Small Business Development Centre Hosts Afternoon Tea Reception for Female Entrepreneurs 

Front row, from left: Michaela Munnings, SBDC Corporate Communications Manager; Judith McKenzie, SBDC Project Analyst; Suemayah Abu-Douleh, Public Affairs Officer, US Embassy; Samantha Rolle, SBDC Executive Director; Mrs. Ann Marie Davis; Sherrel Sampson, CEO of Canviiy; Phyllice Bethel, Interim Deputy Executive Director; Nashan King, Executive Assistant, SBDC; Richenda Knowes, Senior Administrator, SBDC; and Denise Johnson, SBDC Advisor. Back Row, from left: Azasha Collie, RCL Project Analyst, SBDC; and Ebony McPhee, Client Services Liaison, SBDC. (BIS Photos/Anthon Thompson)

Donning beautiful spring fashions, complete with pearls, gloves and fascinators, over two hundred women representing a cross-section of businesses gathered together for an afternoon of fellowship and camaraderie on Sunday, April 23 at Margaritaville. The event, a high tea party hosted by the Small Business Development Centre (SBDC), was held under the patronage of the spouse of the Prime Minister, Mrs. Ann Marie Davis, under the theme, ‘Get Comfortable with being Uncomfortable.’ Mrs. Anastarcia Palacious served as Mistress of Ceremonies. 

While delivering remarks, Mrs. Davis said that she was delighted to partner with this Small Business Development Center’s Women Entrepreneurs Initiative. She congratulated the SBDC for hosting the tea party and congratulated the graduates of the Academy of Women Entrepreneurs and the entrepreneurs in attendance.

“I wholeheartedly endorse the objective of providing women with the resources they need to launch their own enterprises and expand industries through funding and mentorship,” said Mrs. Davis. “It is a privilege to address you at such a significant and influential gathering today. We must use opportunities like this to continue to keep each other informed and sharp while also celebrating the accomplishments in our lives.”

Speaking to the theme chosen for the event, she said that it aptly described a meaningful and important lesson that can be applied to any and every aspect of our human experience.

“Entrepreneurs in particular are continually up against obstacles that call for them to go outside their comfort zones. This is good. More precisely, it is a balancing act for women to carve out a career path while still managing households or other obligations. We must keep in mind, nevertheless, that it is through these challenging times that we develop and succeed,” she said.

She discussed the importance of resisting the urge to fall prey to fear and encouraged the women to keep pressing on despite their discomfort. 

“Entrepreneurship is not an easy path, but it is a rewarding one. It requires hard work, dedication, and a willingness to take risks. We must have the confidence to take chances and follow our passions, while learning to trust our abilities and vision. It is vital,” she said. 

” I urge all of you to embrace the uncomfortable moments that come your way. You will have moments where it will hurt, it may feel discouraging, it may feel disappointing, it may be lonely, and it may involve sleepless nights. But in these uncomfortable moments are also opportunities for growth and learning. Remember to trust yourself and your abilities, and very importantly, surround yourself with supportive communities and mentors, like this gathering here today, who can help you overcome your doubts and provide guidance.”

Also bringing greetings was Executive Director of the SBDC, Ms. Samantha Rolle, who congratulated the graduates and encouraged all of the entrepreneurs to persevere despite challenges they may encounter along the way. 

Guest Speaker for the event was Bahamian-American Entrepreneur, Sherrel Sampson, Founder & CEO of Canviiy, an innovative health and wellness brand focused on scalp care. 

Mrs. Sampson delivered an inspirational and very personal account of her journey as an entrepreneur and encouraged the attendees to be persistent, to persevere and to remain focused, never allowing fear to hold them back.

By BETTY VEDRINE/Bahamas Information Services

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