Professional services firm EY has closed a partnership with the US Department of State (DoS) to support the Women’s Entrepreneurship in the Americas (WEAmericas) initiative, set up by President Obama to encourage women participation in the economy of the Americas. EY and DoS will, in cooperation with local partners, set up technology workshops in four countries that will help women to make better use of technologies to grow their companies, and hence accelerate economic growth.
Improving diversity and women inclusion are becoming more and more important key topics for companies within their HR policies. Employing women can provide added value and a competitive advantage to a company as women generally tend to emphasise other values than men as key elements for success, values that may complement the existing ones. In addition, hiring female employees will give a company a better understanding of its female customers.
Research shows that employed women not only can improve the outcomes of a single company, but also the economy as a whole. As women worldwide are responsible for nearly two-thirds consumer spending, increasing the number of employed women will accelerate economic growth. In addition, women spend more of their earned salary on health and education, which provides a significant social impact and bolsters future gains in productivity. As a result, investing in women, especially in women-owned small and medium enterprises (SMEs), is seen as one of the best ways to simultaneously achieve economic and social impact.
In 2012 US President Obama launched Women’s Entrepreneurship in the Americas (WEAmericas), an initiative that encourages inclusive economic growth in the Western Hemisphere by reducing barriers and increasing opportunities for women entrepreneurs to start SMEs. WEAmericas does this through public-private partnerships that help improve access to markets and capital, provide skills and capacity building, and create leadership opportunities. The initiative has set up several activities for women such as an annual International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) exchange to the United States, during which women will be able to explore a variety of mentorship, job shadowing, education, and skills development programs.
EY supports ‘TechCamps’
As part of the WEAmericas initiative, EY recently announced a partnership with the Bureau of Information Resource Management’s Office of eDiplomacy (IRM) of the US Department of State (DoS). The partnership will set up four interactive technology workshops called ‘TechCamps’ in the coming six months in Colombia, El Salvador, Bolivia and Argentina. Commenting on EY’s involvement, Eric Nelson, Director of State Department's Office of eDiplomacy, says: “Through this new relationship, EY will contribute to the long-term impact of this series of TechCamps which for the first time will specifically target women entrepreneurs, as part of the WEAmericas initiative.” As part of the initiative EY and the DoS will work closely with US Embassies and local partners in the four countries. The workshops will consist of a two-day program during which women entrepreneurs are able to receive training and information from both local and international technology experts, to allow them to make better use of needed technologies to grow their businesses. Local EY-affiliated firms will provide business advice and mentorship to selected entrepreneurs.