By Omolara Omosanya
A diverse group of 250 women has graduated from the fourth cohort of the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs, AWE, bringing the number of Nigerian businesswomen the U.S. Mission has successfully supported through the training programme to 770.
Designed to help women realize their economic potential, the AWE programme is a U.S. government initiative that supports women entrepreneurs around the world and connects them with funding opportunities that facilitate their business expansion and entrepreneurial success.
The U.S. Department of State established the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs in 2019 to provide women entrepreneurs with the skills, resources, and networks needed to start and scale successful businesses.
This year’s participants included 50 female repatriated irregular migrants who are in various stages of building their businesses and their successful participation has equipped them with the requisite skills and knowledge they need to take their ventures to the next level while helping them to reintegrate into society.
In his remarks during the graduation ceremony in Lagos, Acting Consul General, James Suor, highlighted the importance of empowering women and girls for economic growth.
According to him, “When women are economically empowered, they re-invest in their families and communities, producing a multiplier effect that spurs economic growth and contributes to peace and stability”
Mr Suor explained that women’s empowerment and economic integration are key to Nigeria’s long-term economic development and expressed great pride in the graduates, noting that women entrepreneurs are a growing market force that serves as a critical source of innovation for job creation and economic growth.
“Through programs like AWE, our two countries are working together towards a peaceful, stable, and prosperous future for Nigeria” he added.
AWE is centered around a three-month, rigorous online course called DreamBuilder, developed by Arizona State University’s Thunderbird School of Global Management and the U.S. copper mining company Freeport McMoran.