The lack of access to finance is one of the major barriers facing women entrepreneurs in marginalized communities across the world. When a woman wants to start or grow her own business, the odds of securing a business loan are heavily stacked against her.
To mark Global Entrepreneurship Week, celebrated in November, the Embassy of the United States in Mali organized a networking and skills building session for 20 women entrepreneurs working in food processing, catering, clothing sales, and textile manufacturing. The session focused on how to access financing and scale up small businesses, and was facilitated by Mr. Moctar Traore, a consultant and economist, and Mrs. Keita Zeinabou Sacko, a coordinator at the Small-to-Medium Enterprise Development Support Program (PAD-PME). Both speakers previously participated in the U.S. State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program, a professional exchange program for foreign leaders.
The U.S. Cultural Affairs Officer in Mali, Ms. DeEtta Cravens, stressed the importance of support networks for women entrepreneurs and encouraged the women to empower and mentor each other.
Each November, Global Entrepreneurship Week reaches millions of people of all ages and backgrounds through local, national and global events and activities. It has expanded to more than 170 nations since its launch in 2008. The U.S. Embassy is proud to commemorate the occasion by celebrating Malian innovators who dream big and launch startups that bring ideas to life.