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US Assistant Secretary opens African women entrepreneurs confab

BY: Maclean Kwofi & Emmanuel Osei-Asante
US Assistant Secretary opens African women entrepreneurs confab
US Assistant Secretary opens African women entrepreneurs confab

An initiative to support the development of innovative ideas led by women has been launched by the United States (US) Embassy in Ghana in collaboration with the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) in Accra.

Dubbed, ‘Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE),’ the initiative is expected to provide online education resources, foster networks that support access to memberships, and connect women through existing exchange programme.

Subsequently, it has opened application between June 25 and July 9, 2019 to select applicants to train young women with entrepreneurial skills under the initiative.

The inaugural cohort is expected to feature women in 26 countries, including 10 in Africa: Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Opening the Alumni Thematic International Exchange Seminar (TIES) Conference on Wednesday in Accra, the Assistant Secretary of State in charge of Education and Cultural Affairs (ECA), Ms Marie Royce, said the entrepreneurs had the opportunity to apply for grants of up to $10,000 to support their businesses.

The conference

On the theme “Strengthening Business and Trade for Women Entrepreneurs in Africa,” the conference provided the platform for over 40 women entrepreneurs from 14 African countries to share knowledge on mentoring, access to capital, business expansion best practices and overcoming barriers to women in business.

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The women are beneficiaries of the US global entrepreneurship training to support and empower women entrepreneurs to promote community-based businesses. It was an initiative of the United States (US) Embassy in Ghana.

Ms Royce who was on a working visit to Ghana observed that the ties would enable the women to share highlights of their work with peers.

She said the developing countries, especially those in Africa, had an untapped resources in their women, and therefore there was the need to teach, train and mentor them to become successful hence the introduction of AWE.

According to her, the criteria for selection would be based on a sound business plan, marketing plan, among others, for community solution.

Beneficiaries

A beneficiary of the International Visitor Leadership Programme, Ms Matilda Payne, said her companies; MH Couture and Xtreme Upcycle, were geared towards halting climate change by supporting young girls with two per cent of her proceeds.

She said the companies used waste products such as plastic bags, copper wires and beads to produce fashion and home accessories.

She said her company had engaged the services of a number of women who collected the waste and paid them while training young girls on the need to separate waste to make money at the end of the day.

Ms Payne, an advocate of climate change, said she also provided logistics for women cleaners at the Kpone beaches as well as educate the public on the harmful effects of burning waste and encourage them to be champions of recycling.

She added that she was currently working on a ‘one classroom, one mini library,’ project with the Dawhenya Methodist ‘B’ Basic School, where she solicits for books and computers to be used by classes in the school.