Crown Women Rising (CWR), a women-led non-profit organisation with focus on empowering women in business, has launched its programme of action for assisting women-owned businesses in West Africa to become export-ready.
CWR’s operations would kick off with a two-day West African Regional Summit in Accra in September which will work out modules for upgrading the entrepreneurial capacity of women in business and assist them to better understand the benefits of the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) initiative and guide them to gain tax-free access into the vast United States market, while encouraging intra-African trade.
CWR is an affiliate of a United States-based non-profit organisation with focal interest in women empowerment, business partnership development and capacity building and is in close partnership with the State Department of the United States, USAID and the AGOA Initiative.
The non-profit organisation has its headquarters in the United States, but in the past few years, has successfully established two outposts on the African continent - the first African chapter being in Kenya and the second being CWR- Ghana, which caters for the West African sub-region.
Speaking at a press launch to announce details of the upcoming regional summit, Mrs Nana Sekyere, Director of CWR for Ghana and West Africa, said the 2019 regional summit will take place on September 5 and 6 and that Ghana was selected as the undisputed venue ‘because our capital, Accra, was acclaimed last November as West Africa’s Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) ‘City of the Year’.
Mrs Sekyere said the two-day summit will focus on empowering women by providing participants with new opportunities to learn and share new trends and be heard during facilitated sessions presented by experts and thought leaders in small business management.
‘As an organisation, CWR provides a platform for training, networking and the empowerment of women; it further identifies, nurtures and honours high-achieving women who promote business growth and by so doing, engender community transformation,’ she told journalist.
Mrs Sekyere said, CWR operates in the knowledge and strong belief that there are many women out there who are endowed with special talents in business and entrepreneurship but may not even know about their natural gifts.
“What CWR does in such cases, is to help identify and unearth these latent or dormant talents and nurture them through the application of special mentoring and leadership training modules,’ she explained.
She said CWR’s team of experts investigate the barriers and bottlenecks within the participant’s line of business and determine what it would take to upgrade the small enterprise and position it on the path of growth, be it in the area of agro-processing, clothing and textile design, handicraft, foods or other small business categories.
‘Our assistance is provided in the form of technical knowhow and advice, financial support, administrative guidance and confidence-building among other things. But the ultimate goal for Crown Women is to assist to make your business ‘Export-ready’ to enable participants in our programme to trade freely and profitably under the tax-free regime of the AGOA initiative.’
‘Once your business has been ushered into the export-ready bracket, it is a critical part of our mandate to monitor your progress to ensure that the business continues to grow steadily…..and encourage the participant to be community-sensitive in a way which will stimulate job-creation, help transform the community and impact progressively on the lives of other women,’ Mrs. Sekyere said.
In her keynote address, Dr Adrienne Johnson, an accomplished entrepreneur urged women in business to adopt a ‘winner’ mentality and attitude by ‘staying their lane’, being focused on what they want to achieve, being creative, being honest and truthful and by submitting to networking with other entrepreneurs.
While stressing that three thing up-and-coming entrepreneurs must endeavour to keep out of their businesses are politics, religion and race, Dr Soroko proposed four attitudes – Purpose, Passion, Perseverance and faith in the power of God - as being fundamental to every successful business.
Dr Emily Hadassah Soroko, the Founder of Crown Women Rising, urged women in business to be resolute and remain committed to the growth of their business and never surrender in the face of challenges.
She encouraged all women in businesses big or small with intentions of penetrating the American and intra-African markets to attend Crown Women Rising’s regional summit in September.
Mrs Gifty Adjei-Sam, Director Marketing and Promotion at the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), said the Authority’s key role is to facilitate export trade and ensure diversification as well as compliance to quality standards in Ghana’s exports.
In that direction, she said, GEPA lends valuable support to local exporters through training and products development programmes to ensure that they meet market requirements and trade missions.
The Press Launch featured a brief but highly informative panel discussion on empowerment and capacity building for women in business and also had an entrepreneurs spotlight in which a number of thriving Ghanaian small businesses told stories about their different journeys towards success.
The West Africa Regional Summit will run under the theme: “Women Entrepreneurs Empowered for Africa’s Prosperity: Engage, Connect, And Grow” and it is expected to attract high participation of business delegations from North America and across West Africa.