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Lawmakers Must Recognize the Transformative Power of Tech Education for Women Entrepreneurs

Op-Ed: STEM programs are not just about education, it is about female inspiration and empowerment.
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From 2022 to 2023, the number of women owned businesses increased more than four times the rate of those owned by men. This is in part due to the power of digital platforms and their ability to open the door to entrepreneurship. Modern small business operations and digital platforms are closely linked and intertwined. That’s why it is crucial for New York’s policymakers to keep in mind the trailblazing women using technology in creative ways to grow their businesses and make an impact on their communities.

With more women harnessing the power of social media and targeted digital advertising, they are finding financial independence and taking up entrepreneurship. The role of women and the opportunities available to them are undergoing a transformative shift, particularly for those emerging from the shadows of generational poverty, violence and systemic barriers.

For these reasons, I continue to advocate for small businesses to have a seat at the table as lawmakers craft digital technology policy. The internet and digital platforms democratize access to entrepreneurship, so lawmakers need to ensure any tech-related policies don’t have unintended consequences for local entrepreneurs.
Through platforms like Facebook and generative AI tools, technology is dismantling traditional barriers. During the pandemic, the world witnessed the unifying power of technology. Video calls, Facebook Groups, and our Instagram accounts became lifelines, maintaining the fabric of our communities when physical proximity was impossible. I tell people often, during the pandemic “Facebook saved my life.”
This era demonstrated unequivocally that reliable internet connectivity is not a luxury, it is a necessity, capable of sustaining mental health, fostering community and advancing causes of global significance. Unfortunately, too many places around the world, and even within the five boroughs of New York, lack consistent broadband internet connections.
Bridging this digital divide is a defining issue of our time. However, closing the gap is about more than internet connectivity, it is about skills, education and resources. The organizations I co-founded, It Takes A Village Africa Corporation and EKD Coaching and Training Group, run programs dedicated to empowering women and girls, especially those grappling with the after effects of human trafficking, domestic violence and economic disenfranchisement. Here in Brooklyn, my work is focused on updating the STEM model by integrating Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics into STEAM curriculums.

These programs are not just about education, they are about inspiration, empowerment and ensuring women and girls have the tools to succeed in the economy of the future. A major component of this work is bringing AI training programs to underserved communities in Brooklyn. We offer AI courses and workshops both online and in person. These programs introduce women and girls from underprivileged homes to AI fundamentals, digital media, and data science, helping them access new tech opportunities and career paths.
The mission is focused on more than handing out devices, we’re rebuilding the narrative from the ground up. By improving access to quality education and integrating technological skills, these initiatives not only empower individuals but also fortify our communities. This approach acknowledges the vital role of technical skills in securing economic stability and underscores the importance of STEAM education in fostering innovation and building the next generation of transformative technologies.
By supporting women entrepreneurs and ensuring equitable access to technology, we're not just investing in individual success stories, we're building stronger, more resilient communities. I look forward to seeing our elected officials invest more in workforce training and making sure local business owners and non-profit leaders have a seat at the table in discussions around technology policy.

Erica Krutu Davies is a Brooklyn and Africa-based digital entrepreneur and the founder and chief executive officer of It Takes a Village Africa Corporation and EKD Coaching and Training Group, organizations that aim to empower girls and women through education and technology.