First group of women business owners graduate from Thunderbird-designed entrepreneurship program in Peru

December 16, 2010

The first class of 30 female micro-entrepreneurs graduated today from the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women certificate program, an intensive business development program in Lima, Peru, developed by Thunderbird School of Global Management. The First Lady of Peru, Pilar Nores de García, was the commencement speaker.

The Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women certificate program in Peru was launched by Goldman Sachs and the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in partnership with Groupo ACP, the largest micro-finance institution in Latin America, Universidad del Pacífico and Thunderbird.  Thunderbird professors Mary Sully de LuqueSteven Stralser, and Amanda Bullough worked with faculty at Universidad del Pacífico in Lima to design the program, which focuses on advanced business education, international networking, mentoring, and access to capital. Thunderbird will continue to work with Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women in Peru over the next four years, where it is expected that 700 women will graduate from the certificate program.

Today’s graduation in Peru is the latest achievement between Thunderbird and the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women program to train female entrepreneurs worldwide. The two already partner for Thunderbird’s highly successful Project Artemis Afghanistan, a business development program for Afghan women entrepreneurs, and will soon work together on a program for female business owners from Pakistan. These programs are run through the school’s philanthropic arm,  “Thunderbird for Good.”

“Investing in the education and economic empowerment of women in developing countries not only improves the lives of the women themselves, but enriches the entire community and contributes to the sustainable prosperity of those countries as a whole,” said Dr. Ángel Cabrera, President of Thunderbird School of Global Management.  “Our goal is to change lives and create lasting benefit.”

The female graduates own a diverse range of businesses, including textile factories, commercial meat production facilities and schools.  Through the program they are provided with 150 hours of locally-relevant coursework and extra support through mentoring, networking activities and access to trade associations. 

Although women own nearly half of all micro and small enterprises in Peru, the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women initiative is one of the first training programs exclusively tailored to the specific needs of women entrepreneurs in the country.  Individually, these women’s businesses may be small, but collectively they generate nearly half of Peru’s GDP and play a vital role in the livelihoods of families and communities throughout the country.

“We are pleased to see the fruits of this innovative project, as we are committed to advancing gender equality and fostering inclusive economic growth through tailored educational programs for women in Latin America and the Caribbean. We believe this initiative will help foster women’s entrepreneurship in Peru,” said Luis Alberto Moreno, President of the IDB.