The Pinelands Creative Workshop is celebrating 43 years of cultural and community engagement in Barbados. While the organisation is well-known for its dynamic performances, PCW’s impact has extended far beyond the stage, as can be seen in the recently launched training programme Supporting the Blue Economy through Social Enterprise. This project is the 2nd Social Enterprise training programme, with the first one in 2020 focusing on the Social Enterprise Approach to Eco-Tourism which garnered funding support from the GEF Small Grants Programme.
This year’s Social Enterprise training is supported by the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Blue Economy. The main goal was to work with entrepreneurs and social enterprises to create sustainable Blue Economic businesses. This training aimed to cater to at least 5 Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), with registered participants representing the following organisations: Barbados Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (BANGO); The Sojourner Foundation; Wharton PRO; Barbados Council for the Disabled, Sock Craze and Empower Youth International. The representatives participated in a 15-day workshop which sensitised them to social enterprise models and business concepts; provided training in presentation skills and the use of PowerPoint as a presentation tool and facilitated guided sessions to assist with the development of projects. These sessions all culminated in the opportunity for the participants to pitch their projects.
This training has come at a critical time when the government is diversifying its economic activity and, in doing so, considering the potential of investing in our largest natural resource – the ocean. Such an investment, however, cannot remain in the hands of government alone. PCW’s Chief Executive Officer, Ms Sophia Greaves, stressed the need for an inclusive approach, with an emphasis on the social responsibility of both individuals and institutions. The value of this approach extends beyond the preservation of the ocean itself and will serve the general population by improving food security, providing opportunities for employment, reducing poverty and addressing the issue of climate change.
With this philosophy in mind, PCW designed the Supporting the Blue Economy through Social Enterprise training to inspire participants to actively work towards creating socially responsible businesses and sustaining the Blue Economy. As participants go through an idea development process of identifying their potential markets and refining their concepts, the participants will have the further opportunity to pitch their proposed projects to a panel of experts who will assess the viability of each project based on a number of factors including its relevance to and impact on the Blue Economy; the value of the project for the community; the availability and/or accessibility of resources, and the social and financial sustainability of the proposal. As a result of this process, one project will be chosen to receive financial investment to support the start of their project.