Washington, DC, August 5, 2014 – Kristianne Reindorf, Senior Vice President of The Whitaker Group (TWG), on Tuesday (5/8/14) gave strategic guidance, coaching and advice to a group of 30 women entrepreneurs from 27 African countries on how to successfully penetrate the US market.
Against the backdrop of the first ever US-Africa Leaders Summit, the business women were in Washington, DC, to participate in the U.S. State Department’s 5th annual African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP).
The program was started under the aegis of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which gives their products duty free access to the US market and aims to educate and empower African women business owners. They represented small and medium-sized enterprises in a range of sectors, including consumer goods, textiles and apparel, agricultural goods and food products, and services.
“Women dominate small and medium-sized businesses in Africa and, as such, are powerful drivers of economic growth and opportunity,” Ms. Reindorf, a Ghanaian national, said. “They are the key to bottom up sustainable development because they are often heavily invested in their communities and are able to marshal scarce resources to best advantage.”
“This is an important season for Africa in the US, with the first ever US-Africa Leaders summit taking place around us here in Washington, DC, at this very moment. Africa has moved out of America’s blind spot and there is a real opportunity for Africans and African businesses to make an impact. Placed in the hands of African women, this crucial opportunity can be multiplied exponentially to reach the very grassroots of African societies,” she added.
AWEP identifies and builds networks of women entrepreneurs across sub-Saharan Africa to educate, promote business growth, increase trade both regionally and in the U.S., create better business environments, and empower African women business owners to influence change in their communities.
“I enjoyed Ms. Reindorf this afternoon,” said Ms. Audrey Forson, Director, Marketing and Designs for Tekura Ltd., a handcrafted furniture and design business based in Accra, Ghana. “I am very proud to be a Ghanaian woman business owner and am grateful for this opportunity to learn from other women.”
Ms. Goody Odbiambo of Goodies African Interiors & Gifts in Westlands, Kenya, agreed. “I learned very useful information from the talk today. I am going to claim my personal space as a woman… and carry myself with confidence,” she said.
The AWEP women entrepreneurs who attended Tuesday’s briefing were from Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
The Whitaker Group (TWG) is the premier consultancy focused on trade, business and investment in Africa. Led by Rosa Whitaker, the first ever Assistant US Trade Representative to Africa, TWG has facilitated over $3 billion in capital flows to Africa since its founding in 2003.