US Embassy, NGOs launch academy for women entrepreneurs in Kaduna

By Mustapha Usman

The United States Embassy in Nigeria, in collaboration with Toes to Heels Initiative and KAD ICT Hub have officially launched the first cohort of the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs, AWE, in Kaduna State.

The AWE is a new initiative that supports women entrepreneurs around the world.

Speaking at the event on Wednesday in Kaduna, the coordinator of AWE, Amina Lawal said the initiative is an inclusive training programme that equips women around the world with the entrepreneural skills and resources needed to create sustainable businesses.

She said AWE is an initiative of USA Department of Education and Cultural Affairs with the objectives of advancing economic empowerment of women.

She added that the programme was brought to Nigeria by the US Embassy, adding that it would be implemented by Toes to Heels Initiative and KAD ICT Hub.

Mr Lawal explained that the core objective of the project is to empower women with entreprenueral skills and resources needed to bring their business ideas to life, link them up with a network of successful businesses for mentorship and give seed grants to the best of them.

She stated that the target of the initiative is to reach 50 million women all over the world by 2025 through promoting an enabling environment that reduces barriers and facilitate their participation in the economy.

The coordinator further explained that women entrepreneurs, aged between 18 to 45 years who have business that is at start-up level could apply to the academy in order to be empowered on how to advance their career.

“It is a White House-led project and an initiative of the Bureau of Education and cultural affairs. Its core objective is to empower women with entreprenueral skills and resources they need to bring their entreprenueral ideas to life, link them up with a network of successful businesses for mentorship and give seed grants to the Best’s of them.

“The target of the initiative is to reach 50 million women all over the world , by 2025 by promoting an enabling environment that reduces barriers and facilitates women’s participation in the economy.

In her remarks, the representative of US embassy, Katherine Kaetzer-Hudson said the Nigerian economic situation has great effect on education and economic growth of the young people in the country.

She added that young people in Nigeria, like in other countries in the world, have high aspirations for future, noting that supporting their economic well-being should be indispensable.

She therefore applauded the initiative and its initiators for bridging the gender gap by empowering more women in entrepreneurship, which according to her, had become a driving force in every and any economy.

Mrs Kaetzer-Hudson however called on women entrepreneurs in the country to use the opportunity to apply into the AWE in a bid to develop their businesses.

It was gathered that the programme is a pilot whereby 25 most brilliant businesses in start up stage from the application would be selected for full implementation in September.

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