PARAMARIBO – The U.S. Embassy supported Female Led Innovative Rural Startup (FLIRS) and the Academy of Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) – conducted a Female Entrepreneur Fair on Saturday, November 13, 2021.
At the fair, dozens of female entrepreneurs who recently completed the two programs were able to meet with potential clients and promote their business during the day-long event held at Lolo Koekroe. The event strictly followed COVID-19 preventive measures.
“These successful women are reminders that opportunity knows no gender,” said U.S. Ambassador to Suriname Karen Lynn Williams, who toured the fair and spoke with the women business owners. “Entrepreneurship is one of the cultural commonalities between the U.S. and Suriname. We are proud that the U.S. can help support the development of local business owners.”
The Female Led Innovative Rural Startup (FLIRS) was funded by a grant from the U.S. State Department’s Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund. Through the program, a team of U.S. exchange program alumni, led by Moreno Jackson, coordinated training sessions for almost 60 female entrepreneurs in Saramacca, Coronie, Nickerie, Para, and Wanica. Through 14 sessions, they developed their skills and understanding of how to scale their business ventures into larger enterprises and attract new customers.
The Academy of Women Entrepreneurs, in its third year in Suriname, combines local mentoring with an on-line training program called DreamBuilder that was developed through a partnership between Arizona State University’s Thunderbird School of Global Management and global copper mining company Freeport-McMoRan. The program equips women with the tools needed to create and grow their own businesses, raise capital, and effectively network with other successful business owners.
Along with FLIRS and AWE, the U.S. Embassy supports entrepreneurship for all ages, genders, and experience levels through a number of programs. The
Embassy’s Youth Innovative Entrepreneurship Program Suriname (YIEPS) offers training for entrepreneurs between 18 and 24 years old who compete at the end of the program for business start-up micro-funding. The Embassy also supports the Startup Huddle, a monthly gathering of business owners looking for advice and to share best practices. The Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI), is a U.S. State Department exchange program only for young entrepreneurs in the Western Hemisphere, connecting them with U.S. mentors to develop their businesses further. Through the free YLAI network, anyone can access online leadership and business skill training at ylai.state.gov.