Tuesday, May 28, 2024

27 pass out in empowerment program targeting women entrepreneurs

Twenty-seven women in Kisumu are the latest beneficiaries of the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE).

The beneficiaries on April 4, graduated in a colourful event, marking the end of a 13-week empowerment program.

AWE has helped more than 15,000 women entrepreneurs around the world grow their businesses and adapt to new economic realities under COVID-19

Ella Wafula, the program’s Lead Implementer in Kenya

The program funded by the United State’s Department Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) involved training, coaching and mentorship to boost the entrepreneurship skills of the women entrepreneurs.

Ella Wafula, the program’s Lead Implementer in Kenya noted that the program has since benefitted 450 women in Kenya since its inception in 2019.

“AWE has helped more than 15,000 women entrepreneurs around the world grow their businesses and adapt to new economic realities under COVID-19,” she said.

She noted that the program implemented in four counties of Kisumu, Nairobi, Machakos and Malindi has seen women entrepreneurs grow their businesses, networks and confidence.

Intensive mentorship

Dr Eliud Wasike, the Program Academic Lead noted that the program involved training of the entrepreneurs on 13 different modules on entrepreneurship.

Some of the areas covered during the program included; strategic planning, marketing, and financial management, then apply these skills in classroom activities and experiential learning with mentors from the local business community.

“Reports indicate that there are over 1.3 million women-led businesses in Kenya, and a number of them lack entrepreneurial skills,” he said.

He noted that the program involved taking the entrepreneurs through preparing bankable business plans, and pitching before a panel.

“From the program, we saw growth,” he said.

FROM LEFT: Kisumu County’s Trade CEC Farida Salim (in pink scuff), Ella Wafula, AWE Program’s Lead Implementer in Kenya, and Dr Eliud Wasike, the Program Academic Lead when they addressed the media after the graduation

A 2021 evaluation of AWE showed that 74 percent of women who complete the program earn more money in their business, and 29 percent hire more people. What’s more, the AWE program empowers women; more than 90 percent of AWE graduates say they are more confident since completing the program, citing stronger skills in strategic planning and public speaking.

As of 2021, more than 15,000 women in nearly 80 countries have participated in AWE across the Western Hemisphere, Africa, Europe, Asia and the Pacific.

The AWE program targets entrepreneurial women of all ages who either already own a business or aspire to, who live in urban and rural communities, and work across multiple sectors.

Ease of doing business

Kisumu County’s Trade Member of Executive Committee Farida Salim who presided over the pass out applauded the program, saying it plugs into the county’s program of uplifting small scale business people.

“Ours is to facilitate the ease of doing business through policies around licensing, and financing,” she said.

She noted that her office will enrol the graduates into the county’s Entrepreneurship Clinic Programs so as to help them build on what they learned from the AWE program.

Ours is to facilitate the ease of doing business through policies around licensing, and financing

Farida Salim, Trade CEC, Kisumu County

“We are calling on the entrepreneurs to make use of the relevant county offices so as to be able to benefit from the available opportunities,” she said.

With the county set to host Fish Fiesta between April 25 and 27, Farida called on the entrepreneurs to come out and exhibit their products.

The signature event aims to promote and position Kisumu as a tourism, trade, and investments hub within the Western Circuit and beyond.

Kevine Omollo
Lake Region Bulletin is your one stop multi-media platform for news from Lake Region Counties of Kisumu, Siaya, Homa Bay, Migori, Kisii, Nyamira, Vihiga, Kakamega, Busia, Bungoma, Trans Nzoia, Nandi, Kericho and Bomet. Email: komollo@lakeregionbulletin.co.ke omollokevine@gmail.com

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