Ivanka Trump speaking at lectern as John Sullivan and Marta Lucía Ramírez look on (© Raul Arboleda/AFP/Getty Images)
Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump speaks at a ceremony honoring Colombian women entrepreneurs on September 3. (© Raul Arboleda/AFP/Getty Images)

The State Department launched the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) in Colombia to support women’s successful business ownership.

Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump announced the launch September 3 in Bogotá. U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan joined Trump, along with Colombian Vice President Marta Lucía Ramírez and the U.S. State Department’s Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs Marie Royce. They welcomed the first 40 Colombian women participating in the program.

“The White House is committed to ensuring that women have equal opportunity to participate in the economy around the globe,” Trump said in her remarks.

The AWE is one component of the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity initiative, launched earlier in 2019. The initiative aims to help 50 million women in the developing world by 2025 by ensuring women’s participation in the global economy.

The AWE is being implemented in 26 countries worldwide. The program mentors women entrepreneurs through facilitated in-person and online classes based on DreamBuilder, an online program developed by Arizona State University’s Thunderbird School and the copper-mining company Freeport-McMoRan. Women learn to develop business plans, raise capital and tap into business-sector networks. The DreamBuilder training is supplemented with local speakers, networking opportunities and skill-building activities that support women as they develop their businesses.

“Ensuring that women are fully integrated into the economy results in tangible and quantifiable benefits,” Sullivan said. “By some projections, closing the global gender gap in labor markets could increase global GDP by as much as 12 trillion.”