US launches new initiative to assist Jamaican women

THE United States Embassy in Kingston on Thursday launched the US/Jamaican EdTech Women POWER Connect at a virtual event attended by Charge d’Affaires John McIntyre and Minister of Education, Youth and Information Fayval Williams.

Women in EdTech POWER Connect will create lasting connections between US and Jamaican women in the field of education technology and provide a forum to share experiences in starting and expanding an EdTech business.

“The importance of the EdTech sector and the role of women entrepreneurs in this field has never been more apparent than it is right now as countries struggle to educate their children in the context of the pandemic. We also know that the success of global economic recovery efforts depends on our ability to include all citizens in the economy, especially women,” said McIntyre.

An embassy release said Women in EdTech POWER Connect will address common barriers like financing, marketing, branding, and licensing EdTech products, in addition to leveraging public sector opportunities and public-private partnerships, which are key to the education sector.

The programme will benefit 37 women entrepreneurs in Jamaica and their peers in the US who either already have an EdTech business or have a concept to launch. This programme is funded through POWER (Providing Opportunities for Women’s Economic Rise), the US Department of State Bureau for Economic and Business Affairs’ initiative to support women’s entrepreneurship and economic empowerment. POWER helps women in the US and abroad identify opportunities and develop competitive strategies in emerging sectors traditionally dominated by men.

This initiative also complements USAID’s efforts to help bridge the technology gap among students by supporting the Government of Jamaica’s “One Laptop/Tablet Per Child” initiative. USAID has so far contributed more than 2,000 laptops/tablets across the country to support distance learning during the pandemic. In places like Flanker in St James, designated as a hot spot for crime and violence, USAID also helped a local church establish a learning centre to assist with virtual learning. In addition, USAID assisted in providing laptops and tablets, Internet access, and helped to set up strict COVID-19 guidelines that enabled the centre to operate safely. This assistance is in addition to the more than $600 million in COVID-19 assistance the United States has provided to Jamaica.

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