The U. S. Consulate General Kolkata in partnership with Asian Confluence think tank launched the White House-led “Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE)” project.
The project was launched at an online event that was livestreamed through U.S. Consulate Kolkata’s Facebook page.
The launch was a part of the celebration of Global Entrepreneurship Week 2020.
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 Northeastern states.
The women entrepreneurs, who are from Nagaland, Meghalaya, Assam, Manipur, and Arunachal Pradesh, will be mentored and supported through this two-year-long project.
Marie Royce, assistant secretary of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), U.S. Department of State delivered special remarks through a video message, said a press release issued by the U.S. Consulate General Kolkata.
Royce said, “Expanding U.S. Consulate General Kolkata’s work to strengthen the entrepreneurship ecosystem in East and Northeast India, with a particular emphasis on empowering women, I enthusiastically support the Consulate’s participation in AWE.
“I am thrilled to be here for the launch of that initiative today. I congratulate each of the participants,” Royce added.
Acting Consul General Monica Shie said, “I am so proud that this afternoon we are joined by 150 such 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,” Shie said.
Stating that the selection process was a rigorous one, Shie said, “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 said, “Gender equitable Entrepreneurship development is the need of the hour in realizing the true potential of the Northeastern region.”
Endowed with immense natural and human capital, the region is also one of India’s gateways to South East and East Asia, leveraging on which holds the enormous promise of growth, Dutta said.
K. Moses Chalai, secretary, North Eastern Council said, “I am sure that the AWE India program, with its focus on promoting entrepreneurial ideas of women in this region, will contribute effectively towards this goal.”
B. Paul Muktieh, chairman and managing director, NEDFi, said, “The AWE initiative is extremely aligned with NEDFi’s core mandate and activities.”
“My institution will be happy to connect with the women who emerge as some of the front runners of the cohort that AWE India is going to create and nurture to see how best we can facilitate their entrepreneurial spirit and ideas in the days to come,” Muktieh added.
Jahnabi Phookan, national president of FICCI Ladies Organization (FLO) and U.S. State Department alumna encouraged the participants and shared insights about the work that they are doing to boost women’s entrepreneurship in the Northeast.