Back in July 2015 during the GES Summit, United States President, Mr. Barrack Obama promised the establishment of entrepreneurial centres to empower women in the society. This was a topic that he was really keen on during the summit and is quoted saying;
“Women are powerhouse entrepreneurs. The research shows that when women entrepreneurs succeed, they drive economic growth and invest more back into their families and communities”
The WECREATE Kenya Centre is the second one to be opened in Africa. The other centre is at Zambia and another to be opened in Mali in the next coming months. A couple of others have been set up in Pakistan and Cambodia. Over the course of time, more centres will be opened up throughout the African continent.
The event was graced by the American Ambassador to Kenya, Mr. Robert F Godec who was pleased to see the rapid actualization of the centres from the President’s promise last year. He said that this shows the level of commitment that the President and the US government has on the support to empower women entrepreneurs. He thanked the government for creating an environment for a place like the WECREATE Centre to exist.
“The Centre provides women with networking opportunities, where startups can begin to explore new ideas, where women with no business experience can find resources to help them develop and expand and in doing so create new possibilities for themselves and their families”, described the Ambassador, Mr. Godec
The Women’s Entrepreneurial Centres of Resources, Education, Access, and Training for Economic Empowerment (WECREATE) Centre is a physical entrepreneurial community centre is replicable in any community. The project is a public-private partnership between the U.S Department of State Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs (EB) and StartUp Cup. Each WECREATE Centre is tailored to a country’s specific economic concerns ad built in a safe and centralized location for women to gain access to vital economically empowering resources. This should enable them to move from the informal sector into the formal sector while generating momentum for measurable economic and societal change.
The WECREATE Centre is located in a safe and central location with access to various resources that women entrepreneurs can use to create sustainable businesses. In addition the centre will give the following tools and resources in a physical location:
- Trained mentors to assist women entrepreneurs through business challenges
- Education programs on entrepreneurship, go-to-market strategies, access to finance among other things
- Access to technology
- Safe environment to develop business
- Industry focused programming(agriculture, manufacturing, It, professional services)
- Networking opportunities
- Continual personal support for business growth throughout their business development
- Dormitory for longer programs
- Childcare services
- Engaging men and boys as “Agents of Change”
The WECREATE project is not a stand-alone project. As mentioned before, it is a public -private partnership between the U.S Department of State Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs (EB) and StartUp Cup, an organization that focuses on building entrepreneurial ecosystem around the world.
Also on board the project is the African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP Kenya Chapter) which seeks to equip African businesswomen with the tools and opportunities to accelerate the growth of their businesses, become leaders and drive social economic progress in Africa. The Caterpillar foundation which has been dedicated to transforming lives in the communities around the world by supporting education and environment and basic needs to help people out of poverty. The Youth Banner, a not-for-profit organization focusing on youth development and empowerment through entrepreneurship is also on board as well as the implementation partners of StartUp Cup in Kenya
Not to be left behind, the Cabinet Secretary for Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs, Mrs. Sicily Kariuki spoke at the launch highlighting ways in which the government has been empowering the youth and women through various initiatives. She said, “The government has initiated various women empowerment programs which when fully delivered will allow women to enjoy high stakes that exist in business” She also added that 2 million individual have since benefited directly from such funds leading to 9 million families being impacted. In as much as she acknowledged that this was a good result, there was much to do and centres like this only better equip women to take advantage of the resources available.
Not only did she offer the government’s support, but given a flexible schedule, she would offer to be a mentor to the women together with a couple of her colleagues.