Fifty-five people started the Ministry of Sports and Community Development’s business management program known as With These Hands. 38 participants graduated, 37 women and one man.
Community Development Deputy Director Omadaye Beesan said the program focuses on handicrafts and things people do with their hands.
It was a three-month training with NEDCO in small business development and four weeks with Export Center Company Ltd, in skill development.
Beesan said the trainees attended master classes where they were divided into groups based on their business areas, such as culinary arts, home improvement, event management, self-improvement and creative design.
“We had experts in various fields come and talk to the trainees. They talked about how to build their business, the challenges, advice to move forward. They entertained the trainees’ questions and it was a successful two days. “
Participants in the program were instructed to produce new products or services, or improve existing ones.
Gregory Pantin is the only male graduate of the program. A former illustrator, he produces 3D prints of local icons, such as Calypso Rose and Black Stalin, as well as folklore legends. He hopes to gain momentum during the 2022/2023 tourism season.
Pantin testified on behalf of his class.
“Seventy percent of the class graduated. There are 37 ladies and one guy. What happened to all the guys? They didn’t get the memo, who knows? But that’s the mark of who Trinidad is.” want to improve themselves, and what gender make up the majority of small businesses in TT.”
He talked about the difficulty of the course and the amount of content, and then gave a review: “the good, the bad and the ugly.”
“The good thing is: this is a completely online program and it was conducted during the covid19 pandemic. The bad thing: the same problems of virtual participation found everywhere plagued this program – communication, information dissemination and access to online tools and Internet – but the program will move to people from next year.
“The good thing,” he said, and applauded loudly, “This program is 100 percent, worth our time. No participant can say that they lost their time in the classroom because every session brings valuable information. for each of us.”
He said that the course may be too short and that additional sessions or recordings would be helpful.
At, “the ugly one,” Pantin said halfway through he discovered he was the only man in the women’s class. At first, Pantin was happy when he told his friend, but the friend said, “It’s sad.”
Pantin recalled, “He said, ‘These government self-improvement programs are free, all you need is your time to improve yourself.’ He was very angry that there were no more men, more young men trying to do better.
“The bad thing is, although it feels special to be a man who represents me, the truth is that there should be more.”
Pantin asked everyone in the audience to encourage young men to do programs like With These Hands, increasing the number of men in business.