When you think back to what you thought you could be when you were growing up, the chances are that ‘mobile app developer’ was not an option you considered. The employment landscape has changed so much over the years. And it will only keep on changing, fast. Entrepreneurs play a big part in determining the future of our economies, and women should be able to take the place they deserve in this field.
It is in this context that the 72nd International Seminar in Ghana will specifically address the issues faced by women in entrepreneurship. The Seminar will bring together twenty young Canadians and Ghanaians who are engaged in entrepreneurship. The participants, all in the early stages of building their business venture, will have a unique opportunity to share best practices, develop their knowledge and skills, and build an international network of like-minded innovative youth. The two-week program (October 14 – 27, 2018) will provide a space for cross-cultural learning and collaborative problem solving among entrepreneurs.
Why a Seminar on Women in Entrepreneurship?
This year, the International Seminar takes a feminist turn, coinciding with Canada’s new Feminist International Assistance Policy.
Throughout the world, women are fighting for equal rights and economic opportunities. Still, limited access to education, technology, and financing often prevents them from realizing their full potential. Women carry most of the burden of household responsibilities, have less access to large networks of potential customers, and are often confronted with legal discrimination to control over resources. Their aspirations are also limited by gender norms, stereotypes and gender-based violence. As a result, only 3 out of 10 businesses are owned by women around the world.
Improving women’s access to entrepreneurship is key to advancing women’s economic empowerment, while reducing poverty and gender inequality. Young women, in particular, are important economic actors. They have the energy, determination, and innovative ideas to change their circumstances. As traditional job-for-life career paths become scarce, youth entrepreneurship provides a different way to access employment and financial autonomy.
Ghana stands out as a leader for women’s economic empowerment, with almost half of the country’s businesses owned by women. Ghana’s economy is growing and the entrepreneurial ecosystem is vibrant, with new hubs, incubators, and accelerators forming every year. The country appears to be in a particularly strong position to leverage entrepreneurship to create jobs. Ghana also has an increasing number of young entrepreneurs who are being recognized as promising business owners and leaders.
This year will be the fourth time the Seminar will be held in Ghana, the first time being in 1957, the year the country gained independence. WUSC has been working in Ghana since 1994, and our talented team and extensive network already in the country will provide a strong foundation for this year’s International Seminar.
“At the very least, these symposia give our country, indeed the whole world, a more informed awareness. They help us to become better Canadians and better citizens of the world. For this reason alone, such an initiative deserves our constant support.”– The Right Honorable Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Seminar Participant in Ghana in 1957
The International Seminar, a Canadian tradition since 1948
The International Seminar is a transformative experience that has had a significant impact on the lives of more than 3,000 young Canadian leaders – and thousands more around the world – over the past seven decades.
The International Seminar continues to be the extraordinary human adventure that it was when it was first created. By connecting youth from different parts of the world, and giving them the opportunity to share their experiences and knowledge of the world around them, the Seminar pushes back the barriers of space and cultural separations to create strong linkages between youth leaders.
How to apply?
Are you a Canadian (citizen or permanent resident) youth (aged 18-35) and in the early stages of starting your own business? Are you interested in cross-cultural conversations around the barriers that women in entrepreneurship face both in Canada and Ghana?
Submit your application to take part in the 72nd International Seminar by July 15, 2018.