Celebrating Women Business Owners

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In celebration of International Women’s Day, let’s take a moment to recognize the accomplishments of the incredible women business owners in our lives and around the world.

Since 2008, MicroMentor has provided more than 82,000 women entrepreneurs with access to business mentoring. We reach proportionately higher percentages of women entrepreneurs in key geographies around the world, with more than 41% of entrepreneurs in our global community identifying as female.

MicroMentor reinforces women’s abilities to create economic opportunities for themselves and their communities. This year, women entrepreneurs are projected to create or retain approximately 20,000 jobs as a result of the mentoring they received on MicroMentor.

MicroMentor supports female entrepreneurs like hotel owner Jeanina Dupersoy by providing access to the resources they need to grow their businesses. Read more about how Jeanina is growing her online presence and managing her finances with the advice of her mentors.

For Jeanina Dupersoy, entrepreneurship runs in the family. She is the owner of Alicia's Inn, a family-run hotel in Philipsburg, Sint Maarten. Named after her great-aunt who operated several businesses selling eggs, sweets, and sugar cane, Jeanina wanted to honor the long legacy of the female entrepreneurial spirit in her family. She opened Alicia’s Inn in 2014 on the same land that her aunt’s house stood.

Alicia’s Inn had been on the rise since 2014, and Jeanina had become accustomed to the cyclical nature of tourism in Sint Maarten. During the high season, tourists would visit mainly from Europe and the United States, and during the low season, a regular but smaller number of customers would visit from neighboring islands. The tourism cycle was something Jeanina could rely on, until it was interrupted by COVID-19.

“It was really an aspect of survival because we in the Caribbean, we depend on tourism.”

Jeanina remembers when COVID-19 hit Sint Maarten in 2020 during the high season. “It was really an aspect of survival because we in the Caribbean, we depend on tourism.” Working in an industry that is so dependent on global tourism, Jeanina was faced with challenges she had not experienced with her business before due to the inability to travel and the daily uncertainty about restrictions.

After realizing that she was going to need some assistance with reaching out to guests, growing her business financially, and increasing her online presence, Jeanina looked for options. Having had different mentor relationships throughout her life, Jeanina knows the value of a mentor. When she heard about MicroMentor, Jeanina signed up with the hope to find someone with a new perspective and a business mindset. “I wasn’t sure what to expect but the website is clear and it’s very streamlined.”

“A good mentor is priceless. Because although you're doing the work, you have somebody in your corner to be able to guide you and give you a nice perspective.”

After joining the MicroMentor community in August 2020, Jeanina sat down and thought about what qualities and expertise she was looking for in her mentor. “I’m in the hospitality area so I needed a mentor to have experience in that area and also a bit of experience in hospitality in the Caribbean and those kinds of aspects, so when I searched based on what I really needed [the search results] went down from like a lot of mentors to like five.”

Jeanina first had phone calls with different mentors for specific questions, like understanding search engine optimization. “You have a lot of skills as a small business owner,” Jeanina says, “It is so helpful that you can reach out and find someone that’s willing to help you on that small part.” She then connected with Ron Alli, who she now works with on a biweekly basis to manage her finances and discuss her online presence.

Through the pandemic, Jeanina has tried to maintain her positive outlook for her business and for the future. Although the numbers are not where they were before the pandemic hit, Alicia’s Inn is on the steady incline. She has remained true to her original vision of reaching customers looking for a more personalized, local experience while visiting Sint Maarten. “For us it’s very important to be welcoming because it’s important to have a human touch.” Jeanina loves helping customers find authentic local cuisine and connect with other small businesses in the area. Today, two years later, Jeanina still meets with Ron every other week to go over bookkeeping and her social media presence. Jeanina was excited recently to update her website and her business logo to reflect the warm hospitality that she brings to every customer.

Recently, Jeanina visited Ron on a trip she took to Miami. When thinking about the future of Alicia’s Inn, Jeanina shared how beneficial her relationship with Ron has been to this day. She has plans to continue to grow her business, and hopes to upgrade the rooms and become more competitive in the Caribbean hotel market, and her mentor relationship is a part of that future too. “We’re still in a pandemic, and I also feel that just because things are going well we shouldn't stop something that I finally found very beneficial. I will continue as long as Ron would like to continue.”

“For us it’s very important to be welcoming because it’s important to have a human touch.”

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