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 aims to encourage women entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity related to traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions by strengthening the capacity of indigenous and local community women entrepreneurs to make strategic and effective use of intellectual property tools in support of their entrepreneurial activities.
The Program provides participants the opportunity to:
build capacity in intellectual property and acquire the skills necessary for an effective use of the intellectual property system, including in the digital economy;
acquire basic knowledge of related fields useful in an entrepreneurial context, such as business modelling, marketing and digital storytelling;
benefit from the support of a mentor to further develop and implement projects and businesses based on traditional knowledge and/or traditional cultural expressions that have an intellectual property component; and
meet amongst Program participants, share and learn from each other's experiences, but also meet potential partners who can provide support with the implementation of the intellectual property components of their projects and businesses.
Video: A Modern Take on Traditional Cloth: Meet Senegalese Fashion Designer Satitia Gomis
Video: Presenting the Indigenous and Local Community Women Entrepreneurship Program
Solveig is a Sámi from Norway. She is an economist and the CEO of a small innovation company known as “Sámi business garden”. The company supports Sámi entrepreneurs operating in the creative industries that make and sell Sámi handicrafts.
As a participant in the program, Solveig has planned and organized a training program on intellectual property for Sámi entrepreneurs. The goal of the program was to address the development, protection and promotion of designs and traditional handicraft. Since then Solveig has continued to support Sámi entrepreneurs on intellectual property issues and is planning further training and awareness-raising activities.
Jimena and Dayana are members of the Carangas Nation living in the Turko Marka indigenous community in Oruro, Bolivia. Turko Marka is a major producer of camelid livestock, llama meat and other derivatives, consisting mainly of jerky. When community leaders took the decision to commercially produce and sell llama jerky, they created and registered the company EcoTurco, which resulted in job creation within the community and the production of nourishing and healthy food for consumers. Therefore, their aim is to tackle unemployment and malnutrition. The community now plans to register a collective trademark, enabling it to export its jerky production to international markets.
Satitia Gomis Manjack, Senegal
Credit | Marc Prince Gomis
Satitia is a member of the Manjack community. Early on, she became involved in the promotion of one of her community’s precious cultural products, the Manjack woven loincloth, a handwoven traditional textile from West Africa, renowned for its quality and beauty.
Under the program, Satitia will organize weavers of traditional Manjack woven loincloth in her region and intends also to develop a local company incorporating both dress and shoe makers that will use the traditional woven loincloth in new creations. Furthermore, to ensure preservation and valorization of the traditional designs and weaving technic, she will apply for a collective trademarks that may with time evolve into a geographical indication.
Maria Yolanda Hernández Gómez Tsotsil Maya, Mexico
Credit | Tania Vázquez
Yolanda is a member of Mujeres Sembrando la Vida, a group of 70 Tsotsil women artisans who decided to band together to sell their handmade textiles, created with a waist loom and embroidered by hand. The textiles are sold via an online store, which has helped to improve the living standards of the members.
As part of the program, Yolanda wants to learn how to protect the designs of the group’s artisanal products and register a collective or certification mark to distinguish their products in the marketplace.
Ashley Minner Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, United States of America
Credit | Jill Fannon
A member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, Ashley is a folklorist and has studied and documented aspects of her community’s cultural identity. Through ethnography, archival research and with the help of her elders and creative team, Ashley has been mapping East Baltimore’s historic area known as “The Reservation”.
As a participant in the program, Ashley has developed several projects that will document the aforementioned historic “Reservation”. These include a print map and guide, a cellphone walking tour application an Arc GIS story map and a dedicated website. Ashley intends to promote the use of these resources and spread knowledge of the Lumbee’s cultural heritage.
Chevauné Moore-Minott Arawak/Maroon of Jamaica, Jamaica
Credit | Alex Moore-Minott
Chevauné is a member of the West Indian Tribal Society, which works towards cultural preservation through promotion, advocacy and education activities. She is also the co-founder of Katawud Natural Products, a tribal business based in Cattawood Springs that creates tradition-based natural products including soaps, herbal teas and medicines to promote the sustainability and economic viability of her culture.
Under the program, Chevauné will focus on the branding and marketing strategy for Katawud Natural Products. She hopes that her initiative will contribute to making indigenous culture fashionable and useful, thus encouraging youth to preserve and practice it in a time when it is often more attractive to abandon indigenous lifestyles.
Judith Blanca Reymundo Ruiz (left) and Marisol Shariva Pérez (right) Platanillo de Getarine, Florida, Ashaninka/Yanesha and Ashaninka, Peru
Credit | Sara Fuentes Maldonado
Peru’s Puerto Bermúdez District is home to 147 Asháninka indigenous communities. The Asháninkas Iroperanto Koya Association of Women Entrepreneurs, of which Judith and Marisol are members, has brought together 50 women from 15 of those communities with the aim of reviving their ancestral culture, language, practices and knowledge, now in danger of extinction. The Association also strives to support the economic empowerment of Asháninkas women and to promote and distribute its members’ products through the Association’s participation in eco-fairs in Lima. Judith and Marisol’s participation in the program will provide the opportunity to develop and implement and IP strategy for the community’s’ products.
Ana Shanshiashvili Georgian Heritage Crafts Association, Georgia
Credit | Lasha Adamashvili
Ana is the Executive Director of the Georgian Heritage Crafts Association (GHCA), which unites more than 300 member artisans, 70% of whom are women. GHCA connects master craftspeople with young practitioners and with contemporary designers. It aims to support the effective marketing of Georgian craft products locally and internationally, and thereby also to economically empower women handicraft practitioners in Georgia.
Ana’s project will enhance the branding of the GHCA shop by registering Ethnodesign as a trademark. She intends to support quality and design standards handicraft products sold through the GHCA by registering a collective mark. Lastly, Ana’s project will explore stronger branding of wool products from the Tusheti/Akhmeta region through the registration of a Geographical Indication for Tushetian Wool products.
Naw Su Wah Karen, Myanmar
Credit | Saw Moo Shee
Naw Su is a Program Assistant at the Karen Environmental and Social Action Network (KESAN). She works with Karen communities to strengthen their traditional practices towards developing food sovereignty and preserving indigenous knowledge relating to food and nature.
As a part of the program, Naw Su will support Karen women with the cultivation and production of dried and preserved mustard leaves, a product unique to Mutraw Karen communities and traditionally used in soups, rice, and salads. Naw Su plans to register a trademark to protect and promote the mustard leaves and will target local markets as well as diaspora communities.
Tia Taurere-Clearsky Nga Puhi/Ngati Kuri (Maori), New Zealand
Credit | Billie Jean Gabriel Photography
Tia is an editor and videographer for broadcast television who noticed that existing online repositories did not provide truly accurate depictions of indigenous people and the way they live. To provide indigenous representation and content to service the film and television industry, Tia decided to create a website to provide indigenous footage and images.
Under the program, Tia has approached indigenous artists in New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the United States of America in furtherance of her project. She aims to protect and promote her work and the work of the artists that will be featured on her website through copyright and trademarks.
The Program has a practical approach, consisting of two phases:
The training phase consists of a practical workshop that includes a mixture of short presentations, case studies and group work.
During the training phase, participants acquire basic knowledge of the main principles, systems and tools of the intellectual property system as they relate to traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions.
The practical workshop also provides the opportunity for participants to network and share experiences with other indigenous and local community women entrepreneurs from around the world to further develop their projects and businesses.
Mentoring and matchmaking phase
During the mentoring and matchmaking phase, participants are expected to implement the intellectual property components of their projects and businesses.
Mentors are assigned to individual participants to provide guidance and support in the implementation of the intellectual property components of the participants’ projects and businesses.
As needed, WIPO facilitates additional assistance through its Program Partners who bring deep and valuable experiences to the table.
Throughout this phase, participants can benefit from several follow-up activities, including booster sessions and clinics.