Specific location of female business owners

  1. Female owned businesses in OECS (30%)
  2. Female owned businesses in Trinidad & Tobago (16%)
  3. Female owned businesses in Guyana (12%)
  4. Female owned businesses in Barbados (10%), Belize (10%) & Suriname (10%)
  5. Female owned businesses in Jamaica (8%)
  6. Female owned businesses in Bahamas (5%)

Main research objectives:

  1. To investigate whether the constraints facing women-led firms in the region vary according to their stage of development
  2. To investigate how these challenges change over time using a three-period panel dataset
  3. To develop an understanding of the causes of these challenges
  4. To provide evidence-based targeted recommendations for future programmatic and policy interventions to support women-led firms in the Caribbean

You can watch our full review of the research findings & methodology below:

Survey Methodology

Data for this research was collected using both qualitative & quantitative methods. The survey data was collected over three periods from 2015 to 2018.

1st Stage: Quantitative

Quantitative survey of 104 women-led firms from the WINC Acceleration Program;

2nd stage: Qualitative

25 interviews were completed:

  1. firms which had demonstrated most growth (13 firms)
  2. Compared to firms with static or declining growth (12 firms)
  3. All interviews were transcribed and thematic analysis done

Findings Tracer Survey 2018: Main Challenges

  1. Lack of Access to Growth Financing (62%)
  2. Lack of Suitable/Affordable Support Services (36%)
  3. Lack of Skilled Staff (36%)
  4. Lack of Access to Markets (31%)
  5. Lack of Access to Technology or Equipment (25%)

Across all three data points (Baseline Survey done at the entry to the Accelerator Programme in 2015; Survey done at the end/ Exit of the Programme in 2016 & the Tracer Survey done in 2018), two business challenge remained persistent:

  1. Lack of Access to Growth Financing (62%)
  2. Lack of Skilled Staff (36%)

Overall, it is clear that finance is the most prominent constraint for all firms, a situation mirrored for all firms in region as revealed by the Compete Caribbean PROTEqIN survey in 2014.  Not being able to access skilled staff is also a consistent challenge across all firms regardless of their level of growth. 

The main differences are seen in relation to lack of suitable/affordable business support services which is a top constraint for firms experiencing no growth or decreases, although this is not a noted constraint for growing firms. .

Main Policy recommendations from the qualitative & quantitative research:

  1. Development of a mixed Grant + Loan + Technical Assistance financial product targeting female business owners
  2. Lower interest rate loans & less Collateral requirement (“Something around 5% or 6%, I think would be doable.”)
  3. Development of Business Support Clinic: “Think of it as a business health clinic where you are looking at different areas of the business, (…and) having a check-up (like what) you do every year …for your body.”
  4. Easier access to credit for small & growth-oriented businesses. “When I first started out as self-employed, we had like (equivalent of US$10,000) in the business account. I went to the bank as an individual and said I would like to get a credit card (with) very minimal credit, (so) I can start building up my credit. And they said no because you’re too high risk, you’re female, you’re self-employed, you should probably get married, yeah.”
  5. Affordable business Insurance: “With first-hand experience of losing all her business, Charli NLS stressed the importance of “some insurance company offering some really good rates(…) where people could contribute (…) on a monthly basis.”

About the Research Sponsor

Compete Caribbean is a multi-donor facility whose objective is to support the Caribbean region in increasing productivity and Caribbean firms’ contribution to economic growth, by providing technical assistance for business climate reforms, clustering initiatives, and stimulating innovation in the Caribbean region.

The program, jointly funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID), the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the Government of Canada, supports projects in 13 Caribbean countries.

You can view & download a copy of the Presentation of Research findings below:

At Balcostics Research, our aim is to empower leaders with the required data & information to make better decisions. Our Research Management & Outsourcing services support Organizations & Consultants with project execution: Learn More

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