Seventeen women who graduated from the Self Reliance and Success In Business workshop, on Friday last, established their cooperative business group at the graduation ceremony of the workshop, which was held at the Women’s Leadership Institute, Cove and John, East Coast Demerara.Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica) Chairperson Genevieve Allen on Monday last, at the opening of the workshop, had issued a challenge to the participants to utilise the vast number of fruit trees located on the grounds of the Institute.It was this challenge that motivated the young women to create the group, which will focus primarily on the production of fruit preserves and juices.Facilitator of Interweave Solutions (Guyana) Incorporated, Sanjay Yohann Pooran, in an invited comment, explained that after the Regional Chairperson issued the challenge, he and the participants discussed how they would bring the concept to reality.The group of 17 young women from the Self Reliance and Success in Business workshop who formed the Co-Op business group“Lots of them [the participants] expressed interest in seeing that project move from just a small business to something of a co-op; as you know, a small business is a little bit different from a co-op experience, because they have to collaborate and partner in order to make it successful. From about Thursday we started to get more interest; by the end of Thursday, we had 17 women who expressed their interest in participating and were willing to not only receive training on how to preserve fruits, process fruits or even make the juices, but also to market the product, present it to a national market and, hopefully, regional market… We’re going to collaborate with [Ministry of] Social Protection, we’re going to collaborate with Interweave and the Institute, bring us all together around the table. We hope to have it registered as a co-op, receive the funding and move forward from there,” he said.Fazillia Ramphal, a graduate from the workshop, described the experience as wonderful and helpful, since she was an aspiring young entrepreneur. “It was impactful. [I learnt] to keep records, it helped us to balance business books to keep, to let us know whether we’re making a profit or loss and other areas to make the business run smoothly,” she said.During the course of the workshop, participants were split up into four groups. They intend to focus on waste management, unemployment, infrastructural development, and juvenile delinquency.The workshop, which had originally commenced with 38 women hailing from Mahaica, Clonbrook, Victoria, Belfield, Golden Grove, Haslington and Cove and John, ECD, saw a total of 41 graduates on Sunday.The Self Reliance and Success In Business initiative is organised by the Office of the First Lady in collaboration with the Social Protection Ministry and Interweave Solutions (Guyana) Incorporated. This is the third Self Reliance Workshop for the year.