Remarks as prepared
Ambassador Sarah-Ann Lynch
Launch of Academy for Women Entrepreneurs Region 6
January 14, 2023
Honorable Minister of Tourism, Industry, and Commerce, Oneidge Walrond
Mayor of New Amsterdam, Winifred Heywood
Head of Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture, Wilmont Garnett
Members of the Berbice Chamber of Commerce,
Members of the media,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good morning. It’s an honor to speak with you today at the launch of the second iteration of the U.S.-funded Academy for Women Entrepreneurs Program. Congratulations to WeLead Caribbean for spearheading this important initiative to empower female entrepreneurs. I would like to extend a special thank you to YLAI Alumna and WeLead Caribbean founder, Abbigale Loncke, for her dedication to the Women Entrepreneurs Program and to empowering Guyanese business owners. Most importantly, congratulations to the thirty budding entrepreneur participants with us today. You were selected from over 150 applicants to participate in this cohort of the AWE [pronounced ahh] Guyana program.
The United States Embassy partnered with WeLead Caribbean to launch AWE Guyana on May 11, 2021. The program attracted intrepid entrepreneurs with a strong desire to create a business, but in need of some direction and guidance to help them achieve their goals. In 2021, AWE was implemented in Region 2 with participation from both Guyanese and Venezuelan women in the region. 23 women successfully completed the program and graduated. Following their training, many have realized their dream of owning their own business. Given the overwhelming success of the program and additional interest in developing entrepreneurial skills of women, the program expanded to Region 6, targeting thirty women from the agriculture and fisheries industry.
AWE has three main objectives:
- First, to provide resources for women to engage in online education with guided facilitation from local women business leaders, alumni of USG programs, and other local partners.
- Second, to foster networks that support AWE participants’ access to peer-to-peer mentorship, business partners, and scaling opportunities with businesses in the region and in the U.S.
- And, finally, to provide access to a wide range of on-going USG programs tailored to women’s economic empowerment to expand the effects of AWE participation.
Through the Dream builder platform, participants will complete a series of 13 online certified courses covering the basics of starting a business as well as relevant topic areas such as marketing, finance, and accounting. In addition to the interactive courses, participants will have access to a business plan generator to guide the creation of business plans. This year, WeLead and the Embassy will collaborate with our colleagues in Suriname to host a Women’s Entrepreneurship Fair involving AWE participants from Suriname and Guyana. The fair will include training sessions led by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) on agro-processing as well as several business networking sessions for participants with local partners.
Additionally, we are happy to launch the AWE logo for the very first time. The logo will help increase the visibility of AWE alumni products and services through a unique brand identity. This promises to be an exciting journey of learning, networking, growth and mentorship for all participants. I wish you success as you begin this program and I encourage you to build strong networks that align with your business goals.
The Embassy aims to empower women in order to increase inclusion in the social, economic, and political spheres. This program is part of our continued effort to promote prosperity for all in Guyana. Once again, thank you to WeLead Caribbean and all partnering organizations for your support. Best wishes to all the participants and organizers for a successful program.
I can’t wait to see what your businesses will do for the region and for Guyana. Thank you very much.