There’s still time to nominate a successful African woman leader and SME business owner for the U.S. Department of State’s 2012 African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP). The deadline for submitting nominations has extended to March 5, 2012.
This year, AWEP will launch on June 4 with the International Visitor’s Leadership Program (IVLP), which will focus on the U.S. economic system and business development. This three-week program will happen alongside the 2012 AGOA Ministerial Forum, allowing AWEP participants the unique opportunity to meet and network with leading U.S. and African policymakers and business people.
AWEP doesn’t end there; Vital Voices will conduct follow-on leadership and business development trainings in Africa after the IVLP program, and AWEP participants will partake in ongoing alumni networking and mentoring.
The highly competitive program, which was launched by Hilary Clinton in 2010, works to empower women entrepreneurs through the expansion of their business knowledge, leadership skills and commercial and professional networks. In order to qualify for AWEP, your nominee must not have participated in any previous IVLP programs and should meet the following criteria:
- Owner/manager of women-led small or medium enterprises (SME)
- Her business is in one of the following sectors:
- Agribusiness, including food production; value-added agricultural processing; beverage production; and cosmetics derived from natural sources
- Textiles, including fabric design and production and apparel manufacturing
- Home accessories, including high-end home-good products and market-ready exportable handcrafts
- Her business operates successfully and is legally registered in her home country
- Her business currently exports goods or is near export-ready
- The applicant is highly committed to growing her business and has capacity to sustain export activity
- The applicant is 45 years of age or younger; consideration will be given to strong candidates, even if they fall in a higher age bracket
- The applicant currently has a leadership role in local, regional or national women’s business network(s)
If you know an African woman who meets the listed criteria and would benefit from the 2012 AWEP program, please submit a completed application via e-mail or fax to the Public Affairs Officer (PAO) or Economic Officer at your local U.S. Consulate/Embassy by March 5, 2012.
We look forward to working with the talented women that participate in this year’s AWEP program!
Sarah Ewing is the Program Assistant for the Africa Program at Vital Voices.