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WIPO Indigenous and Local Community Entrepreneurship Program Welcomes New Group of Women Entrepreneurs

October 14, 2021

WIPO welcomes two dozen women entrepreneurs from indigenous peoples and local communities to a two-week virtual practical workshop on Intellectual Property (IP) as part of the first of two phases under the Training, Mentoring and Matchmaking Program on Intellectual Property for Women Entrepreneurs from Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities.

(Photo: WIPO)

Mr. Wend Wendland, Director of the Traditional Knowledge Division, WIPO, moderates the virtual opening ceremony on October 11, 2021

On October 11, 2021, Mr. Wend Wendland, Director of the Traditional Knowledge Division, opened the two-week Virtual Practical Workshop on Intellectual Property for Women Entrepreneurs from Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities by congratulating the successful applicants before handing the floor over to participant, Ms. Shannon Monk, who led the group in an indigenous opening ceremony.

The virtual opening ceremony marks the start of the second cycle of the WIPO Training, Mentoring and Matchmaking Program on Intellectual Property for Women Entrepreneurs from Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities, offered by WIPO’s Traditional Knowledge Division.

This year’s new group of participants consists of 23 women entrepreneurs from six of the seven geo-cultural regions recognized by the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, who over the coming two weeks will be learning and exchanging ideas on the strategic and effective use of intellectual property and other relevant tools in support of their businesses and initiatives and to the benefit of their communities.

Participants, program partners and speakers were warmly welcomed by Mr. Edward Kwakwa, Assistant Director General of the Global Challenges and Partnerships Sector, WIPO.

Over the next two weeks, you will hear from many of my WIPO colleagues about the various types of intellectual property rights available and become better equipped to make informed decisions concerning the intellectual property strategies of your projects and businesses.

Edward Kwakwa, Assistant Director General, Global Challenges and Partnerships Sector, WIPO

Ms. Tiki Dare, President of the International Trademark Association (INTA), kicked off the program partners’ remarks by underscoring INTA’s support for the program since its inception:

INTA has supported this program from the beginning, because we believe in this empowerment model. We believe that brands are a unique form of IP, well-suited for drawing out and protecting your creativity and creating a point of uniqueness and differentiation. This initiative has tremendous potential to help people and communities in need around the globe through the advancement and protection of IP rights. It is really inspiring to see the participants in this program coming from such diverse backgrounds.

Tiki Dare, President, INTA

In his pre-recorded remarks, Mr. Vic van Vuuren, Director of the Enterprises Department, International Labour Organization (ILO), highlighted the importance of providing tailored support to women entrepreneurs and promoting women’s collaboration and cooperative models:

The Training, Mentoring and Matchmaking Program for Women Entrepreneurs from Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities’ emphasis on post-training support in the form of coaching, peer-to-peer exchanges, and establishment of peer support networks is in line with research we at ILO conducted a few years ago on what works for women’s entrepreneurship, and guides much of what we do, through our women’s entrepreneurship development program, at country level.

Vic van Vuuren, Director, Enterprises Department, ILO

Finally, Mr. Juan Hoyos, Adviser, Sustainable and Inclusive Value Chains, International Trade Centre (ITC) emphasized the central role of micro and small and medium-sized enterprises in employment and income generation, and the need for greater focus on intellectual property rights by these enterprises:

I truly believe that intellectual property is one of the most important, and somehow neglected pillars of international trade, especially among micro and small and medium-sized enterprises. When we talk about commercialization of cultural heritage, we are talking about unique items that are the result of developing and maintaining knowledge and skills through a number of generations. These should be protected, especially in this overconnected world where we are living today.

Juan Hoyos, Adviser, Sustainable and Inclusive Value Chains, ITC

The ceremony concluded with a message from UN Women, delivered by Ms. Aparna Mehrotra, Director of the UN System Coordination Division, in which she emphasized the imperative role of entrepreneurship in addressing the barriers that impede progress and participation by women everywhere:

We cannot emphasize enough the importance of entrepreneurship. It links job creation, income generation, and innovation in ways that benefit the whole of society. The setbacks experienced during the pandemic by women in particular and economies more generally worldwide make the role of entrepreneurship and programs such as this one all the more important.

Aparna Mehrotra, Director, UN System Coordination Division, UN Women

Background of the WIPO Indigenous and Local Community Women Entrepreneurship Program

The WIPO Training, Mentoring and Matchmaking Program on Intellectual Property for Women Entrepreneurs from Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (the Program) aims to encourage women entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity of indigenous and local community women entrepreneurs using intellectual property tools in support of their entrepreneurial activities.

Since 2019, nearly 50 women entrepreneurs from indigenous peoples and local communities have been selected from hundreds of applicants who applied to participate in the Program. They include artisans, designers, performing artists, researchers, healers or small-scale farmers who are planning, or have already initiated, a project or business based on traditional knowledge and/or traditional cultural expressions.

Organized by WIPO’s Traditional Knowledge Division, the Program consists of two phases: a training phase, and a subsequent mentoring and matchmaking phase. WIPO leads the Program with the generous support and cooperation of its Program Partners, the International Labour Organization (ILO), the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the International Trademark Association (INTA).

For more information on our services under WIPO’s Indigenous and Local Community Entrepreneurship Program, sign up for our Traditional Knowledge Updates.

Links to further information on topic covered by the WIPO Indigenous and Local Community Entrepreneurship Program