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Minding Their Own Business

Five Female Leaders from Trinidad and Tobago


Joanne Kilgour Dowdy

Minding Their Own Business: Five Female Leaders from Trinidad and Tobago is a narrative project that illuminates the historical legacy of entrepreneurship, self-employment, and collective economics within the African diaspora, particularly in the lives of five women leaders of African descent from Trinidad and Tobago, in the Caribbean. By using the financial literacy lens as an analytical tool to interpret these biographies, this book documents the journeys of these independent business women, uncovers the literacy skills they employed, and describes the networking skills that they relied upon personally and professionally. The qualitative data collection methods utilized in this project help to identify lessons that will inform professionals, educators, and business and lay persons about the innovative ways in which teaching and learning take place outside of “formal” business schooling. Information gleaned from this study also serves to broaden traditional understandings of entrepreneurship and economic strategies inherited from majority African descended communities. Additionally, this book illuminates the creative and intellectual modes of learning within the Afrocentric communities that foster successful business practices. Finally, these five successful women pass on to interested learners their methods of modeling, encouraging, and celebrating the means by which independent business people make a positive impact on society.
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Advance Praise For Minding Their Own Business



Minding Their Own Business

“These five Caribbean women entrepreneurs all have imagination and a distinct ability to bring dreams into reality. The common denominator is that they were able to excel away from home and they all had strong family engagement. Let them keep the Caribbean rhythm flowing!”

—Judith Morrain Webb, Lecturer in Entrepreneurship, University of Trinidad and Tobago

“Joanne Kilgour Dowdy’s book extends the popular concept of entrepreneurship to include the cultural and social histories and communities of practice that support economic growth and well-being. Through the life stories and case studies of immigrant business women from the Caribbean, we learn how literacies emerge from their network of labor practices. The women in this book teach us how through their businesses they achieve social, cultural, and economic transformation for themselves and within society. The book offers new insights for workplace and vocational education, adult literacy studies, and immigrant studies.”

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