United States (U.S.) Embassy supports Mbeya Women Entrepreneurs

US Embassy in Tanzania

Thirty-one women entrepreneurs from Mbeya today completed a 13-week specialization in business and entrepreneurship funded by the US government through the Academy of Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) program. The women were honored during a graduation ceremony attended by the Speaker of the National Assembly of Tanzania, Dr. Tulia Ackson, Mbeya District Commissioner Dr. Rashid Mohammed Chuachua, Vice Chancellor of Mbeya University of Science and Technology ( MUSS) Prof. Aloyce Mvuma and many other distinguished guests. Ambassador Donald Wright spoke on behalf of the US Embassy.

AWE is a global US government initiative to advance women’s economic empowerment with the goal of helping 50 million women worldwide realize their economic potential. AWE is committed to providing women with the knowledge, networks and access they need to turn their ideas into reality.

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Speaking to the graduates during the ceremony, Ambassador Wright described the impact of the training provided by AWE. “The thirteen-week training you received through this program gave you the practical skills to build sustainable businesses and a network of mentors and like-minded entrepreneurs across the United States,” he said.

He added that women’s economic empowerment is the fastest way to transform society. “Women have a powerful multiplier effect on the wider community because when women are successful, they are more likely to invest their income in their families and their communities, paying for things like their children’s education and healthcare. The economic benefit of your services supports future generations. Their creativity is already having an impact on Tanzania’s society and economy,” he said.

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The Mbeya cohort is the sixth group of women participating in AWE. The first group of 20 women graduated in Dar es Salaam on September 9, 2019. The second group of 25 women entrepreneurs from Iringa completed their program on December 16, 2020. The third group of 17 female entrepreneurs from Zanzibar graduated on June 28, 2021. The fourth group of 32 entrepreneurs from Mwanza graduated on November 8, 2021 and the fifth group of 31 entrepreneurs from Dodoma graduated on June 6, 2022.

Through a partnership with the US African Development Foundation (USADF), entrepreneurs participating in the AWE program are eligible for up to $25,000 in additional seed funding from USADF to grow their businesses.

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The US Embassy is working with Selfina to implement the AWE program in Tanzania. Selfina was born in 2002 by Dr. Founded by Victoria Kisyombe, it is a pioneer of microcredit in Tanzania through microleasing with a particular focus on widows and young girls. Over the past 19 years, SELFINA has empowered more than 31,000 women economically through an active revolving fund. Over 300,000 lives have been impacted by the accrued benefits. Women are now owners of their own businesses and more than 150,000 jobs have been created.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of the US Embassy in Tanzania.

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