United States Consulate General in Lagos on Monday launched the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE), a State Department-led initiative that supports women entrepreneurs around the world.
During a week-long program, a diverse group of 100 women selected from a pool of over 6,000 applicants, will receive lessons on business management, network with like-minded entrepreneurs and mentors, and learn the practical skills required to create successful and sustainable businesses.
Declaring the workshop open, U.S. Consul General Claire Pierangelo, explained that the goal of the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs is to teach women around the world to become successful entrepreneurs. She noted that women’s empowerment will be key to Nigeria’s long-term economic development.
“One of the U.S. government’s goals is to promote entrepreneurship worldwide. Through the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs, we are doing just that by giving these ambitious businesswomen the skills they need to take their ventures to the next level,” she said.
Consul General Pierangelo described the role of women as crucial for the progress of national economies. “Women are the backbone of society no matter what country you are in. When women are working, the country is working,” she noted.
Leading local business leaders spoke at the launch. They include: Inya Lawal, alumna of the Fortune-U.S. Department of State Global Women’s Mentoring Partnership program; Hansatu Adegbite, Executive Director at Women in Management and Business (WIMBIZ); and Teju Abisoye, Executive Secretary, Lagos State Employment Trust Fund.
In addition, participants will receive access to DreamBuilder, a blended business-training course developed through a partnership between Arizona State University’s Thunderbird School of Global Management and global copper mining company Freeport-McMoRan.
Speaking at the event, the Program Partner, Ms Inya Lawal stated “I am a proud alumnus of a U.S. government-sponsored program. I was one of 19 women selected worldwide for the Fortune U.S Department of States Women’s mentorship program and through my time as a mentee of some the most powerful women in the world and leading women of Goldman Sachs, I learnt so many valuable lessons but one thing stood out: their excitement and passion for growing women. Their passion was so infectious I immediately keyed into doing more for women.”
The AWE is a component of the White House Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative, designed to empower women worldwide to fulfil their economic potential, thereby creating conditions for increased stability, security, and prosperity for all.
Nigeria is among 26 pilot countries worldwide that were selected to participate in the AWE program. The other African countries participating in the inaugural AWE cohort are Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.