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U.S. Embassy and BELTRAIDE Partner to Bring Entrepreneurial Opportunities to Underserved Communities
April 1, 2022

Joint Press Release

Belmopan – Today, the U.S. Embassy hosted the Belize Entrepreneurship Fest participants for a special closing ceremony.  Belize Entrepreneurship Fest, a collaborative program with the Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE) and funded by the U.S. Embassy, provided skills training, resources, mentorship, and a public platform for Belizean entrepreneurs to expand their businesses.

In December of 2021, 29 small business owners in southside Belize City, Dangriga, and Orange Walk participated in an intensive one-day workshop hosted in these three communities.  Business and marketing experts provided tools and best practices to overcoming challenges in creating, launching, and sustaining profitable business plans. The entrepreneurs also participated in a business pitch competition. The U.S. Embassy and BELTRAIDE selected first and second-place winners from each community to receive promotional opportunities and seed capital to expand their businesses.

The first-place winners are Tamarie Rocke, owner of Refillery Co. in Belize City, Andrea Castaneda of Lokok’ Teep from Orange Walk, Rose Parks of Granny Ivy’s Herbal Soaps from Dangriga, and second-place winners Randi Samuda, of RKS Customs of Belize City, Maria Solia Huertas of Apilife All in Bees of Orange Walk, and Rasheed Arzu, of Storyteller Media in Dangriga.

“Entrepreneurs drive prosperity.  Becoming an entrepreneur is challenging when there are barriers to opportunity, equity, and access to capital and networks,” underscored U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Leyla Moses-Ones. “Belize Entrepreneurship Fest is a unique opportunity to provide small business owners with training and tools to meet these challenges effectively, grow their businesses, and ensure their creativity can secure sustainable incomes.”

As EXPORTBelize, BELTRAIDE Manager Shahera McKoy explained, “The development of entrepreneurial activities is a fundamental component of BELTRAIDE’s mandate. At the core of Belize’s socio-economic development is the support and empowerment of our entrepreneurs. They ideate, persevere, and innovate to transform not only our economy but also the lives of our Belizean people.”

Since 2020, the U.S. government has contributed approximately U.S. $62,800,000 in direct and indirect economic development assistance to Belize.