US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced a new public-private partnership to promote women entrepreneurs in Latin America, a move aimed at boosting overall growth and prosperity.
Clinton told women entrepreneurs in Cartagena, Colombia, that the partnership aimed to provide them with "access to training and professional networks, access to markets, and access to capital and other financial services."
She said the Women's Entrepreneurship in the Americas initiative, where the US government teams up with Walmart and other businesses, will remove barriers for women of African or indigenous descent as well as those from rural areas.
"We have to take these barriers down," the chief US diplomat told her audience before attending the Summit of the Americas on Saturday in the Caribbean resort city.
"We are focusing on small and medium-sized enterprises because we want a bottom-up growth strategy," she said.
Initiatives that allow women to take part fully in the region's economies can spark growth and prosperity that will benefit everyone, she said.
"The most effective way to accelerate a nation's economic productivity and prosperity is to enable women to participate," she said, adding evidence for that is abundant.
In one example, she said the State Department and the Walmart Foundation will "work together to train women entrepreneurs, connect them to networks and resources, and help them scale up their businesses."
Women's Entrepreneurship in the Americas was founded by the US government, the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, ExxonMobil Foundation, Goldman Sachs 10,000 women, Inter-American Development Bank, Walmart Foundation and others.