Women's Entrepreneurship in the Americas

Women's Entrepreneurship in the Americas

WEAmericas participants 2013

WEAmericas connects women to economic growth and business opportunities and brings together the public, private, and nonprofit sectors to achieve mutually beneficial goals: inclusive economic growth, increased financial returns and social impact, formalization of informal sector work, and enhanced competitiveness for firms and economies.

In addition to the U.S. government, WEAmericas founding partners include Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, ExxonMobil Foundation, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Kauffman FastTrac, Thunderbird School of Global Management, Vital Voices, Walmart Foundation, and WEConnect International.

Cherie Blair Foundation for Women provides women with the skills, technology, networks, and access to finance they need to become successful small and growing business owners so they can contribute to their economies and have a stronger voice in their societies.

ExxonMobil Foundation has helped women in developing countries fulfill their economic potential and drive economic and social change in their communities. Since 2005, their investments of more than $53 million have enabled community-based and global partners to implement programs directly benefiting tens of thousands of women.

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women is a five-year initiative to provide a business and management education to underserved female entrepreneurs in developing and emerging markets. The program is designed to drive greater shared economic growth, leading to stronger healthcare, education, and greater prosperity in the communities where it operates.

Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) supports efforts by Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) countries to reduce poverty and inequality. Established in 1959, it is the largest source of development financing for LAC, with a strong commitment to achieve measurable results, increased integrity, transparency, and accountability.

Kauffman FastTrac is the leading provider of learning curricula that equip aspiring and existing entrepreneurs with the business skills, insights, tools, resources, and network to start and grow successful businesses. Kauffman FastTrac was created by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the largest foundation in the world devoted to entrepreneurship.

Thunderbird School of Global Management equips students and leaders with the business skills and global mindset needed to create sustainable prosperity worldwide. The Thunderbird for Good initiative has provided 50,000 Latin American women with entrepreneurship training to help drive economic development, fight poverty, and improve living conditions in their communities.

Vital Voices is a global NGO that provides training and mentoring to innovative women leaders, enhancing their ability to transform lives and advance peace and prosperity in their communities.

Walmart unveiled its Global Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative last fall, which uses the company’s size and scale to empower women across its supply chain. Over five years, the company will source $20 billion from women-owned businesses in the United States and double sourcing from women suppliers internationally. In addition, Walmart will train thousands of women on farms and in factories in employment and life skills to enhance their participation in global value chains.

WEConnect International is a corporate led non-profit that identifies, educates, and certifies women's business enterprises and introduces them to corporate members representing $700 billion in annual spend.

Investing in women-owned small and medium enterprises (SMEs) is one of the best ways to simultaneously achieve economic, financial, and social impact. Research shows that women-owned SMEs are significant accelerators of economic growth. Because women are also responsible for nearly two-thirds of worldwide consumer spending, leading corporations are seeking competitive advantage by including more women vendors in their global value chains to better serve and understand their customers. Moreover, women tend to spend more of their earned income than men on the health and education of their families, yielding significant social impact and bolstering future gains in productivity and inclusive growth.

Women’s Entrepreneurship in the Americas (WEAmericas) leverages public-private partnerships to increase women’s economic participation and address three key barriers women confront when starting and growing SMEs: access to training and networks, access to markets, and access to finance. Through these collaborations, the United States and its partners will:

  1. Provide training and mentoring to women entrepreneurs throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, with a focus on business growth;
  2. Support market access initiatives in countries throughout the region; and
  3. Launch and expand initiatives to facilitate women-owned SMEs’ access to credit and other financial services.

U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs