Remarks by Ambassador Lynch at the Launch of Academy of Women Entrepreneurs (AWE)

Remarks as prepared
Ambassador Sarah-Ann Lynch
Launch of Academy of Women Entrepreneurs (AWE)
May 11, 2021

Minister of Commerce and Tourism, the honorable Oneidge Walrond, Regional Chair Permaul Armogan, Regional Executive Officer Devanand Ramdatt, President of the Essequibo Chamber of Commerce Mr. Aadil Baksh, distinguished guests, members of the media, ladies and gentlemen.

Good morning and congratulations to all the participants. I know you are probably as disappointed as I am that pandemic circumstances prevent us attending this important event in person.  But I am glad that we can join together remotely to mark the beginning of this very special program.  You have gone through quite a process to get to this point, and I am sure you are eager to get this program underway.  I would like to thank Abbigale for that lovely introduction, and for all your work there in Essequibo for women.

You know, I heard there was a little bit of jealousy about the fact that this program is only for women in Region 2.   I know there are many, many women out there who have amazing talents, amazing ideas, and who want to improve their skills and business savvy.  So, allow me the privilege of suggesting that the Region 2 program serve as the first of a continuing and expanding program in Guyana.  After all, the Academy of Women Entrepreneurs enjoys a global track-record of accomplishment and the women entrepreneurs in all of Guyana’s regions should have this opportunity.

This program is only part of the story, when it comes to the U.S. support for women and for Guyana’s prosperity.  Abbigale can attest to another opportunity, the Young Leaders of the America’s Initiative, or YLAI, which includes an exchange experience that the Embassy offers every year.  Abbigale is an alumna of that program, and we are so proud of what you have done with your experience there.  YLAI has a network of free courses, that are available in Spanish as well, to help anyone build their business and skills.  I am also very impressed with the work of the local chambers here in Guyana who are reaching out to both women and young people.

The Academy of Women Entrepreneurs, or AWE is designed to give the participants the opportunity to build their skills, their network, and of course their business.  But I think it’s really more than that.  I would like to invite all the participants to take stock of your confidence level when you started your application compared to today.  Check in with yourself during and after the program.  I have a feeling your confidence will improve dramatically, and that is what I can’t wait to see.  There are so many women out there who have good ideas about starting a business, but how many actually take the step to make the ideas a reality.  It takes skill, it takes support of others, but in the end of the day it’s about your own self-confidence.   When you hear “no”, or “not now”, or “that’s a good idea, but you need to wait”, what is your reaction?  Who do you seek out for advice and mentoring?  As your skills and confidence grow, it is my hope that your ability to filter advice becomes wiser, and that you are able to make changes to your plans, not based on the views of nay-sayers, but on a well-grounded belief in yourself, belief in your abilities to adapt to changes in the market, and a belief in the community’s ability to grow and support you.

Region 2 is a well-knit community with its own identity, and that is valuable in itself.  You have something unique to offer Guyana, and my wish for you is to support each other in your success.  And to the Spanish speaking participants –  buenos días y felicidades por su participación en este programa.  I am so proud that you took this step in a new country, to build a better life for yourself and your family.  The United States wants to support your efforts, and we are working with the government here to reinforce their support for you as well.  This is the first ever bilingual AWE, and I am very proud of your efforts.  I can’t wait to see what you do here for Region 2 and Guyana.  Thank you very much.