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Diplomacy in Action

Letter to Secretary Clinton Regarding Skills and Capacity Building

Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs
August 13, 2012


The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
2201 C Street N.W.
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Madam Secretary:

The International Council on Women’s Business Leadership (ICWBL) appreciates the Administration’s policy to engage the private sector for women’s economic empowerment and business leadership.

Women are empowered to start new or grow existing businesses with the support of policies and practices in the private and public sector.

The ICWBL and its Subcommittee on Capacity Building and Skills Training has defined three core recommendations that work along a continuum to help women grow their businesses 1) gain critical skills in business and entrepreneurship training – with a focus on agriculture and technology (ICT), 2) connect to mentors who can continue to guide and advise as their business’ develop, and 3) transform into qualified suppliers, providing direct access to specific corporate supply chains. To support capacity building and skills training for entrepreneurship, key areas of focus should be agriculture, technology and supply chain optimization.

Each of these recommendations leverages the strategy and infrastructure of existing programs. This is a three-phased approach whereby one program builds on the strength of another. In this way, progress in the first effort will be enhanced by the second, and so on. In addition, this approach will contribute toward long-term sustainability.

We recommend three programs with a phased approach:

  1. Deliver E-mentoring to a larger population of women entrepreneurs
  2. Expand the reach of a global curriculum on entrepreneurship training for women – with specific modules on agriculture and technology (ICT)
  3. Leverage innovative corporate supply chain optimization model for women suppliers

We also recommend policies and practices that support:

  • An increasing supply of women-run businesses offering quality products and services in specific sectors
  • Strong communities connecting women to mentoring, professional networks, apprenticeship and resources for skill-building and education
  • Greater access for women-run businesses to local, regional and global supply chains

We advocate for more research on issues around women’s entrepreneurship. There is a critical lack of data in this area. Specifically, more research around access and usage of technology (specifically, ICT) and its impact on women entrepreneurs is essential to developing high-impact interventions.

Yours truly,

Cherie Blair
Vice Chair ICWBL

Indra Nooyi
Vice Chair ICWBL

Beth Brooke
Sub-Committee Chair ICWBL

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