Women Go To TechCamp in South America
As we reported earlier women in South America are getting support from both the American government and Ernst & Young to become successful entrepreneurs. One aspect was the establishment of four ‘TechCamps’, and the first such event is now taking place in Colombia, having started on 14 October.
Earlier in October the US Department of State announced a new partnership with Ernst & Young (EY) and the Bureau of Information Resource Management’s Office of eDiplomacy (IRM). This takes the programme forward from its launch in 2012 and formally confirms the joint partnership in running four TechCamps over the next six months.
This is part of the Women’s Entrepreneurship in the Americas Initiative (WEAmericas). According to the World Bank, women are Latin America’s ‘best partner’ in the pursuit for economic growth. Women represent 41% of the economically active population of Latin America and the Caribbean, yet still face major cultural and practical hurdles to success in business.
The four TechCamps draw women from Colombia, El Salvador, Bolivia and Argentina. According to the State Department, ‘These workshops will enable women entrepreneurs in those countries to make better use of technology to grow their businesses.’
One of the issues facing female entrepreneurs in Latin America is that often their businesses lack the ability to easily scale up and grow, and often there is a lack of technological solutions. The first TechCamp, running now in Colombia, is focusing on technologies that improve marketing, export and business growth. It is aimed at women in the fashion and leather working businesses.
Future TechCamps will focus on various business sectors and will develop upskilling in social media, advertising, software development and basic business development.
The idea is that when these skills have been learned and instilled, the women entrepreneurs will not only grow their businesses but they will also pass these skills on to other women in their country and in their organisations.
Each TechCamp will have about 80 women participants. And the best performers from each camp will benefit from further training. The EY-affiliated organisations in each country will take responsibility for a further six months’ mentoring of the best performers so that they can grow and learn more than even they had at TechCamp.
Jennifer Walsh, of the IRM said: ‘In terms of outcome, if we can help even a small percentage to grow their business, to give them some new tools to work with – then that helps their families, their employees, their communities.’