On my first trip to Pakistan last year, I had the great pleasure of co-chairing with my Pakistan counter-part the first-ever women's development and empowerment dialogue between the United States and Pakistan. The dialogue sought to identify a common agenda and activities for both countries to affirm their interest in advancing women's progress in support of political participation, economic opportunity, and combating violence. During this trip, I had the opportunity to meet several Pakistani women entrepreneurs and learned of formidable barriers these women face with access to training, mentorship, and finance, to name a few.
In the second dialogue held in Washington the following October, we discussed and stressed the importance of economic opportunities for women in Pakistan. Together our governments committed to supporting new ideas to promote practical business training and microfinance for women entrepreneurs, as well as programs aimed at advancing women's political participation and engagement.
To that end, given the challenges confronting women's small and medium-sized business owners, we announced a partnership with Goldman Sachs to expand its 10,000 Women Initiative into Pakistan. Along with Goldman Sachs, our office will collaborate with the Organization for Pakistani Entrepreneurs of North America (OPEN) and the Thunderbird School of Global Management to promote women's entrepreneurship.
This program has identified ten potential women entrepreneurs from different areas of Pakistan and will provide comprehensive support and tailored training at the Thunderbird School of Business Management in mid-May. Training will cover topics including leadership, financial management, and strategic planning and operations in order to give these important businesswomen the support they need to grow their businesses, create more jobs, and invest in their communities.
While in Washington, DC from May 16-19, these women will take part in a two-day mentorship program. During this time, they will be paired with dynamic successful professionals who can mentor them through some of their most difficult challenges.
If you are interested in serving as a mentor to help assist these women with the growth or expansion of their businesses or to be a source of advice for addressing challenges they are confronted with every day, click here for more information and feel free to sign up here by April 4, 2011.
Update: The application deadline for mentors has been extended to April 13, 2011.