The US Ambassador to Dhaka Peter Haas said on Sunday that Bangladesh is “uniquely positioned” in Asia to transition to an urban industrial and middle-income country by harnessing new entrepreneurs.
ideas as well as investing in the professional development of women.
“While Bangladesh has graduated to least developed country status and employs a large workforce of women in the ready-made garment sector, much remains to be done for women to have leadership roles,” she said.
Envoy at is addressing the orientation event “Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE)” supported by the US Embassy and funded by the collaboration of the US State Department and BRAC University at the EMK center in Dhanmondi in Dhaka.
Haas said that growing and sustaining the entrepreneurial sector is key to continued economic growth in Bangladesh as the country needs entrepreneurs to come up with new ideas to help diversify and advance the economy.
“There is no better time to invest in the professional development of women and girls who continue to persist and defy all odds in entrepreneurial ventures, an area historically dominated by men.” He said.
Hass said it is the collective responsibility of everyone to identify, address, and eliminate barriers that prevent women and girls from achieving their dreams.
“As we celebrate 50 years of US-Bangladesh relations, we see Bangladesh as a country of great potential and growth with a young and increasingly well-educated workforce,” he said.
The envoy said that the investment on women must be inclusive and diverse to get the full fruit from it while more than half of the 165 million people in Bangladesh are women.
Under the AWE, a total of 50 Bangladeshi women entrepreneurs will be provided with the knowledge, networks, and access they need to launch and grow successful businesses.
The American Embassy selected 50 women from among 1,600 applicants, representing different ethnicities, religions and sexual identities.
Haas hoped that the participants will make full use of the training opportunities, and will pave the way for many more women in business to come.
The AWE program directly supports the “US National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality” to promote women’s economic opportunities and ensure that women have the necessary skills and resources to participate in the economy.
Through AWE, participants learn basic business skills, then come together as a class to discuss the material with experienced people, local mentors, and former US exchange students.
AWE leverages the power of public-private sponsors, local partnerships, and the American Veterans Exchange network to help women and businesses grow.
A 2021 evaluation of the program showed that 74% of women who completed the AWE program around the world increased their business earnings and 29% hired more employees.
By giving women the tools and confidence they need, AWE’s program is generating income and creating jobs in women-led businesses, driving local prosperity in more than 80 countries worldwide.