Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the U.S. will work with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS:US), Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM:US) and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT:US) to promote women’s entrepreneurship in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Sharing a stage with Mike Duke, Wal-Mart’s chief executive officer, Clinton said the State Department, partnering with private and corporate foundations, will provide training and mentoring, support market access initiatives and expand programs to help women-owned businesses access credit.
“The most effective way to accelerate a nation’s economic productivity and prosperity is to enable women to participate,” Clinton said yesterday in a speech in the resort city of Cartagena, Colombia, where President Barack Obama and U.S. officials are participating in the Summit of the Americas.
The Wal-Mart Foundation will support training and provide $1.5 million for grants to promote economic empowerment and development for women-owned businesses in the region, the State Department said in a statement.
Goldman Sachs, through its 10,000 Women Entrepreneurship Partnership program, will bring women to the U.S. for training, while Exxon’s foundation will sponsor grants to support the registration and certification of women-owned businesses in Mexico.
“We believe business has a responsibility and an opportunity to help bring about what you’d call an age of participation, a world where women can fully contribute and where their contributions are respected and valued,” Duke said.
The Inter-American Development Bank will work with lenders on models that support growth in women’s businesses. The Washington-based lender, which supports efforts in the region to fight poverty, will also work with Wal-Mart and the State Department to help women-owned businesses in Chile, Costa Rica and Peru gain access to new markets and increase productivity.
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