Kolkata, November 20 (MExN): Celebrating the Global Entrepreneurship Week 2020, the US Consulate Kolkata and Asian Confluence launched the first Academy of Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) in the North East states for 150 early-stage business owners.
It was held through an online event that was livestreamed through US Consulate Kolkata’s and Asian Confluence’s Facebook page. AWE’s maiden launch in India, kicked off by U.S. Consulate Kolkata’s Acting Consul General Monica Shie, brings together 150 women entrepreneurs and early-stage business owners from five north eastern states (Nagaland, Meghalaya, Assam, Manipur, and Arunachal Pradesh),who will be mentored and supported through this two-year long project.
Marie Royce, Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), US Department of State said expressed support to expanding US Consulate General Kolkata’s work to strengthen the entrepreneurship ecosystem in East and Northeast India, with a particular emphasis on empowering women.
Acting Consul General, Monica Shie said welcomed the 150 “change makers” – the first cohort of India’s maiden AWE program.
“We launched the application announcement on September 1 and we are overwhelmed with the record number of applications that we received, some from really remote corners of the Northeast. This global program will help them explore not just the fundamentals of business and capital, but build a better future for families, communities, and their states.”
Sabyasachi Dutta, Executive Director, Asian Confluence stated that gender equitable entrepreneurship development is the need of the hour in realizing the true potential of the North Eastern region.
K Moses Chalai, Secretary, North Eastern Council meanwhile added that given the present economic slowdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, “it is of utmost importance that we find ways to bounce back with effective policies, projects and initiatives to help us get back on a reasonably strong and dependable growth path.”
B Paul Muktieh, Chairman and Managing Director, NEDFi, observed that the AWE initiative is extremely aligned with NEDFi's core mandate and activities.
Jahnabi Phookan, National President of FICCI Ladies Organization (FLO) and US State Department alumna encouraged the participants and shared insights about the work that they are doing to boost women’s entrepreneurship in Northeast India in collaboration with the local governments.
AWE is supporting the selected cohort of prospective women entrepreneurs and early-stage business owners by providing US-style online education with guided facilitation from US State Department alumni, local women business leaders, and other partners. Participants represent a diverse mix of business ideas in sectors that include agri-tech, education, tourism, health, and waste management among others.
The women entrepreneurs from the Northeast are joining the AWE global network that will support participants’ access to peer-to-peer mentorship, business partners, and scaling opportunities with businesses in the region and in the United States.
AWE is designed to empower women worldwide to fulfill their economic potential and create conditions for increased stability, security, and prosperity for all.
Over the next two years, the project will create a sustainable network of women entrepreneurs in five states of Northeast India, including Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh, whose location on India’s easternmost border provides opportunities to strengthen ties with the Indo-Pacific corridor countries.