On August 3, 2015, Meridian International Center welcomed a group of women from Morocco, Tunisia, and Egypt for speed-mentoring sessions with members of theMeridian Council on Women’s Leadership (CWL).
The seven women were participating in theAfrican Women’s Entrepreneurship Program, anInternational Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP)sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. The three-week program included visits to Chicago, Philadelphia, New York, Portland, and Washington, DC, for a professional meetings, workshops, networking, and cultural activities. AWEP seeks to help talented African women entrepreneurs promote the growth of their businesses and create long-lasting partnerships and networks, both regionally and in the U.S.
The program featured two 40-minute speed-mentoring sessions between the visiting women and members of the CWL, a diverse group of public and private sector professionals who are committed to the advancement of women’s empowerment and leadership. The event opened with welcoming remarks from Meridian’s Vice President of Development, Amy Selco, who encouraged the women to take this opportunity to “start the conversation” about their ambitions and challenges as entrepreneurs in Africa, and to share the advice and networking tools in their own communities.
The small-group conversations focused on overcoming obstacles that limit African women’s participation in economic growth and access to business opportunities. As the visitors discussed challenges they have faced and goals they are reaching towards, the mentors asked questions and shared personal experiences and suggestions for achieving success. While a Moroccan entrepreneur explained the challenges of finding and building a trusting relationship with a business partner, CWL founding member Gwen Holliday of the DCI Group discussed ways to increase visibility in the U.S. for one woman’s argan oil business. Between the mentoring sessions, the women were joined by Executive Vice President of Meridian,Lee Satterfield, who spoke briefly about the importance of mentorship and congratulated the entrepreneurs on their efforts.
The work of these women will be extremely important in spurring economic growth and promoting women’s involvement in business both in North Africa and across the globe.
( We as WEBB Middle East team , we are delighted that our Chairman Ms.Rim Siam was one of the 7th grassroots african entrepreneurs who shared their visions with their counterparts in U.S.A)