The video below is available with closed captioning on YouTube
This initiative is called "Invest for the Future" because successful businesswomen like you are the key to economic growth. Research clearly shows that investing in women -- particularly in small and medium sized enterprises run by women -- is one of the best ways to accelerate overall development and reduce poverty. You are the drivers of progress.
But despite the evidence, women still face obstacles that make it hard to make the most of your talents. It can be difficult to get credit. And you confront other social, cultural, and economic obstacles. That’s why we created this program -- to give you access to the tools that will help you grow your businesses, from training, to networks of mentors, and advocacy groups.
Since our first conference in January 2011, we've seen new business deals struck between women from neighboring countries. We’ve seen new women’s associations, networks, and mentorships start to take shape, and we’ve seen the engines of new women-owned businesses start to turn.
Over the next three days I hope you will do the same: find new partners, identify business opportunities, and develop concrete plans to reach your goals. I wish you a successful conference and I look forward to hearing about your progress. Thank you.