WE Inspire was a yearlong initiative that focused on empowering women specifically those from marginalized groups. The initiative, which was organized in partnership with the U.S. Embassy, concluded with three women entrepreneurs receiving financial awards and 19 entrepreneurs receiving additional support from the CEED network in 2018.
The program brought together women who are, in general, underserved with regard to entrepreneurship. It especially focused on women from marginalized groups such as immigrants, ethnic minorities, first-time job seekers under age of 30, unemployed mothers returning from maternity leave, single mothers and women with disabilities. All of these women have greater challenges in finding work and providing for themselves, their children and their families.
From over 100 applicants in January 2017, 39 women were invited to attend a two-day Entrepreneurship Bootcamp. Among these, 24 women were selected to attend our year-long entrepreneur-learning program, and 19 participants concluded the program successfully. From among the 19 participants, seven new companies were registered in 2017. Other companies had already been registered or were previously established as NGOs, and the program helped them take their companies/NGO’s to the next level.
The focus of the entrepreneur-learning program was to provide training, peer advice, mentorship and networking to help participants develop their business model and prepare them to run their business. Most importantly, the program leveraged the power of the CEED entrepreneur community, immersing participants into the CEED network to help them integrate into the business community and make the connections needed to build business partnerships and engage potential customers. Fifty-six experienced entrepreneurs from the CEED community were recruited to take on roles as mentors or lecturers in the program.
The women entrepreneurs who received the financial awards are: