A particular area of interest for the United States is training and financing small-scale entrepreneurs.
The Western Hemisphere’s record of democratic development and social advancement stands as a model for the world, said U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns at the recent Pathways to Prosperity Conference.
“The success of the Americas,” he said, “is measured not just by the growth of its GDP, but by the number and strength of its middle classes, rights, freedom, and democratic institutions.”
Launched in 2008 Pathways to Prosperity links 15 Western Hemisphere countries committed to democracy, open markets, and social inclusion. Through this initiative, countries share best practices and collaborate to spread the benefits of economic growth to all their citizens.
A particular area of interest for the United States is training and financing small-scale entrepreneurs to help them grow their businesses and reach markets around the world. Building on this work, the United States launched the Small Business Network of the Americas, or SBNA, last April to link more than 2,000 small business development centers in the United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, El Salvador and Colombia. New Small Business Development Centers created under Pathways will join the SBNA network.
Pathways continues to sustain its focus on supporting women entrepreneurs by creating strong networks and providing training, which has become a signature accomplishment of this forum. As stated by Secretary Clinton time and time again, it is clear that investing in women-owned small and medium-sized enterprises is one of the best ways to achieve economic, financial, and social impact.
The Women’s Entrepreneurship in the Americas or WEAmericas initiative, announced earlier this year by President Obama and launched by Secretary Clinton, builds on the work of Pathways and uses private-public partnerships to increase women’s economic participation and improve women’s access to markets, finance, and training and networks.
In an effort to broaden the Pathways network and increase its impact in the hemisphere, a new Pathways clearing house was introduced this year. It has three functions: to share and disseminate best practices; to provide a space for stakeholders to come together to discuss challenges facing partner countries; and to identify promising solutions to these challenges.
The United States and its Pathways partners are committed to stronger economies and more inclusive societies throughout the Western Hemisphere.