On May 13, 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Kingston launched the U.S. and Jamaican EdTech Women POWER Connect at a virtual event attended by Charge d’Affaires John McIntyre and Minister of Education, Youth and Information, The Honorable Fayval
Williams. Women in EdTech POWER Connect will create lasting connections between U.S. and Jamaican women in the field of education technology and provide a forum to share experiences in starting and expanding an EdTech business.
According to Charge McIntyre, “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. We also know that the success of global economic recovery efforts depends on our ability to include all citizens in the economy, especially women.”
Through this launch event and a series of webinars, Women in EdTech POWER Connect will address common barriers like financing, marketing, branding, and licensing EdTech products, in addition to leveraging public sector opportunities and public-private partnerships, which are key to the education sector. The program will benefit 37 women entrepreneurs in Jamaica and their peers in the U.S. who either already have an EdTech business or have a concept to launch. This program is funded through POWER (Providing Opportunities for Women’s Economic Rise), 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 U.S. 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”. 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 million in COVID-19 assistance the United States has provided to Jamaica.