Lagos––The U.S. government is strongly committed to supporting women’s economic empowerment and gender equality through thoughtful and innovative business development programs that enable Nigerian businesswomen to achieve their full economic potential.
On Thursday, a diverse group of 250 women graduated from the fourth cohort of the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) and joined 520 other Nigerian businesswomen who have benefitted from the program.
Designed to help women realize their economic potential, the AWE program is a U.S. government initiative that supports women entrepreneurs around the world and connects them with funding opportunities that facilitate their business expansion and entrepreneurial success.
The U.S. Department of State established the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs in 2019 to provide women entrepreneurs with the skills, resources, and networks needed to start and scale successful businesses.
In partnership with Venture Garden Foundation and Ascend Studios Foundation, founded by Inya Lawal, an alumna of the Fortune-U.S. Department of State Global Women’s Mentoring Partnership program, the U.S. Mission has successfully supported the training of 770 women entrepreneurs through the AWE program.
This year’s participants included 50 female repatriated irregular migrants who are in various stages of building their businesses. Their successful participation has equipped them with the requisite skills and knowledge they need to take their ventures to the next level while helping them to reintegrate into society.
U.S. Consulate Acting Consul General James Suor, in his remarks, highlighted the importance of empowering women and girls for economic growth.
“When women are economically empowered, they re-invest in their families and communities, producing a multiplier effect that spurs economic growth and contributes to peace and stability,” Suor said.
He explained that women’s empowerment and economic integration are key to Nigeria’s long-term economic development.
Suor expressed great pride in the graduates, noting that women entrepreneurs are a growing market force that serves as a critical source of innovation for job creation and economic growth.
“Through programs like AWE, our two countries are working together towards a peaceful, stable, and prosperous future for Nigeria” he added.
Founder of Ascend Studios Foundation, Inya Lawal, in her remarks, lauded the continuous support of the U.S. government which has helped her foundation to equip participants with business management and networking skills that are required to create and run successful and sustainable businesses.
AWE is centered around a three-month, rigorous online course called DreamBuilder, developed by Arizona State University’s Thunderbird School of Global Management and the U.S. copper mining company Freeport McMoran.