In focus: Some enterprising initiatives & schemes for women entrepreneurs in US
While women represent the fastest growing category of entrepreneurs worldwide, they need to attract investment and become sustainable; and, securing capital and intellectual property protections is important too.
Small businesses are seen to be the engines of a country’s economy. And, from his first day in office, the US President has taken action to assist small businesses – as they recover from the economic impact of the pandemic. This led to a record 10.5 million applications to start new businesses being filed in 2021 and 2022. Highlighting the entrepreneurial spirit of America’s small business owners, who were eager to forge ahead. It also sheds light on the faith and confidence they have in America’s future.
A recent (January 2023) entrepreneur stats reveal that 16.5 percent of all US adults are currently new entrepreneurs (GEM, 2022). In other words, around one out of every six adults is starting or running a new business, which is defined as an establishment that was started fewer than 42 months, or 3.5 years, ago. So, entrepreneurial spirit of America’s small business owners are indeed, forging ahead.
Here are some initiatives and schemes put forward by United States of America, for women entrepreneurs.
> The Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE)
The Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) helps women wanting to set up their businesses. It gives enterprising women the information, knowledge, networks and access they need to launch and scale successful businesses. By promoting women’s economic opportunities it ensures that women have the capabilities and resources needed to participate in the economy. Thus the AWE program directly supports the US National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality. At a local level, AWE harnesses the power of public-private sponsors, local partnerships and US Exchange Alumni networks to help women and their businesses grow, plus by driving localized prosperity in communities in more than 80 countries worldwide.
> POWER – Providing opportunities for women’s economic rise
In 2019, the Department of State’s Economic and Business Affairs Bureau launched POWER or Providing Opportunities for Women’s Economic Rise. This initiative was based on solid economic analysis and on an understanding of the importance of women’s economic empowerment in foreign and domestic economic policy.
POWER is a multi-tiered initiative – aimed at working with U.S. diplomatic missions and the private sector ( particularly the U.S. private sector) – to build the global professional networks female entrepreneurs need to grow.
Here are some more details: within its first tier, POWER works with U.S. missions overseas and the private sector to build programming aimed at supporting women in establishing and expanding their businesses; and within the second tier, POWER supports the State Department’s economic policy dialogues on topics pertaining to gender-related economic issues. Hence, POWER’s tiered approach enables programming to better align and support US economic and foreign policy goals, while highlighting key economic issues that directly affect women’s ability to successfully participate in the economy and grow their businesses in the US and abroad.
Recognizing that the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of new technologies, many of POWER’s programs focus on – addressing the systematic barriers women face in entering the digital economy.
> Women’s Entrepreneurship (WE) initiative – to empower more women founders across America
In November 2022, United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the Department of Commerce launched Women’s Entrepreneurship (WE) – a community-focused, collaborative & creative initiative to inspire women and tap their potential to meaningfully increase equity, job creation, and economic prosperity. The new initiative was kicked off prior to Women’s Entrepreneurship Day (on November 19) and followed President Biden’s announcement of acknowledging November 2022 as ‘National Entrepreneurship Month’.
WE transpires to build on efforts across the private sector and government – to inspire and support start-ups and aspiring women entrepreneurs, connecting them with each other, with support, and with sources for funding. WE also includes a new online hub – for aspiring women entrepreneurs to provide key information on how to get started, identifying and protecting their intellectual property, options for securing funding, and building and maintaining a network.
> The Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi)
The Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) believes in women as change agents and drivers of economic growth.
The Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) supports women entrepreneurs by scaling up access to financial products and services, building capacity, expanding networks, offering mentors, and providing opportunities to link with domestic and global markets.
> ‘Empower Her’ Initiative
Empower Her is an overarching structure for Global Markets/AmCham EU collaboration on women’s empowerment along with gender equality. The program was officially launched in May 2022. The dedicated goal is – to highlight U.S. companies´ efforts in diversity, inclusion, and corporate social responsibility in the global economy and to join in fostering gender equality and women’s empowerment.
> WE RISE
Women Empowered – Realizing Inclusive & Sustainable Economies (WE RISE) is a women’s economic empowerment initiative. WE RISE programs use approaches that are highly collaborative, integrated, multidisciplinary, and inclusive, addressing women’s economic empowerment in the context of legal and practical barriers such as gender-based violence, conflict, and insecurity.
WE RISE focuses on three central goals:
(1) Strengthen the capacity of civil society organizations to support women’s economic empowerment;
(2) Provide women with the resources they need to succeed as equal and active participants in the global economy;
(3) Engage in collaborative research and learning to build a body of evidence on relevant promising practices.
In 2018, WE RISE’s pilot strategic initiative was launched – Reducing Barriers to Women’s Economic Empowerment in El Salvador and Honduras, and supports the White House- led Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative.