The Women’s Entrepreneurial Center (WEC) provided a space for female would-be entrepreneurs and business owners from the formal and informal sectors to receive training, access resources, and connect patrons to a local network of mentors that provided them real time, tailored feedback.  

WEC offered women business owners and prospective entrepreneurs ongoing support, advice, resources, and the environment needed to transform their businesses, and in turn create jobs and strengthen local and national economies to provide resources to overcome challenges women business-owners face. Based out of Vientiane, the WEC’s programs incorporated women entrepreneurs throughout Laos.  

Through WEC, current and prospective women entrepreneurs acquired the skills they needed to start a business, tackle the challenge of growing a small business, and take an informal business across the threshold into the formal sector. The WEC offered innovative and interactive training opportunities, for businesswomen to help them learn to better market their businesses. WEC served as an innovation hub where young start-up companies could meet, collaborate, and tap into mentoring networks for women to help solve their challenges in starting and running their businesses. It also provided potential business and trade opportunities, empowering women entrepreneurs to pursue outside resources and support.  

WEC also provided mechanisms to build partnerships and engagements with women’s groups, local community-based organizations, financial institutions, international NGOs, international organizations, diplomatic partners, the private sector, and others essential to the shared aim of women’s empowerment.  

This project supported the MUSP goal to maximize human potential and connectivity in service of narrowing the development gap in the sub-region and enhancing regional integration through supporting a community that engages and benefits the people, and is inclusive, sustainable, resilient, and dynamic.  

Strengthening the U.S.-Mekong Partnership

The Mekong Matters to America The Mekong region – Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam – is strategically important to the United States. The region is a focus of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy, and integral to our engagement with ASEAN. The United States aims to uphold sovereignty, transparency, good governance, ASEAN centrality, and a…