The United States is partnering with Georgia, a former Soviet Republic that gained its independence in 1991, to strengthen its self-reliance and independence by helping the country to develop its democratic institutions and build a more dynamic, diversified, and inclusive economy.
One sure fire way to bolster any country’s economic growth is to support an enabling environment for young people, especially women, to succeed in the economy. And that is exactly what the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, is doing in Georgia.
In 2015, in an effort to encourage innovation and promote entrepreneurship among the country’s youth and women, USAID partnered with the Georgia-based non-profit organization Crystal Fund to launch the Supporting Youth and Women Entrepreneurship in Georgia, or YES-Georgia, program.
Since then, YES-Georgia has helped more than 3,000 young entrepreneurs and professionals- about 60 percent of them women. Through this program, USAID provided professional skills training to some 900 young people; mobilized 230 million dollars from private and public funds to support youth-owned microenterprises and startup businesses, and assisted more than 200 young people to draft business proposals and apply for financing.
In late January, while visiting Georgia, USAID Deputy Administrator Bonnie Glick took the program a step further announcing an expansion of the YES-Georgia program to support women up to the age of 50. This was in line with the U.S. government’s Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative, or W-GDP. The program will also launch new activities to support women entrepreneurs, including opportunities to apply for financing.
“This new expansion will include supporting women re-entering the workforce later in life, reflecting the practical reality that female entrepreneurs often venture into business at that stage and tend to concentrate in industries with lower capital intensity and average revenue,” said Deputy Administrator Glick. “The long-term goal is to change the way that people think about women’s participation in entrepreneurship, recognizing that many women are held back by negative gender stereotypes. So the program also includes outreach activities to reach 100,000 women and girls across Georgia through media campaigns, social networking, events, and other activities.”
“Like the rest of the world, the people of Georgia want and deserve a stable democracy, with transparent operations built upon the rule of law, safeguarded by a healthy civil society exercising its basic freedoms of conscience, with an opportunity for all populations in society to contribute.”
“USAID programming like YES-Georgia is designed to help Georgia progress down this path.”