products which found their way to Paramaribo, USA, and Holland. They were also coached and trained by the WBG in negotiation techniques, procurement of materials and promotion of their product. The WBG was the women’s group further guidance in entrepreneurship and marketing skills. In May 2006, they have after completing the training, presented their new collection in Paramaribo (Centro Andres Bello). Meanwhile, a donor funds for the construction of a workshop where women can come together for production. This building, which is on the mainroad to Afobakka, will also serve as retail space.
Marshallkreek, Nieuw Koffiekamp, BalingSoela, Brownsweg, New Lombe, Klaaskreek (district Brokopondo)
1. Capacity Building Training
In August 2003, the board of WBG had a meeting with staff of Rosebel Gold Mines NV in Suriname for the submission of a bid for capacity building training for communication committees Brokopondo.
Rosebel Gold Mines NV, a Canadian company in Suriname in the goldmining sector, directed by way of effective consultation with six communities in the surrounding villages, communication committees (cc’s) within the work area. These committees have a communication intermediary role between the community and Rosebel Gold Mines NV.
Communication committees in the following 6 above mentioned villages in the district Brokopondo were installed.
These committees act as a communication contact between Rosebel Gold Mines NV and the villagers. The company is responsible for ensuring the economic and social development of the surrounding villages within their scope. In discussions with these committees, representatives from village revealed that the committee members should be strengthened to boost their role and function properly, efficiently and effectively to accomplish.
The training is designed to give members of the cc’s training in organization, management and leadership skills to their mission and to the proper working of the economic and social development within their communities. The cc will also be in the guide to take legal action regarding their status and legal personality Negotiating Techniques included teaching one of the training components. The cc will have to link with other organizations, will they have to negotiate the interests of their community. The negotiation skills will also play a major role.
Isadu Jaw and Jaw (district Sipaliwini – Upper Suriname river)
1. Field visit / orientation visit
In the year 2002, a delegation of Novib visited Suriname for a evaluation meeting with its partners. The evaluation was held at Isadu, an island in the Upper Suriname River. WBG immediately take the opportunity to renew to the surrounding villages to visit. This visit was meant to give the residents information about the work of the WBG.
Pikin Slee and Ston Abena (district Sipaliwini – Upper Suriname river)
Pikin Slee and Abenaston (district Sipaliwini – Upper Suriname river)
1. Exploratory field visit
Through the intervention of IICA 2 members of the WBG accompanied by 2 members of IICA, 2 and 4 November, 2002 were on an exploratory field visit to the inland villages Pikinslee and Abena Ston.
The purpose of this visit was a tour of the IICA activities there and the identification of communities and women groups who might be involved in the commercial project to be carried out by the POB unit (herbal baths and herbal species).
1. training “Management, Marketing and Quality” (1998)
This training was in collaboration with the organization Black Migrant and Refugee Women (the Netherlands). The purpose of this training was to help entrepreneurs from Suriname in key skills to reach a professional business.
The same training “Management, Marketing and Quality improvement was organized in the hinterland. This training was through image material (in symbols) and was provided for non-skilled women in the interior.
In the year 1999, the Women’s Business Group mobilized the women who had participated in the training “Management, Marketing and Quality” mobilized and supported them to participate in the Agro Fair in Paramaribo. This fair is specially meant for the agricultural sector and is organized annually by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The women were learned in practice and refine.
2.Entrepreneurial information meeting
The Women’s Business Group has organized several meetings for the women of Moengo. The purpose of these briefings was to make women aware of their potential and to encourage professional women’s entrepreneurship.
1. Cassava Processing Project
In the year 2000 the WBG paid a visit to the processing of cassava by Mrs. Leewani called “A Fosi Wan. Mrs. Leewani is a member of the WBG and the request to be accompanied in the professionalization of her business. During the field visit are agreed with Mrs Leewani and layout of the current production method (manual production). On the basis of these data is the WBG searched for opportunities and funding to the company through technology to modernize. There is a project profile written and sent to Bocari NV, a Dutch engineering company. This company will try to find funding for the establishment of a cassava-processing project, the company of Mrs. Leewani a pilot will be used. It will also try to provide technical assistance to get by TNO in the Netherlands.
Galibi – (district Marowijne)
1. Guidance in setting up a Bakery
The WBG provides courses and Bread and pastry Baking. The aim of these courses to provide women of knowledge and skills so they can increase their income potential. After the training one participant decided to set up a Bakery in Galibi. With the necessary guidance and advice of the BAT-Unit of the WBG, she is now a successful entrepreneur in Galibi and even exports bread and pastry to the other villages nearby(French Guyana).
Abadukondre (distr. Marowijne)
1. Training under the ABA project
In October 2004 between the PAS and the WBG an agreement for the conduct of two training sessions to the target group of the PAS under the ABA project.
The ABA project is an income generating, production and eco-tourism project. This project is carried out for the villages become Akale, Berm and Abadoe.
These trainings were implemented in 2005 by the WBG. 1. Training beauty (hand-nail and foot care)
2. Training Kniples and basic repair sewing machine (in short referred to as the textile training)
Kwamelasemutu (distr. Sipaliwini)
In 2008, the WBG was contracted by Conservation International Suriname for execution of components of the Guyana Sustainable Tourism Development Project namely :
Component 1: Development of tourism products and services, including craft.
Component II: Training in tourism and business administration and enterprise development.
Component III: promotion of tourism opportunities associated with South Suriname and dissemination of the project results.
This project was completed in December 2008 with a workshop, a film and recommendations.
Nickerie – district Nickerie
In 2008, the Embassy of the Netherlands in Suriname financed a project for monitoring and setting up a banana and pepper processing unit for the women of the polder communities Nickerie. The Mother’s Heart Foundation, which, apart from its social tasks, helps to reduce poverty among the polder communities by creating income-generating activities under the guidance of the WBG as project-managing organization, on behalf of the donor. The spin-off of this project are generated funds for creation of a rural cyber which is already operational.
A business plan in preparation for a “social enterprise” so that the organization will not only have its income-generating activities, but can also gain on its own resources for social projects for the co
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