Four Colombian women had the opportunity to present their business ventures to Ivanka Trump, senior White House adviser and eldest daughter of U.S. President Donald Trump, and USAID Administrator Mark Green during the pair’s recent visit to Colombia.

Each business owner, who had participated in the Program of Alliances for Reconciliation, a USAID-funded program implemented by ACDI/VOCA, received support and market linkages to help take their businesses to the next level. Since November 2016, ACDI/VOCA has been implementing the Program of Alliances for Reconciliation alongside local partners with the goal of preparing Colombians to come to terms with a tumultuous past, strengthen their capacity to mitigate conflict, and embrace and advance peaceful reconciliation.

One of these women was Alicia Pulido, owner of an organic strawberry farm. In the rural area of Usme, on the outskirts of Bogotá, Ivanka Trump and Administrator Green toured her farm, run by the women-owned business Corporación Red Mujer. Alicia and her mother, Alicia Espinoza, shared how, in just five years, their small farm had more than doubled its acreage and experienced a 15-fold increase in production.

Today, the farm is one of the main suppliers of strawberries to Crepes & Waffles, a popular Colombian restaurant chain in Latin America and Spain. This small business, which employs several local women, was strengthened thanks to the Program of Alliances for Reconciliation’s partnership with the Foundation of the National Business Association of Colombia (Fundación ANDI), which works to drive the competitiveness of small businesses in the country.

Ivanka Trump spoke to the business owners about their hopes for the future.

“These women dream of having more than 20 farms and generating three times more jobs for other women. I have no doubt that if I come back in five years, they will have already turned that dream into a reality.” — Ivanka Trump, senior White House advisor and daughter of U.S. President Trump

During her visit, Ivanka Trump also met with a group of female leaders from different parts of Colombia. Two of those leaders were entrepreneurs who took part in the Program for Alliances and Reconciliation in Cúcuta, a city along the border with Venezuela. Victoria Milena Correa spoke about her business selling and using recycled materials, while Rosa Helena Agudelo shared details about the clothing company she founded. Both businesses received support from the Program of Alliances for Reconciliation and its partners the Cúcuta Chamber of Commerce and Corporación Minuto de Dios.

The visit from Ivanka Trump was part of an effort to promote the White House’s Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative. Established in February 2019, the initiative aims to advance women’s economic empowerment globally through workforce development and support for women entrepreneurs and business owners. The initiative seeks to reach 50 million women in the developing world by 2025.

Learn more about the Program of Alliances for Reconciliation.

Learn more about our work in Colombia.

Photo credit: Hanz Rippe for USAID