Kolkata :Recently, The American Center hosted a presentation on the Global Links Program on Empowering Women through Education and Opportunity. The presentation was given by the students of Dr. Sharmistha Banerjee, Professor of Business Management at the University of Calcutta, who was selected as the first female scholar for the launch of the 2015-17 Global Links Program in India.
The Global Links program is a public private partnership founded in 2011 between the U.S. Secretary of State’s Office of Global Women’s Issues, Rollins College, and Tupperware. On being selected for the Global Links Program, Dr. Banerjee took in-depth business and social entrepreneurship training both at the Tupperware facility and at Rollins College, USA. After this training, she returned to Kolkata and integrated her new-found knowledge in the university’s educational projects. Both Dr. Banerjee and Professor Mary Conway Dato-On of Rollins College were present at the event.
For this initiative, seventeen students of Dr. Banerjee teamed up with women loan borrowers of Bandhan Bank to engage in hands-on practical learning and mentoring of business activities. As a direct result of such mentoring, mentee borrowers of Bandhan Bank and the mentor students have together developed business models under this program, administered by Dr. Banerjee, who is a Global Links Scholar. Under the guidance of Dr. Banerjee and Prof Conway, the mentor students gave a presentation on their experience of dealing with small business women entrepreneurs and highlighted the challenges and strengths of developing business in the region.
Inaugurating the program, U.S. Consul General Craig Hall remarked, “Farida Begum, being mentored by Neha Guha in her shoe manufacturing unit, Jamuna Joardar being mentored by Tripti Beriwal in her tailoring shop, and Ismat Bibi being mentored by Saugata Banerjee in her cap manufacturing unit are glowing examples of formal businesses being developed through the right kind of collaborations between governments, academic institutions, business partners and civil society.”