US Embassy helps 10 Seychellois women learn how e-commerce can boost their businesses
A series of training sessions on Facebook was organised recently to support the development of the e-commerce sector in Seychelles with the support of the United States Embassy for Mauritius and Seychelles.
Theresa Carrington, an e-commerce expert, was one of the presenters who provided individual virtual training and support for 10 Seychellois women entrepreneurs.
Carrington is the creator and CEO of Ten by Three – a non-profit organisation that helps women entrepreneurs from developing countries to sell their products in more than 275 stores in the United States and through e-commerce platforms.
SNA caught up with Carrington during the Global Entrepreneurship Week which Seychelles hosted.
SNA: You have provided individual virtual training and support for 10 Seychellois women entrepreneurs. Why is it important to continuously provide this training?
TC: The COVID-19 pandemic reminds us economies heavily weighted in one revenue stream, such as tourism, are easily crippled. E-commerce empowers entrepreneurs to have businesses without borders and like all technology – changes rapidly. Rapid change requires rapid and continual learning. Staying abreast of e-commerce changes helps Seychellois entrepreneurs compete globally, and better supports the Seychelles economy.
SNA: Do you feel that there is a strong participation of women in the digital economy in Seychelles?
TC: All the women entrepreneurs I worked with want to be a larger part of the digital economy in Seychelles. All of them had some digital presence and together we worked to improve their digital footprint to ensure stronger participation in the Seychellois digital economy.
SNA: What is the importance of women’s economic empowerment and why is it imperative for Seychellois women entrepreneurs to understand its importance and implication?
TC: The economic empowerment of women is proven to strengthen economies. E-commerce plays a vital role to place women in the best possible position as businesses owners. It is important for Seychellois women entrepreneurs to understand the importance of e-commerce so they can see the success of their business is not limited to Seychelles borders. When women are empowered to compete globally, they win and the Seychelles economy wins.
SNA: Do you intend to make your boutiques in the United States available for Seychellois to sell and promote their products internationally?
TC: We sell to over 300 independently owned boutiques in the US, and there are a few Seychellois made products I learned about while working with entrepreneurs, I believe I could indeed find a solid market in the USA.
However, in each case of the women I worked with I showed them a variety of e-commerce resources available to help connect them directly to customers in the United States instead of going through Ten by Three or any other organisation. Setting them up to work directly with boutiques via e-commerce is in the best interest of Seychelles and the entrepreneurs.
SNA: Seychelles is a very small country which depends hugely on imports. Do you feel that there are potential products in Seychelles that could be mass-produced and sell through e-commerce?
TC: Seychelles has endless opportunity to produce and sell products via e-commerce. You have diverse flora and fauna that can be turned into a wide variety of products. The entrepreneurs I worked with represented a wide variety of products and services including food items, to jewellery to perfume.
SNA: What do you think is lacking or needed to encourage women entrepreneurs in Seychelles to use e-commerce as a mode of transacting in business?
TC: To support and encourage women entrepreneurs in e-commerce there need to be changes in policy to make e-commerce easier such as how to receive funds from sources outside Seychelles. I also noted while working with the women entrepreneurs there is no entrepreneurial ecosystem that supports them. I would encourage public private partnerships to address this ecosystem gap.
SNA: Why is it more important now for Seychellois women to utilise e-commerce as a mode of transacting and doing business?
TC: E-commerce empowers entrepreneurs to build businesses without borders. E-commerce helps make businesses more recession proof through diversified income sources.