Faced with dwindling economic activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more women in Seychelles are being encouraged to try a new business venture thanks to specially allocated funding through the Seychelles Women's Trust Fund.
"Given the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on people's lives, especially at the economic level, the trust has modified the focus of its 2020 campaign to support women individually or in groups who are involved in, or who wish to set up, small- or medium-scale economic activities that use local resources to offer a product or service to the public," Janick Bru, the secretary of the trust, told SNA.
Bru said by email that women are being asked to be innovative and that emphasis is being put on maximizing the use of locally available products to remove pressure on foreign exchange.
"I must emphasize that we want to re-energise our local industry and encourage people to buy local and stop the importation of items that can be made here for the local market," stressed Bru.
The aim of the Seychelles Women's Trust Fund is to provide access to resources to invest in capacity building aimed at developing self-reliance and leadership and entrepreneurial skills. It also supports innovative and practical initiatives aimed at solving social-related problems affecting women in the community.
Marie Celine Zialor head of the Entrepreneurship Department at the Guy Morel Institute said that this generally a good initiative.
"It is much-needed resources that women involved in economic activities need especially now with so many uncertainties not only in Seychelles but around the world. But it would be good for the grantees to receive additional support to ensure the sustainability of their businesses," explained Zialor.
Zialor added that support is crucial for women entrepreneurs not only to ensure viability of their businesses but to ensure that they grow and become big businesses as for nowwomen entrepreneurs are involved in small and medium scale businesses.
Lyn Asba, from a community-based organization on the man-made island of Perseverance promoting home gardens amongst female-headed household, told SNA that such support should not come only during times of crisis but all the time.
According to Bru a simple monitoring mechanism will be used to follow the implementation of projects by grantees so that they fulfil the terms of the grant. "It should also be noted that part of the evaluation of the initial proposals would be the sustainability of the project itself," concluded Bru.
The call for proposals will open until July 8.