Jamaica and the United States Friday launched a new initiative that will help women address common barriers like financing, marketing, branding, and licensing EdTech products.
They said that the US and Jamaican EdTech Women POWER Connect will also will create lasting connections between United States 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,” said Charge d’Affaires at the US Embassy here, John McIntyre.
“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 at the virtual launch of the initiative that was also attended by Education, Youth and Information Minister, Fayval Williams.
The authorities said that EdTech will also seek to leverage 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 United States who either already have an EdTech business or have a concept to launch.
The programme is being funded through Providing Opportunities for Women’s Economic Rise (POWER), the U.S. Department of State Bureau for Economic and Business Affairs’ initiative to support women’s entrepreneurship and economic empowerment.
POWER helps women in the United States and abroad identify opportunities and develop competitive strategies in emerging sectors traditionally dominated by men.
“This initiative also complements USAID efforts to help bridge the technology gap among students by supporting the Government of Jamaica’s “One Laptop or Tablet Per Child”, according to a statement issued here.
In all, USAID contributed more than 2,000 laptops or tablets across the country to support distance learning during the pandemic. In places like Montego Bay’s Flanker neighborhood, designated as a hotspot for crime and violence, USAID programming also helped a local church establish a learning center to assist with virtual learning.
USAID assistance provided equipment (laptops, tablets), internet access, and established strict COVID-19 guidelines that enable the center to operate safely. This assistance is in addition to the more than J$600 (One Jamaica dollar=US$0.008 cents) million in COVID-19 assistance the United States has provided to Jamaica, the statement added.