Patwa Apparel: An Example of Jamaican Women’s Entrepreneurship

An example of Jamaican women’s entrepreneurship, especially of the younger generation, can be seen in the ventures of Heneka Watkis-Porter, CEO and marketing director of Patwa Apparel. It had always been her dream to own and operate a business and so she started her operation in 2007. Patwa Apparel has been described as “a brand that is deeply rooted in the culture of Jamaican society.” The company produces casual wear with Jamaican patois and an English translation imprinted on its pieces. In an interview, Watkis-Porter says that “the creative use of the Jamaican expressions evokes a smile from anyone who has happened to encounter the line.” See excerpts below with a link to the full article below:

Heneka Watkis-Porter is determined to make an impression on the world stage with Patwa Apparel and so when the opportunity to attend the recent Women Vendors and Exhibition Forum in Chongqing, China, presented itself, she jumped at it. Watkis-Porter applied to the International Trade Centre (ITC), a joint initiative of the World Trade Centre and the United Nations [and was soon accepted].

This initiative is called the Global Platform for Action on Sourcing from Women Vendors. It aims to increase the share of corporate, government and institutional procurement secured by women vendors for the ultimate purpose of bringing greater economic benefit to women and their communities. The initiative is led by the ITC with the support of WEConnect International, a non-profit trade support organisation, and a global network of leading organisations and individuals committed to women’s economic empowerment.

Jamaica’s Senator Marlene Malahoo Forte, minister of state – foreign affairs and Trade was moderator and one of the presenters. [. . .] This forum was particularly important to Patwa as it served as a platform to meet with buyers, without which this would have been difficult under normal circumstances. It also provided a great networking opportunity as Watkis-Porter met with a number of business women from across the globe, such as India, Indonesia, Phillipines, Uganda, South Africa, Ethiopia, Mongolia, Australia, to name a few.

[. . .] Watkis-Porter also attended Colombia’s premier fashion event—Colombiamoda—in July. There she observed South America’s hottest fashions, which provided inspiration and insight into the fashion sense of another region.

[Many thanks to Yardedge for bringing this item to our attention; see]

For full article, see

For information on where to order Patwa, visit

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