Scotiabank Women’s Initiative hosts ‘Going For Growth’ workshop aimed at empowering women-owned businesses think bigger

Kingston, Jamaica – June 03, 2024 - Some 40 female business owners have benefitted from exposure to invaluable insights and approaches to business growth, with a focus on practical strategies for going public. The opportunity was provided via a Scotiabank Women's Initiative (SWI) Workshop hosted under the theme, Growing for Growth: Planning for The Future, at the Jamaica Stock Exchange on May 7.

The session was aimed at empowering women entrepreneurs to make informed decisions about their businesses' future and maximise their growth potential. The workshop featured Scotiabank Executives along with Dr. Marlene Street Forrest, Managing Director, Jamaica Stock Exchange, and Audrey Richards, Private Capital Specialist with the Development Bank of Jamaica.

Nadine Heywood, Vice President, Credit Solutions and Programme Manager Scotiabank Women’s Initiative, during her presentation, noted that currently, out of 49 public companies listed on the JSE, less than 10 are led by women, representing a mere 6% of total listings. Recognising this disparity, Scotiabank, through its SWI Workshop, provided a comprehensive overview of capital access, advisory services, mentorship, and tailored education. Notably, the bank's commitment extends beyond Kingston, with a network of offices and teams across Jamaica dedicated to supporting women-owned and women-led businesses at every stage of their journey.

Dr. Marlene Street Forrest emphasised the critical role of good governance practices in fostering business growth, stating, “Proper governance is essential for companies preparing to go public, ensuring smooth listing processes and sustained growth post-listing. Going public offers companies an avenue to access patient capital, enabling them to respond to market demands and remain competitive. Additionally, transparent communication with shareholders fosters trust and may facilitate future capital-raising efforts through avenues like Additional Public Offerings (APOs).”

Addressing the matter of gender and readiness to take this step, Street Forrest continued, “When we look at sustainable goals, one of the areas to improve includes the percentage of women-owned businesses, as well as the percentage of women who are directors, CEO’s and chair[persons]. Women should strive to enter spaces where risk-taking is inherent, analysing businesses to assess their growth potential and go for it.”

Highlighting several key advantages of listing on the JSE, Sarah Cumming, Vice President and Head of Corporate Solutions at Scotia Investments emphasized the importance of growth as a primary motivation for going public, underscoring the significance of understanding the rationale behind a listing, whether it's driven by financial goals, strategic objectives, or a blend of both. Cumming stressed the value of maximising value for shareholders, reminding businesses not to overlook their true worth amidst daily operations.

"Whilst your business can provide you with dividends through profits; the process of listing allows you to unlock capital from the market, establish a price for your shares and a valuation for your Company,” shared Cumming.

The Scotiabank Women’s Initiative was established with a vision to support women-owned and women-led businesses across Jamaica. Through comprehensive programmes and services accessible nationwide, Scotiabank is committed to empowering women entrepreneurs to achieve their full potential.

Workshop attendee, Vinessa Allen, Managing Director, Core Communications Ltd, shared her experience following the workshop, noting that she hopes to list within the next few years. “Today was an especially good day and experience for me because we have been expanding our business and have also been having conversations and thinking of expanding on the Junior Stock Market. So, everything about today really reflected the direction we want to take our business. And some key strategies such as preparation to get on the stock market and good governance are elements that I’ll be further employing and pushing in my business. I am happy that Scotiabank is highlighting us businesswomen and giving us the recognition we deserve.”