By Michael Kanaabi
Ugandan women entrepreneurs are set to benefit from a special US government programme for African women entrepreneurs.
The African Women’s Entrepreneurship Programme (AWEP) launched in 2010, aims at removing bottlenecks hampering women’s full participation in economic activities that can improve their livelihoods.
AWEP Uganda Chapter national chairperson Susan Muhwezi said the programme has created a platform for women entrepreneurs to share experiences, knowledge and network, so as to boost their businesses and capacity to export products to US and regional markets.
Speaking during a meeting with a USAID monitoring team at AWEP offices in Kampala, Muhwezi said they would link local businesses to markets in US, help them with product development and improve the quality of their products.
“We want to do this by empowering local women entrepreneurs through connecting small business owners with established and medium-size business owners to mentor them,” she noted.
Muhwezi also noted that they are trying to ensure that members of AWEP are part of the US Embassy’s data base, as a way of positioning them for any business opportunities.
Statistics provided by the US State department show that women contribute 40% to the global workforce today, yet only control 1% of the world’s wealth, a gap the AWEP programme intends to bridge.
Maria Odido, an entreprenuer and member of AWEP’s networking and training programme, said the programme also creates linkages with AWEP chapters across Africa for business expansion.
Carol Mugasha, another entrepreneur and AWEP treasurer, said the programme has enabled her change her mind-set about business to target a more profitable niche market. To become a member of AWEP Uganda Chapter, you should have an established business.
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US to support women entrepreneurs