Workmen about to erect Republic Bank name sign name
Workmen about to erect Republic Bank name sign name

(Castries, Saint Lucia, March 12, 2024) - Republic Bank (EC) Limited (RBEC) has announced that applications are now open for the third iteration of its Entrepreneurs Business Builder (EBB) Programme. The EBB, a unique training programme launched throughout the region in 2022, is designed to equip Caribbean women entrepreneurs with the skills to develop tech-enabled, sustainable, and profitable enterprises.

For its third cohort, the Bank seeks applications from women entrepreneurs from across the Caribbean region who have owned or operated a Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) business for at least two years and aim to grow or scale up their operations. The EBB Programme, which was developed and facilitated by Business and People Development Associates (BPD), a regional company offering personal and business development support funded through the Bank's Power to Make a Difference Programme, has a proven track record of success. It was specially created with women entrepreneurs in mind and has already trained and mentored over 80 women from territories across the Region where Republic Bank operates.

Kelly Mitchell, Marketing Specialist for RBEC, explained the significance of this programme to women in the Eastern Caribbean. "The Bank saw the need to help develop women in business as we recognized that while they have many brilliant ideas, they often do not get the support needed to move forward. Therefore, we felt it necessary to provide this training program so that they can develop their ideas into thriving businesses".

Applications for the programme opened on International Women's Day (IWD), March 8, 2024. CARICOM Secretary General Dr. Carla Barnett congratulated Republic Bank on championing such an initiative. Describing the programme as bold and vital, she noted the parallels between the EBB and this year's International Women's Day theme.

"The theme, "Invest in Women, Accelerate Progress", highlights the critical role women play in developing their communities and countries. Opening the way for more women to become entrepreneurs is one way to propel the economic and social advancement of our countries," she noted. "Women in the Caribbean have long been involved in business, especially small businesses focusing on self-employment to "make ends meet" through cottage industries, now known as micro-enterprises, in areas such as agro-processing, catering, personal care and trading. Therefore, the Entrepreneurs Business Builders Programme can assist women to build scale and sustainability in their business enterprises".

The EBB aims to empower women with comprehensive business skills, including business development, marketing, bookkeeping, and leadership, enabling them to turn their ideas into successful ventures. The programme will kick off in May and run for five months until October 2024.