BY DAYO ADESULU
This week, the U.S. Consulate General hosted a virtual event to mark the completion of the second cohort of the Lagos edition of the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) program.
Working with a local partner, Ascend Studios Foundation, founded by Inya Lawal, an alumna of the Fortune-U.S. Department of State Global Women’s Mentoring Partnership program, the Consulate General supported the training of 120 women entrepreneurs selected from a pool of over 10,000 applicants representing a diverse age range, sector, location, and business level.
Following the completion of the three-month intensive business skills and entrepreneurship training, the graduates are now eligible to compete for seed money from the U.S. Africa Development Foundation to start or grow their businesses.
Speaking during the graduation ceremony, United States Consul General Claire Pierangelo explained that promoting the empowerment of women is a priority of the United States government. According to her, empowering women worldwide to fulfil their economic potential will help create conditions for increased stability, security, and prosperity for all.
“The United States supports women’s full and free participation in the global economy as they seek to thrive in the workforce, succeed as entrepreneurs, and create stability and prosperity in their communities,” Consul General Pierangelo said.
“I am very pleased to congratulate you for successfully completing the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs program and becoming U.S. Government program alumnae. Welcome to this prestigious network of professionals who will become very important as you move ahead in your career,” she added.
Due to the COVID 19 pandemic, the 2020 AWE program began virtually in November and transitioned to some in-person training in 2021. The training focused on entrepreneurship modules from the Dreambuilder online program. Participants also explored the fundamentals of business, such as preparing business plans, obtaining capital and connecting with networks of successful businesswomen.
This year’s participants included 20 repatriated irregular migrants who are in various stages of building their businesses. 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.
AWE is designed to teach women around the world to become successful entrepreneurs. One hundred female entrepreneurs participated in the inaugural edition of the program held in Lagos in 2019. The call for applications for the 2021 AWE cohort will be announced in the coming weeks.