The United States Embassy, in collaboration with the United States African Development Foundation (USADF) and Women’s Entrepreneurship Access Center (WEAC), has yesterday awarded nine women entrepreneurs with funding amounting to K4.5 million to support seed entrepreneurship and women’s economic empowerment.
United States Embassy Chargé d’Affaires, David Young disclosed that each entrepreneur has received K500 thousand from USADF following a competitive review of their business plans.
Mr Young said the entrepreneurs were part of the first phase of the Academy of Women Entrepreneurs (AWE), a U.S. government program to empower women with knowledge, tools, and resources they need to start and grow their businesses.
He explained since the launch of AWE in 2019 a total of 87 women in Lusaka have successfully completed their training.
Mr Young stated that the funding would address the financing shortfalls which remained one of the most severe challenges facing small and medium-sized entrepreneurs in Zambia.
He added that the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a terrible toll on economies around the world, including Zambia and hence the need to start supporting entrepreneurs and growing the private sector which is very important.
And USADF Zambia Country Program Coordinator Guy Kahokola, says USADF’s funding of AWE graduates demonstrates the agency’s commitment to helping women entrepreneurs succeed which is aligned with the all-of-government approach taken by the U.S. government’s Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative.
Mr Kahokola added that the seed funding would give women entrepreneurs access to the capital needed to grow their business
He further complemented the women on the training and mentorship the U.S. Embassy and WEAC were providing.
And WEAC Executive Director Nambula Kachumi said WEAC was strategically positioned to support Zambian women venture successfully into business while helping them address gender barriers to entrepreneurship.
Zambia is among 50 countries worldwide participating in the AWE program launched globally in March 2019 by the U.S. Department of State.
This was disclosed in a statement made available to ZANIS in Lusaka today by the United States Embassy.