LUSAKA – The U.S. government, through the United States African Development Foundation (USADF), awarded six women entrepreneurs a total of over 1 million kwacha ($60,000) in grant seed funding to support women’s entrepreneurship and women’s economic empowerment in partnership with the Women’s Entrepreneurship Access Center (WEAC). Each of the winners received 181,601 kwacha ($10,000) from USADF following a competitive review of their business plans.
The entrepreneurs are part of the second phase of the Academy of Women Entrepreneurs (AWE), a U.S. government program that gives enterprising women the knowledge, networks, and access they need to launch and scale successful businesses. A total of 430 women in Zambia have participated since the program launched in 2019.
The funding addresses financing shortfalls, which remain one of the most significant challenges for small and medium-sized entrepreneurs in Zambia, and illustrates that entrepreneurship is a key priority for the U.S. government. This investment is part the U.S. government’s belief that advancing gender equity and equality is fundamental to every individual’s economic security, safety, and health. In line with the U.S. National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality, supporting women to succeed in entrepreneurship is essential to economic growth and development; democracy and political stability; and the security of nations across the globe.
As an implementing partner, WEAC is eager to continue providing business support to help women develop impact-driven, bankable business plans that are investable and meet funding requirements. This is the second group of AWE participants to receive seed funding from USADF. Over the last two years, the United States has provided over 5 million kwacha ($285,000) in seed grant funding to a total of 15 AWE alumni.