The WECREATE Project is a public-private partnership between the U.S. State Department and StartUp Cup, an entrepreneurial ecosystem development organization operating a global network of entrepreneurial accelerators in over 45 countries.
With this commitment, The U.S. State Department and StartUp Cup commit to growing a global network of WECREATE women entrepreneurship centers that can be replicated in any community. Target countries have been selected based on successful opportunities to engage with partners both local and international, U.S. Foreign Policy objectives, and available resources. Current target are Cambodia, Vietnam, Pakistan, Ghana, Kenya and Zambia.
Each Center will be tailored to a country's specific economic concerns and built in a safe and centralized location for women to gain access to vital resources for economic empowerment. Women entrepreneurs who engage with a Center will receive tailored, experiential based education and resources devised to deal with their specific needs to start, build, and scale a business.
Each WECREATE Center will be developed utilizing an entrepreneurial strategic approach and launch within three months of initiating Phase One. Accelerating the development and implementation of each Center is a priority with four phases taking place over a one-year period. The phases include: Design, Build, Evolve and Celebrate.
StartUp Cup has a proven track record of growing entrepreneurs, mentors, jobs and entrepreneurial ecosystems. Their turn-key portfolio of entrepreneurial programs are comprised of well-established entrepreneurial community development models and strategies that utilize a visually driven business model, bootstrapping, and accelerated revenue generation methodology. StartUp Cup is offering a portfolio of entrepreneurial licensed programs; Promundo is assisting in the development of men and boys engagement; Enclude is assisting with the financial programming and will be working to develop relationships with the banking industry in each country.
The commitment includes launching five operating/sustainable WECREATE Centers with satellite centers in each of the five target countries to be delivered at the completion of the commitment term with additional WECREATE Centers launching following the commitment. The proposed three-year WECREATE Project has been designed specifically for each visit and the time in-between visits to build momentum and accelerate tangible results that will empower a sustainable and growing entrepreneurial ecosystem years beyond the launch of each WECREATE Center. Below is an outline of the proposed three-year quarterly implementation strategy:
Design, Team/Organizational Development, and Launch - Pakistan, Zambia, Cambodia, and Vietnam
Design, Team/Organizational Development, and Launch - Kenya and Ghana;
Celebration and Pass-Off - Pakistan, Cambodia, and Vietnam
Celebration and Pass-Off - Zambia, Kenya, and Ghana
Satellite Center Development - Cambodia, Vietnam, Zambia
Satellite Center Training, Celebration and Pass-Off - Zambia, Kenya, and Ghana
The 2012 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Women's Report states the economic participation of women in entrepreneurship varies widely. Gender roles, lack of access to capital, land, business premises, information technology, training, and the ability to scale business sustainability are continual barriers impeding economic growth and advancing gender equality.
According to the September 2011 Kauffman Foundation white paper, 'Overcoming the Gender Gap: Women Entrepreneurs as Economic Drivers' women represent 46% of the workforce globally, while only 35% of startup business owners are women.
While gender and its relevance to macroeconomic policy is a relatively new field, there is still an exclusion of many from the economy. Several countries exclude over half of the world's consumers, and half of the world's talent pool, which does not make sense from an economic growth perspective.
A recent Dell report, 'Gender Global Entrepreneurship and Development Index' highlighted the desire to exploit entrepreneurial opportunities in developing and emerging economies as greatest amongst the less-educated female population, yet the abilities in terms of skills, networks, and access to resources, etc. are missing. As a result, these entrepreneurial aspirations rarely lead to more than subsistent, small scale businesses.
Access to capital is also one of the leading challenges confronting women entrepreneurs. Worldwide, women receive less outside funding for their businesses than men, the Dell report noted. The gap becomes even more apparent for high-potential female entrepreneurs in need of greater amounts of risk capital. Here, men still dominate the number of startups receiving venture capital backed investments.
Women around the world are restricted by the stereotypical role of mother and housewife, which have been imposed on them. Encouraging entrepreneurial environments around the world that empower women entrepreneurs will drive increased gender equality and a stronger global economy.
The U.S. Department of State would like to leverage the momentum and resources secured for the WECREATE centers in Cambodia, Vietnam, Ghana, Kenya, and Zambia with the long term goal of expanding the Centers beyond our initial countries. Through this commitment, the State Department and StartUpCup could elevate the work of the WECREATE project through media support and connections to corporate partners. Additionally, WECREATE seeks potential funding sources and research partners.
WECREATE is offering potential partners the opportunity to support women's economic development. From a corporate perspective, corporations could participate in the development of the Center as part of their Supplier Diversity initiative to develop suppliers for their supply chain or their corporate social responsibility program to enhance the economic participation for women. For other partners, it depends on their level of involvement and their goals for women's economic empowerment. For example, StartUp Cup is offering a portfolio of entrepreneurial licensed programs; Promundo is assisting in the development of men and boys engagement; Enclude is assisting with the financial programming and will be working to develop relationships with the banking industry in each country.