24 business women are poised on their next step of freedom and empowerment as they get ready to make their impact on the world. These 24 Afghan entrepreneurs took part in a graduation ceremony at the ACCI on March 18, 2015 to celebrate their completion of an intensive, unique ten-week business course that culminates in the development of a business plan. The ten-week course took place in Kabul in partnership with ACCI and IEEW is grateful for this collaboration. Speakers of the graduation ceremony, Mr. Khan Jan Alokozai, Vice-Chairman of ACCI, Representative of Afghanistan’s First Lady and Mrs. Manizha Wafeq, Afghanistan Contact of IEEW, on March 18 at ACCI’s headquarter.
This course is part of the PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® program, sponsored by the nonprofit Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women (IEEW). The 9-year-old IEEW was founded by one of the United States' leading public policy and small business advocates, Dr. Terry Neese.
In addition to developing a business plan, the PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® program also
includes leadership development. As part of this training, 15 students will be selected to travel to the United States in July for higher-level business and leadership training. They each will have a mentorship with an American female business owner. They also will take part in an International Women's Economic Summit -hosted this year by AT&T in Dallas, Texas. - a one-day conference focusing on the strength and contribution of women entrepreneurs in Afghanistan and the world over, the obstacles they face, and the free economy solutions to peace.
A third component of the program is called "Pay It Forward," in which each of these 15 students from Afghanistan is committed to paying forward for one full year by teaching their newly acquired business skills to fellow women entrepreneurs in their community.
By the graduation ceremony, Mrs. Wafeq appreciated ACCI for its grateful support toward development of Afghan women businesses since last years. She highlighted importance of such training for empowerment of Afghan women.
And then, Mr. Alokozai congratulated the women entrepreneurs for the program. “Despite existing serious challenges facing Afghan women and lack of possibilities, but we are seeing tangible progresses in different sectors by the past years.” He said
He mentioned the in accordance Afghan constitution, government has to provide possibilities and facilitation for both men and women equally. He also pointed out about responsibility of the relevant Afghan and non-Afghan organizations to teach Afghan women how to take part in the business environment and beat the challenges.
Mr. Mohammad Younus Momand, Vice-Chairman of ACCI for Commercial also spoke and encourage Afghan women to extend their businesses in provinces and villages.
As part of the ceremony, message of the First Lady was presented by her representative. “Afghan strong willing toward making changes in the society is significant and grateful. I strongly support Afghan ladies to approach their goals and expect them to continue their performances.” As part of her message
At the end, the 24 women received their certificates from the high ranking officials in the conference.
“These women are so brave and so dedicated. They embody everything the the IEEW stands for – which is to help women in oppressed parts of the world become business leaders and become their own advocates for change," says Dr. Neese, who is also the organization's Chief Executive Officer. "As a small business owner myself who built up my own personnel agency and then went on to be involved in public policy, I know how much women can accomplish and how those successes can better their entire societies."
The women who participate in lEEW's program learn about this one-of-kind opportunity through women's organizations, and word of mouth referrals within their country. They are required to speak English to participate and apply directly to the PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® program on IEEW's website (www.ieew.org).
The Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women (IEEW), started in 2006, is an Oklahoma City-based 501 (c)3 non-profit with a mission to empower women to grow their businesses, pursue greater entrepreneurial ventures and become more active public policy advocates. The Institute accomplishes this mission by focusing on education, mentorship and coaching women in the United States and abroad who are seeking to acquire entrepreneurial skills to help start and grow a business. IEEW works with a network of mentors, corporate sponsors, and private donors across the United States to accomplish its work.
About Dr. Terry Neese
A member of the U.S. Afghan Women's Council, past national president of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), and founder of Terry Neese Personnel Services, Dr. Neese is known as a small business expert and was recognized by Fortune magazine as one of the "Power 30"—the most influential small businesspersons in Washington, D.C. She is an inductee into the National and Oklahoma Women's Hall of Fame, co-founder and past. President of Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP), and a distinguished fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA). Dr. Neese made history in 1990 when she became the first woman nominated by a major political party for the seat of Lt. Governor of Oklahoma. The grandmother and certified pilot also has been appointed to numerous councils and positions, with nominations by prominent leaders such as Presidents George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.
To view photos of the graduation, please click here.
Jane Derrick, IEEW
Afghanistan Contact:Manizha Wafeq, IEEW