Shillong: The U.S. Consulate General Kolkata, in partnership with Startup India, Aroh Foundation organized a two-day workshop for the Women’s Global Development Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative “Academy for Women Entrepreneurs” (AWE) in Shillong.
The Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) program funded by the US Department of State’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs (ECA) is implementing AWE in over 50 countries globally and has engaged with more than 5,000 women entrepreneurs despite pandemic challenges.
The US Consulate General Kolkata-led AWE program marks the first AWE in India which has supported 150 early-stage entrepreneurs and business owners from Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, and Nagaland through a structured online education.
The online education has been initiated through University of Arizona’s Dream builder course, guided facilitation from alumni, business leaders, and chambers, and technical sessions with the Nexus Incubation Hub at the American Center in New Delhi.
It has resulted in creating an entrepreneurship ecosystem for scaling business ideas and fostering networks to provide access to mentorship, funding, business partners, and market linkages.
Juan Clar, the Assistant Public Diplomacy Officer of the US Consulate, Kolkata, and the Deputy Director of the American Center in Kolkata, said, “The United States believes strongly in women’s empowerment through entrepreneurship, and stands firmly for women’s equality, and inclusion in all public endeavours.”
“These are challenging times indeed but an opportunity for us to show the strength and depth of our bilateral relationship. I am proud of the way we at Consulate Kolkata have continued to adapt our programs to support entrepreneurs in our region,” Clar said.
Keeping in mind that women in particular face increased challenges during these times, the public diplomacy officer said, “We have stepped up our efforts to support and mentor women entrepreneurs.”
AWE commenced in India in 2020 to support participants’ access to peer-to-peer mentorship, business partners, and scaling opportunities with businesses in the region and in the United States.
Altogether, 150 women entrepreneurs across 5 states of the Northeast were trained and mentored on business skills, pitching techniques and venture building in 2020-21.
In its second edition, AWE built capacity of 120 women entrepreneurs in the eastern Indian states of Bihar and Jharkhand in 2021-22.
Currently, AWE in its third edition, is building skills of more than 120 women entrepreneurs in Meghalaya, Sikkim and West Bengal. The cohort in Meghalaya has been supported by HDFC Bank through its Parivartan program and enabled by State Startup Agency PRIME Meghalaya.
The program which kicked off in November 2020 has till date provided Dream builder certification to 80 women entrepreneurs.
The Dream builder online course has been developed by Freeport-McMoRan in partnership with Thunderbird School of Global Management, Arizona State University, USA, a world leader in international management education.