The U.S. Department of State's Office of International Visitors, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs is conducting a three-week Multi-Regional Project (MRP) entitled "Women and Entrepreneurship" for a dynamic group of 19 women entrepreneurs and small business owners from around the world. Administered by Phelps Stokes, the group is exploring the contributions of women to the development of the U.S. economy and ways the participation of women in the global economy.
After a week in Washington, DC where the group met with federal government agencies as well as private businesses and women's business organizations, the group divided into three teams to visit either Minneapolis, Minnesota; Albany, New York; or Cincinnati, Ohio. Each team explored global business partnerships as well as current trends and best practices in training women at various professional stages to start and manage their businesses. The teams also visited all-girls schools and community organizations to look at entrepreneurial education and training for girls and young women.
The Minneapolis team met several women small business owners, including Ms. Jill Johnson. Ms. Johnson had this to say about the visit, "Meeting with these women was an amazing experience. Talking about our approaches to overcoming challenges and obstacles reinforced how similar we really are despite our cultural differences. It was so special to be able to share our stories of how we strive to make a difference in our communities and leave a lasting legacy. I made business relationships and friendships that will continue long after today's meeting."
The visitors also felt a similar sense of impact, as Ms. Araksya Melkonyan of Armenia said, "I had a very good time in Minnesota and met very inspiring women. It was incredibly interesting to see how they established and manage their own businesses. The whole group is thrilled and would love to establish business relations with the women we have met."
Following their team visits, the group went to Salt Lake City, Utah to examine state-level support of entrepreneurship and then Pensacola, Florida to explore how technology can be used to manage and develop small businesses.