bmobile joins CANTO to bring e-commerce learning to local communities
TSTT Corporate Communications
The EQUALS Tech4Girls Workshop was held at venues across the country, as well as online via Zoom, recently. The e-commerce training, co-sponsored by bmobile along with GSMA, USA and Verizon and others, catered to young women aged 16 to 25, mostly from under-served communities across Trinidad and Tobago and brought a series of learnings geared to empowering participants to design and build online sales platforms. CANTO is a non-profit association made up of operators, organizations, companies and individuals in the ICT and telecommunications sectors.
Several key training classes were held throughout the day, with an emphasis on not only teaching the attendees to build an e-commerce store, but also to leverage marketing channels to promote these. The Tech4Girls initiative was initially launched in March 2018 by GSMA North America with a mission to inspire girls and young women to pursue STEM careers. In September 2019, GSMA took the Tech4Girls initiative to the EQUALS Global Partnership for Digital Gender Equality to scale the enterprise globally and expand its scope and outreach. The workshops were led by Caribbean Girls Hack regional technical partner, RSC Tech Clubs, an NGO, and facilitated in five physical locations with proper adherence to health protocols as well as via the Zoom platform to over 100 participants. RSC Tech Clubs has provided award-winning digital skills training, particularly in the area of establishing and running an e-commerce platform and made use of Shopify for the workshops this weekend.
Anjanie Ramesar-Soom, Manager Corporate Responsibility and Community Relations at TSTT, attended the session held in Enterprise, Chaguanas and she noted the importance of such engagements particularly in our communities at this time, “The impact of Covid-19 is particularly being felt by small businesses that do not have the savings or abilities to mitigate the financial impacts to their businesses. We’re talking about the small entrepreneurs and solopreneurs who now more than ever need to be able to leverage digital marketing to create awareness and reach their customers. Workshops like this one provide a seed of knowledge for our young women, to not only teach a valuable skill but to inspire them to create self-sufficiency in their own lives and for their families.” While TSTT remains committed to being the trusted provider of choice for small and medium businesses, the company is keenly aware that the future of a service-driven economy also will be found in supporting new ideas and new companies, particularly those who leverage digital channels effectively.
Teresa Wankin, Secretary-General, CANTO, in her address to the participants, highlighted, “This workshop has all the right components to prepare you for a career in technology; it gives you the skills to develop a tangible product that will build your confidence in technology and exercise your creativity. It also gives you an opportunity to connect and hear from Verizon Role Models about mentorship and digital skills training, and it shows you the back end of the technology and encourages you to start building platforms that can be used to improve social and economic development.” The synergy between all the partner organizations and sponsors was a timely one, in her opinion, as she believes that the next big application or site can come from the Caribbean with the right support, particularly for our young women. “One thing the pandemic has taught us is that someone can develop something in Toco and sell it anywhere in the world better than before with the right skills and know-how. These initiatives equip girls to not only create businesses but also to teach their own families and impact their communities positively. It goes beyond learning via a book to give them actual, hands-on knowledge and experience, so that they move from being a user of online shopping sites to creators of one, without having to pay someone to do it for them,” she added. “They can then either sell products of their own or help others to reach new markets and customers through a platform that they design and build.”
CANTO intends to expand these workshops in 2021 and reach further into rural areas of Trinidad and Tobago through both digital and physical workshops.