Remarks by Charge d’affaires, a.i. Priyadarshi Sen at AWE graduation ceremony (as prepared).

Thanks to Leanda Zeldenrust from Stichting Vonzell for doing such a good job implementing The Academy of Women Entrepreneurs for the Embassy. Congratulations to all of the women here who have completed this program!

“Entrepreneurship is one of our shared values, one of the many similarities between Surinamese and American people.”

The U.S. believes in supporting entrepreneurs to achieve their dreams. America was settled by entrepreneurs who wanted to make a better life for themselves.

Entrepreneurs are the backbone of the economy.  Suriname’s economy cannot rely solely on the extractives sector and commodities like timber for prosperity but should seek to create a long-term, sustainable base of local entrepreneurs and businesses able to compete in the international market.

The United States also firmly believes that expanding opportunities for women entrepreneurs leads to more stable societies. When women entrepreneurs succeed, they’re more likely to invest back into their families and community – into education, nutrition, wellbeing, and children’s health. What’s more, their businesses are more likely to provide necessary services and opportunities to their communities.

“Through the Academy of Women Entrepreneurs we are working with our partners to ensure Surinamese women have the skills, knowledge, and mentorship to build their businesses, and to deepen the economic ties between our nations.”

AWE is part of a global program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State to support the development of women entrepreneurs around the world.

The program empowers women entrepreneurs to develop their economic potential and create conditions for stability, security, and prosperity for all.

It harnesses the power of public-private sponsors, local partnerships, and U.S. Exchange Alumni networks to help women and their businesses grow.

AWE gives enterprising women the knowledge, networks, and access they need to launch and scale successful businesses.

By giving women the tools and the confidence they need, the AWE program is generating income and creating jobs in women-led businesses, driving local prosperity in more than 80 countries worldwide.

A 2021 evaluation of the program showed that 74 percent of women who complete the AWE program increase their business earnings and 29 percent hire more staff.

The entrepreneurial spirit is about taking chances, being creative, having a vision. American entrepreneurs are leaders in the business world and many are global celebrities for their innovations.  But even Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and Oprah Winfrey had to learn the basic business techniques in order to succeed. AWE provides this foundation.

This is the third year of the program in Suriname, and it has been a tremendous success. Thanks to AWE these women entrepreneurs from Suriname have a head start, so who knows what they will achieve?

Not all AWE graduates will be millionaires of course, but they will

  • develop their local economies
  • provide employment and income.
  • Have better job qualifications
  • Help Suriname to grow its economy

Congratulations again on your successful completion of this program. I can’t wait to see what you do in the future.