The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), through its innovation laboratory IDBLab and with funding support of the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (WeFi), will be implementing a regional project for capacity building, development, and growth of women-led/owned Small and Medium Enterprises (WSMEs) in Guyana, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador and Ecuador.
The recently-approved Technical Cooperation for ‘We3A – Improving access to value chains for women entrepreneurs’ is valued at US$8,039,317 and includes a contribution of more than US$7 million from WeFi.
We3A seeks to strengthen WSMEs by combining value chain integration for women with high quality business training using a range of innovative, digital means. Primary beneficiaries will be women in early entrepreneurship faced with multiple inequalities and those who do own businesses but are inspired to start one or study entrepreneurship. Aligned to key pillars of the IDB Group’s Vision 2025 for SMEs, gender diversity and digitalization, We3A’s activities will promote women’s economic empowerment in the region.
In Guyana, the IDB Group will collaborate with the Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry Guyana (WCCIG) to coordinate and implement We3A activities, working closely with the other executing partners especially Thunderbird School of Global Management of the Arizona State University. Thunderbird is the main executing agency for the regional We3A project.
The WCCIG will play a key role as the local platform to realize We3A’s three (3) main components Aspire, Activate and Accelerate. Aspire will use storytelling to highlight positives of women’s entrepreneurship. Activate will employ digital means to engage WSMEs while increasing capacity of local partners who will have long-term access to the digital resources. Accelerate will provide accelerator experience and buyer match-making opportunities for WSMEs ready to integrate into value chains.
Thunderbird will, among other activities, develop high-impact, high-engagement online learning courses that include a “business plan wizard” and personalized “action plans” that create unique, personal documents for each learner.
The global WEConnect network will also be involved given its relationship with local organizations and businesses in Latin America and the Caribbean.
We3A is projecting to train a total of 6,400 women-led SMEs, enroll 160 in the accelerator, and graduate 128 WSMEs in recipient countries over the next three years starting in 2021. It will also involve men in project activities to encourage support and create an enabling environment for women’s empowerment. Secondary beneficiaries in this regard will include others in the associated ecosystem such as family members, friends, male influencers, and business owners.