Launch of the Second Phase of the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs

Remarks by U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires a.i. David Young
Launch of the Second Phase of the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs
Lusaka, Zambia
December 2, 2020

Good morning.  I am so pleased to join you this morning to welcome you to the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs or AWE.  On behalf of the U.S. Embassy, I wish to congratulate you for your selection this prestigious program.

Earlier this year, we celebrated as 87 women were the first to complete the AWE program in Zambia, gaining skills, networks, and resources that have helped them establish or grow their businesses.  We were then able to celebrate again when nine of these women earned more than K500,000 each in seed funding through a partnership with the U.S. African Development Foundation, a partnership that is set to continue into 2021.

Today, I am honored to welcome you to this ever-broadening AWE network and hope that you will also benefit immensely from this training.

Your selection demonstrates your exceptional ability and drive and speaks to the quality of your business ideas as entrepreneurs.  I am particularly pleased to see entrepreneurs from Ndola and Kitwe join the second phase of this program since we first launched only in Lusaka in 2019.

AWE is a program that represents the U.S. government’s deep commitment to entrepreneurship and to women’s economic participation in Zambia.  We all know that women face unique challenges in starting and building businesses, in Zambia and around the world.  We know that gender inequalities continue to exist with respect to property ownership, income, and wealth.  And we all know the important role women business owners must play as we plan for Zambia’s future economic prosperity.

Against this backdrop, we believe that AWE will be a transformative program for all of you participating today, and that the program has never been more important.  I hope that the practical tools, knowledge, networks, and mentorship you gain from the program will help transform your business dreams.  Women’s participation in the economy is critical to creating jobs, fighting poverty, and developing families and communities.

I want to thank the mentors, facilitators, and other supporters for your dedication to this training.  Your business expertise and guidance are critical to the success of this program.

Special thanks to our implementing partner, the Women’s Entrepreneurship Access Center, for working relentlessly to ensure the continuation of AWE despite disruptions brought by COVID-19.

As you embark on this entrepreneurship journey, I am excited and look forward to learning about your successes and achievements in the coming months.  I also look forward to meeting many of you in person in the coming months.   Congratulations again and welcome to the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs program!