One hundred women entrepreneurs on skills in tourism and Small and Medium Enterprise development were trained and certified on the 16th March, 2023 through the Izelia Business Enterprise as part of the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, with support from the World Bank Sierra Leone Economic Diversification Project (SLEDP),Women in Tourism capacity building programme . The certification was held at Izelia Creative Hub of Africa Office, Lumley Road, Freetown.
The training was aimed at empowering these women entrepreneurs to have the skills in writing proposals, presenting their business, revenue management and packaging of their businesses.
For now ,the Ministry, through Izelia, will mentor these women for three months and give them the opportunity to present their business ideas and link them with opportunities in SMEDA, banks and other establishments. The training covered product development, hospitality management, customer service, financial management, human resource, crisis management and communication.
The CEO of Izelia Business Enterprise, who also doubles as the Lead Trainer, Isatu Harrison thanked the Ministry and the World Bank for trusting them to deliver the training.
She explained that the training was advertised and attracted women entrepreneurs from across Sierra Leone.
She commended the 100 trainees for their willingness to learn which she said made it easy for the facilitators. She urged the women to make the most of the training and use the knowledge gained in their indigenous communities to value what they have locally and promote the tourism sector.
The Director of Tourism, Mohamed Jalloh acknowledged that it was a wonderful day to see a dream come to fruition. He thanked President Bio for his trust and confidence in the Tourism Minister, under whose stewardship the sector has scored many goals locally and internationally. He commended the World Bank for their support, adding that the whole idea of this training emanated from a gender desk set up by the Minister to solely focus on women empowerment. He highlighted the many initiatives they have implemented to foster the empowerment of women nationwide. He mentioned that the training was not only to empower the women but to also make the destination competitive.
Presenting the certificates to the 100 women, the Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Dr. Memunatu Pratt appreciated the World Bank, the training institution, Izelia and the trainees for the completion of a successful women empowerment training session. She stated that the training was aimed at getting these women to reach the highest level of their potential and contribute to the growth of Sierra Leone. She noted that the empowerment of these women was borne out of the fact that women are very critical to the development of a nation. She continued that the tourism sector constitute 70% of women but are challenged with empowerment skills, hence she started the women in tourism programme where they have trained over 3000 women across the country.
She furthered that for this particular training, they refocused their energies in building the entrepreneurship perspective of women for them to become business owners, hotel managers where they can employ their fellow women. She encouraged the women to work as a team in presenting their business ideas as there are many other opportunities that awaits them once this one is wrapped.
The 100 beneficiaries thanked the Ministry, the Bank and the facilitators for empowering them with the necessary skills in elevating their businesses and assured that the knowledge acquired will be implemented.