The United States Embassy in Nassau last night launched the inaugural pilot of the Academy of Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) in The Bahamas.
“AWE is a White House-led initiative aimed at empowering women to meet their full economic potential thereby increasing prosperity and stability for all societies around the world,” said Stephanie Bowers, the embassy’s charge d’affaires, during a ceremony at Hillside House.
“The Bahamas is one of just 26 pilot countries selected to launch this exciting initiative. The U.S. embassy — working hand and hand with the Bahamian government — prioritizes economic diversification not only to ensure a stable and prosperous Bahamas but also to provide opportunities for people in all corners of Bahamian society.”
Bowers said the harvesting of the full participation of women in the Bahamian economy is “critical to fulfilling this mission”.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest said the program’s participants would get some “tremendous exposure and training”.
“I think that is due in part — to a large measure — to our partners in the United States, through the U.S. embassy and the Department of State,” he said.
Turnquest said that the economic and social importance of female entrepreneurship is undeniable.
“Globally, studies show that women invest nearly 90 percent of their incomes into their family compared to just 30 or 40 percent of men.”
One hundred and ten women — 70 from New Providence and 40 from Grand Bahama — were selected for the program’s inaugural cohort.
The participants will be engaged in facilitated lessons on business management and network with “like-minded” entrepreneurs and mentors regionally and in the U.S., according to the embassy.
The embassy said the initiative aims to equip women with practical skills needed to create sustainable businesses and enterprises.
“The program is built around three main goals: to provide online education resources, foster networks that support access to mentorships and connect women through existing exchange programs,” it read.