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2010 African Women Artisans Training Workshops, Nigeria, July 2010

The 2010 Africa Training Workshops

July 19-23, 2010: Lagos, Nigeria
Vital Voices welcomes applications and nominations by individuals as well as nominations by embassies, international institutions, government agencies, business women's networks and non-profit organizations for participation in our African Women Artisans Product & Development
Program 2010 Training Workshops with the generous support of the ExxonMobil Foundation. This workshop will provide women artisan business owners and business leaders with information and expertise in product and export development. Vital Voices will cover all program costs, including international travel, visa fees, local transportation, accommodations, meals, receptions and materials.

Applications are due to Vital Voices by:

* Monday, May 3rd, 2010 for the July workshop.

Only finalists will be contacted.

Criteria for Participant Selection:

* Women leaders in the artisan and craft industry, who own or manage export-ready businesses or artisan cooperatives in Africa.
* Their organizations must have a reliable supply chain, fair labor practices, international banking capacity, communication capacity (email, fax, telephone), environmental sustainability and a track record of innovation and creativity. The participant must be capable with a computer and have regular access to a computer for email communication.
* The organizations should be relatively new to the international export market, with limited or no previous experience exporting to the U.S., Europe and other international destinations. Candidates must have the
ability to get product (packaged) from their location to a location for
* Their organizations should have a significant number of women employees and demonstrate a commitment to hire and promote women.
* Successful candidates have demonstrated leadership potential. Program participants should lead networks or organizations where they have the ability to pass on new entrepreneurial skills and contacts gained from this training and through follow-up activities to other women and girls in their communities.
* All participants will be given the opportunity to contribute to a collection of products for marketing in multiple US-based trade shows. Applicants and nominees should be seen as entrepreneurial innovators or social entrepreneurs, engaged in developing new methods grounded in economic empowerment and sustainability.
* Successful candidates should demonstrate interest in joining a new network of women leaders across Africa and participate in follow-up activities.
* Vital Voices is making special efforts to reach out to young women, and we encourage applications from young women candidates under age 30, as well as from applicants who have demonstrated a willingness to mentor younger women and girls.
* Candidates must be comfortable communicating in English (both written and spoken) and they must have basic math skills to be able to convert currencies (e.g : Kenyan shilling to US dollar etc)

The Women Artisans Product and Business Development Program

The main objective of the Vital Voices Women Artisan Product & Business Development Program is to provide indigenous handcraft women business leaders with product development, management, business development, marketing and communication skills to expand their businesses, create jobs in their communities and achieve a larger share of the international export market for their products.

The Vital Voices Artisan Program organizes intensive week-long workshops where participants are provided with expert training which includes modules on:

Product design and development, Packaging and Packing for Export, Intellectual property rights, Branding and marketing, Export and international trade issues, Costing and Pricing for Export, Distribution in the United States, Europe or other countries throughout the Hemisphere.

Participants learn from expert designers and marketers, as well as entrepreneurs who have developed successful businesses in this area.; During the program, experts and trainers evaluate samples of the artisan's products for aesthetic appeal, quality standards and price points, and advise them on how to appeal to the global consumer in addition to their own local customers. These experts also assist participants to better understand the U.S. wholesale market as well as guide them through the process of export shipment.

The program also includes Talks given by successful handcraft business owners who share their challenges and success stories, to give the artisans a sense of all that goes into building a successful craft business.

Following the training program, the women artisans refine and expand their products and increase their production capacity to appeal to a wide-range of international wholesalers and retailers. Each woman has the opportunity to have her products reach a much wider market and has the ability to expand and grow her business.

In partnership with Bridge for Artisans, a US-based non-profit Distributor, we present select artisans' products to wholesalers at various trade shows in the U.S. Bridge for Artisans participates in our trainings to evaluate products and help the participants better understand the U.S. wholesale market, as well as guide them through the process of export shipment.

In addition, Vital Voices connects seasoned international women entrepreneurs to act as ongoing mentors to the women artisans. The mentors continue to assist the artisans to develop appropriate products for the U.S. and other export markets and to cultivate excellent organizational management.

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