Mary Kay Inc., a leading advocate of women’s empowerment and entrepreneurship, today announced the Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator.
The initiative is a strategic collaboration developed in consultation with six United Nations agencies: UN Women, United Nations Office for Partnerships (UNOP), International Labour Organization (ILO), International Trade Centre (ITC), UN Global Compact (UNGC) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The multi-partner initiative is designed to inspire, educate and empower women entrepreneurs around the world.
The Accelerator will offer a guided digital curriculum supplemented by on-the-ground training and mentorship. In addition, it will serve as an advocacy platform to eliminate entrepreneurial roadblocks for women, ranging from digital literacy to legal reform, enabling women to fully participate in the growth of their local and national economies. The Accelerator will support global efforts to encourage businesses to establish and expand relationships with women-owned businesses, including corporate procurement. Future expansion of the program will include funding opportunities accessible to women who complete the curriculum.
“Mary Kay has empowered women through entrepreneurship and supported their aspirations for financial security and independence for more than 56 years,” said Deborah Gibbins, chief operating officer of Mary Kay. “Private and public-sector organizations must work together to ensure all women entrepreneurs have access to the tools and education they need to make their dreams of financial independence a reality, lifting up their families and communities.”
The Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator initially will be available in six languages, with more to come as the program expands to 192 countries. The Accelerator also will convene an advisory committee of entrepreneurs, celebrities and advocates to oversee the expansion and promotion of the program.
“An informed woman with money in her pocket is an empowered woman,” said Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, executive director of UN Women. “With the growing number of female innovators active today, women’s entrepreneurship and empowerment are strongly on the rise. The advocates from across the world who are joining forces to create the Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator will enable more women than ever to become knowledgeable entrepreneurs, cultivate financial independence, and support their local communities.”
“At ITC we look forward to joining the Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator through our SheTrades Initiative to achieve real progress on achieving SDG5 to empower all women and girls,” said Arancha González, executive director of the International Trade Centre. “With this partnership we will empower women and girls to pursue their entrepreneurship dreams, and equip them with the skills needed to turn those dreams into business success.”
The Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator is the latest in a series of recent steps taken by Mary Kay to empower women and improve their lives around the world. Earlier this year, Mary Kay added its name to a growing roster of businesses and corporations committing to the Women’s Empowerment Principles, a joint project of the UN Global Compact and UN Women developed to emphasize the business case for corporate action to promote gender equality. Mary Kay is also a signatory of the UN Global Compact, the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative. During the United Nations General Assembly, Mary Kay will sponsor the WE Empower UN SDG Challenge, the first global business competition for women entrepreneurs convened by renowned fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg.