New program to embrace future female leaders

The McGuire Mexico Scholars program is set to pave the way for future female leaders in Mexico, and the deadline to apply for this new program is fast-approaching.

“It is a women’s entrepreneurship initiative down in Sonora where we are developing an exclusive Spanish-speaking program for approximately 30 to 50 aspiring women entrepreneurs. [It is] for women that want to make an economic impact in the region,” said David Dillon, McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship program manager.

The new program is designed to train and prepare aspiring Mexican female business leaders through a series of workshops at Universidad Binacional in Nogales, Mexico.

The McGuire Mexico Scholars initiative is led by the University of Arizona’s McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship in partnership with the U.S. Department of State, but the workshops will be held in Nogales to ease the process for participants.

“We’re meeting them on their terms and making it easy for these women, regardless of their socioeconomic background, that they can make it to Universidad Binacional to take these courses,” Dillon said. “I think that’s really special in cultivating the right relationship with our friends on the other side of the border.”

Not only does the program prepare future entrepreneurs, it also empowers the female participants.

“The idea is to give this opportunity to a select group of women who have the skills, the ability and especially the desire to collaborate with each other as a cohort. But, also to take their career to the next level,” Dr. Carlos Alsua, McGuire Mexico Scholars instructor, said.

Organizations and community leaders throughout the border region have expressed support throughout the development of the McGuire Mexico Scholars initiative.

“First and foremost, it’s a labor of love for all of us,” Dr. Alsua said. “But, also it’s amazing how much good will and positivity comes from both sides of the border when we have the opportunity to work together.”

Dillon explained the initiative’s leaders want to “incorporate as many stakeholders as possible. We really welcome anybody who learns of this to come to Dr. Alsua, to come to me and discuss potential ways to collaborate.”

In an effort to strengthen the program and benefit the participants, Dillon and Dr. Alsua hope to develop partnerships with organizations and entrepreneurial leaders who are interested in making a difference.

“It’s so fascinating and I feel so privileged to be working on this because there are people from all sides of the spectrum that want to get involved and want to make an impact,” Dillon said.  

The upcoming workshops and cohort will be the first, but the program’s leaders expect the McGuire Mexico Scholars to make a big impact in years to come.

According to Kauffman Compilation: Research on Gender and Entrepreneurship, American women are half as likely to become entrepreneurs compared to their male counterparts.

“There are systemic barriers to women becoming entrepreneurs here. We hope to fill that gap,” Dillon said.

“Overall, I think it’s going to positively affect both sides of the border,” Dr. Alsua said.

The McGuire Mexico Scholars initiative has received approximately 350 applications, and will accept applications until Monday, Dec. 10.

Interviews for the program are set to take place on Thursday, Jan. 10 and Friday, Jan. 11. The cohort workshops begin in February 2019.

Sierra Ciaramella

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