Georgetown, Guyana – (October 9, 2017) Thirty-four participants, this morning, began their journey toward successful business ownership with the opening of the 21st Self-Reliance and Success in Business Workshop, organised by First Lady, Mrs. Sandra Granger. The opening ceremony for the one-week workshop was held at the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Mocha Arcadia.

Delivering the opening address, Attorney-at-law, Mr. James Bond, urged residents to take full advantage of the second chance that the workshop offers them. “Persons [have]… fantastic testimonials of what the workshop did for them… [The workshop] not only [gave] them an opportunity to see themselves in a whole different light, but also [gave] them a second chance to make themselves something of worth. You may have your own skill set. You may have some other training, but I guarantee… that this [is] something you’ve never done before and I want you to take full advantage of it,” he said.

The workshop, the product of collaboration between the Office of the First Lady and the Ministry of Social Protection, was designed to empower women by teaching them how to manage successful small businesses while maintaining balanced home lives and making valuable contributions to their immediate communities.

Chairman of the Mocha Arcadia Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC), Mr. Rudolph Adams commented on the relevance of the workshop and insisted that the participants, upon completion, share their education with their neighbours. “I think [that] this programme is a timely one for our community… This programme is an opportunity for us to be more capable and [to] build the capacity to [be our own] bosses. I… implore upon the participant[s], not only to gather as much information as you can, but to disseminate [that] information when you get back to your different communities… It is necessary that this information is spread,” he said.

Owner of Mellathanel Exquisite Designs, Ms. Valerie Martin, said that her expectations on what she will take away from the workshop are high. “I guess when I [leave] here I’ll [be] more innovative in the competitive world as I continue to do my market research so as to enhance my business to a level where I [can] call myself second-to-none,” she said. Ms. Martin went on to commend the First Lady on her passion for women’s empowerment. “I feel so overwhelmed and overjoyed to know that Her Excellency, the First Lady, is interested in women… Indeed, when women are empowered, the whole family and community [are] empowered… The country at large… will benefit from what women have learned,” she said.

The workshop has seen a total of more than 700 graduates from every region in the country. Thirty-three women and one man from Mocha, Friendship, Peter’s Hall and Eccles attended the workshop’s opening. The ceremony was chaired by Lieutenant Colonel (ret’d) Yvonne Smith of the Office of the First Lady, and is being facilitated by Interweave Solutions (Guyana) Incorporated representatives, Mr. Sanjay Pooran and Ms. Crystal Baptiste.

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