When women are economically empowered, their families, communities, and country are strengthened through increased productivity and lower income inequality. However, according to the UN, over 2.7 billion women worldwide are restricted from having the same economic opportunities as men, and their labor force participation is 48.5% while men's is 75%. There are numerous ways to empower women economically, and one of the most effective ways is to both train women in technical topics while encouraging them to create collaborative networks amongst themselves. Through a two-day conference, female entrepreneurs from six communities in the Dominican Republic will be empowered to explore and develop their future economic opportunities as well as connect them as leaders in their communities. These women will come together to network, share ideas, and support each other in their economic endeavors. Activities will include business-specific workshops, lectures from different female leaders, and trainings focused on how to improve an existing business or start a new business. This conference aims to address the numerous obstacles women entrepreneurs face daily. By uniting females who face the same problems, our objective is to strengthen their support for each other and empower them individually to overcome these problems. A major goal of this conference is that women will form support networks, in their communities and others, that they will maintain in order to empower each other. Another potential impact would be equipping women with practical tools and knowledge to improve and grow their businesses or to enter the formal workforce if they so choose.
Women are strong driving forces in their families, communities, schools, and businesses. This conference will give them an opportunity to implement and strengthen their leadership skills to plan an event shaped around issues and topics that matter to them. During the planning process, women in the selected communities will meet to share ideas about how this conference will be carried out, ranging from the topics they would like discussed during conference sessions to the schedule of the conference itself so that it accommodates all women and their regular responsibilities. The community itself will also be co-organizing the space for the conference, transportation for the attendees, and printed and personalized materials for attendees. Each participant will be encouraged to be a multiplier of the program in their own community and social circle. Each woman will plan a follow-up activity to take place within one month of the conference, where they will have the freedom to choose how to pass along the knowledge they have gained. Potential activities that will be encouraged include giving a lecture about what they learned and how they are implementing it in their own lives, mentoring a younger community member, or starting a collaborative group with economic or social improvement goals with other community members.