Vital Voices Launches Latin America and the Caribbean Businesswomen's Network
We are proud to announce the launch of our Latin America and the Caribbean Businesswomen's Network. Beginning with three pilot programs in Argentina, Guatemala and Nicaragua, the network will mobilize and connect women professionals and entrepreneurs to promote economic growth and strengthen the business environment for women’s economic engagement through training, mentorship and capacity building programs.
The LAC BWN draws on the demonstrated success of our Businesswomen’s Networks in Africa and the Middle East. It involves various collaborative partners — our regional chapters, local women’s organizations, the ExxonMobil Foundation, the Wal-Mart Foundation, the Organization of American States, and others.
The goal of the network is to expand economic opportunity for women in the region. By enhancing the capacity of local organizations to advocate for improved access and more equitable policies, members will advance businesswomen’s interests, fostering economic growth and prosperity.
Listen: Alyse Nelson INTERVIEWED BY Carlos Mota on Imagen Radio
WATCH: crisitana chamorro, Vital voices nicaragua founder, discusses lac bwn launch ON cnn (spanish)
Read the press release below:
Vital Voices Global Partnership Launches Latin America and the Caribbean Businesswomen’s Network to Accelerate Economic Growth
New Regional Network to Provide Training, Mentorship and Capacity Building Programs; Launch Made Possible with Grants from ExxonMobil Foundation and Walmart
MEXICO CITY (JUNE 27 2011) — Alyse Nelson, President and CEO of Vital Voices, today launched the Latin America and the Caribbean Businesswomen’s Network (LAC BWN), which will begin with pilot programs in Argentina, Guatemala and Nicaragua and progressively expand to other countries in the region.
The network will mobilize and connect women professionals and entrepreneurs to promote economic growth and strengthen the business environment for women’s economic engagement through training, mentorship and capacity building programs. Specific activities will be implemented in collaboration with businesses and local organizations, based on in-country needs assessments of women-owned enterprises.
The LAC BWN aims to be the premier organization for businesswomen across the region, building on the success of existing regional BWNs in sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East and North Africa as a key step toward developing a global businesswomen's network.
The new network was made possible by grants from the ExxonMobil Foundation and Walmart to Vital Voices Global Partnership, an organization founded by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in 1997 to advance women’s leadership internationally as a vehicle for transformative change in economic development, human rights and political participation. The organization has reached more than 500,000 women in 127 countries. Vital Voices fostered the idea of creating the network in response to objectives set by local businesswomen in the LAC region.
Reyna McPeck, founder and president of Vital Voices Venezuela, said at the launch, “Our region is experiencing tremendous growth, with many predicting this will be ‘the Latin American Decade.’ We need to tap into the economic potential and talent of women in Latin America — the Businesswomen’s Network will do just that.”
“Businesswomen networks are a vehicle for economic growth and support women entrepreneurs to be leaders of positive change in their communities,” said Suzanne McCarron, president of the ExxonMobil Foundation. “We have seen firsthand the powerful impact of the Businesswomen’s Network in sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East and are excited to expand our investment in this effective economic empowerment model by supporting women entrepreneurs in Latin America.”
The network will mirror existing BWNs, which are demonstrating positive results. The Middle East and North Africa BWN includes almost 2,500 members across 10 countries, with over 18,500 businesswomen having participated in BWN programs. More than 8,000 businesswomen have attended Africa BWN programs, with over 90 percent of participants reporting benefits to their business as a result. The ExxonMobil Foundation provided financial support for the networks in the MENA and sub-Saharan Africa regions, which were launched in 2006 and 2009 respectively.
Alyse Nelson, pesident and CEO of Vital Voices, said at the launch: “Globally, there is growing recognition that women are a powerful economic force; they are the ’emerging market‘ of our time. This is a critical moment for Latin America and the Caribbean; we’ve got to invest in women to capitalize on the momentum of economic growth.”
Eduardo Solorzano, pesident and CEO of Walmart Latin America said of the launch: “At Walmart we believe women play a critical role in strengthening their local economies and communities,” said Eduardo Solorzano, President and CEO of Walmart Latin America. “By creating a regional network that supports women entrepreneurs, Vital Voices is helping more women become catalysts for economic growth and prosperity in Latin America.”
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About Vital Voices Global Partnership: Vital Voices’ mission is to identify, invest in and bring visibility to extraordinary women around the world by unleashing their leadership potential to transform lives and accelerate peace and prosperity in their communities. It is an international non-governmental organization (NGO) that identifies, trains and empowers emerging women leaders and social entrepreneurs around the globe, enabling them to create a better world. Its international staff and team of over 1,000 partners, pro bono experts and leaders, including senior government, corporate and NGO executives, have trained and mentored more than 10,000 emerging women leaders from over 127 countries in Asia, Africa, Eurasia, Lati