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AWE's Story

To augment the existing slate of projects focused on women and economic empowerment, the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) launched the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE), a new program supporting the growth of women entrepreneurs around the world. AWE was developed to support the White House-led Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative, which is designed to empower women worldwide to fulfill their economic potential, creating conditions for increased stability, security, and prosperity for all. The target is to reach 50 million women by 2025 by promoting an enabling environment that reduces barriers and facilitates women’s participation in the economy.

AWE’s sustainability is built on ECA’s wide-ranging and diverse exchange programs. Localized partnerships around the world will amplify the course experience and provide opportunities for women to continue advancing as leading entrepreneurs.

AWE’s reach extends across Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, and other regions where promoting women’s economic empowerment is a principal U.S policy priority. AWE is committed to providing women the knowledge, networks, and access they need to turn their ideas into reality.

 

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Knowledge

AWE is centered around DreamBuilder, an online training program on women’s entrepreneurship developed through a partnership between Arizona State University’s Thunderbird School of Management and global copper mining company Freeport-McMoRan, for women with brilliant ideas to engage in U.S-style education with guided facilitation and from local alumni, women business leaders, and key interlocutors to ensure business development. As of 2018, it is available in over 65 countries, with over 100,000 learners worldwide. The DreamBuilder Network, established by alumnae, continues to build a national network of business advisors that have become key partners in U.S. entrepreneurship promotion activities.

Within movie-like participatory modules, learners complete basic components of business planning including:

  • Outlining business objectives
  • Refining a prototype
  • Sales & marketing
  • Developing partnerships
  • Securing funding
  • Managing resources

Currently available in English and Spanish, multiple U.S. Missions around the world have successfully used DreamBuilder to reach women entrepreneurs from underserved communities. This step-by-step framework is an engaging and interactive tool for women entrepreneurs ready to start their own business, or those who already own a business and want to develop their skills in a variety of areas.

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Networks

Networking and supplementary engagements are the fundamental pieces of AWE that allow participants to apply lessons learned in the real world. Business and entrepreneurship levels vary tremendously from country to country, giving AWE partners, implementers, and facilitators the opportunity to creatively incorporate and benefit from existing business networks, ECA’s ongoing in-country programs, and other initiatives focused on women’s economic empowerment.

Below are U.S-government programs and initiatives that have synergies with AWE:

  • Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Network
  • Mandela Washington Fellows (MWF)
  • African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP)
  • Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) Network & Fellowship
  • Young Pacific Leaders Initiative (YPLI)
  • International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP)
  • WeAmericas
  • Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES)
  • Fortune 500 Women’s Mentoring Program
  • U.S. Department of State Global Women’s Mentoring Partnership
  • Study of the U.S. Institutes on Women’s Leadership & Social Entrepreneurship (SUSI)
  • TechWomen

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Access

AWE promotes collective economic prosperity and global stability by creating a holistic, inclusive learning community that includes peer-to-peer mentorship, entrepreneurship incubators and accelerators, talks with leading women business owners, and so much more.










Entrepreneurship Resources and Opportunities
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Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES)

Participate in the annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES). GES is the preeminent annual gathering of entrepreneurs, innovators, investors, and thought leaders from around the world, providing a unique event that is a combination of an innovation marketplace and policy forum. Since 2010, an estimated 20,000 emerging leaders having participated in GES, governments and the private sector have committed to provide over $1 billion in new capital to entrepreneurs worldwide.

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Startup Smart: A Handbook for Entrepreneurs

Download the Startup Smart: A Handbook for Entrepreneurs – Handbook Series. Anyone can acquire the knowledge and skills to transform a business idea or insight into a successful business. This handbook helps aspiring entrepreneurs develop a mindset and the skills to honestly evaluate their business idea. It also helps them become comfortable with the idea of business risk and how to minimize those risks where possible. Being a successful entrepreneur takes knowledge, skills, business planning resources and mentoring relationships. It also takes time, planning, patience and flexibility. This handbook provides these tools and guidance for adventurous individuals who are “ready to ride the rocket ship” of being an entrepreneur.

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Calculate Your Startup Costs

Calculate Your Startup Costs will help you answer: How much money will it take to start your small business? Calculate the startup costs for your small business so you can request funding, attract investors, and estimate when you’ll turn a profit.

Content:

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GIST Network

Take advantage of the GIST Network, an online innovation hub, featuring free monthly online interactive webcasts, including features on core fundamentals like building and supporting your startup, angel investments, and using setback to drive success, in addition to workshops on the latest technology like blockchains, and utilizing artificial intelligence in your startup.

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GIST Innovation Hub

Join a GIST Innovation Hub, a community-led meetup group designed to build strong and vibrant networks of young science and technology entrepreneurs hosted in eight key regions across the world, or participate in a GIST Boot Camp, which empower young science and technology innovators and entrepreneurs through on-the-ground training and mentoring delivered by top U.S. mentors and in-country partners.

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Women’s Entrepreneurship Fund

Apply for the Women’s Entrepreneurship Fund, a matching loan fund that delivers direct access to capital to women across 83 countries. Established in 2016 by Kiva.org and the Department of State’s Office of Global Women’s Issues, the fund helps provide access to capital for one million women entrepreneurs by 2021. Eligible entrepreneurs can apply for loans to start and grow their businesses.

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Small Business Association Learning Center

The Small Business Association Learning Center: While concentrated on online workshops for United States businesses, many courses outline fundamentals for entrepreneurs, including evaluating your ideas, choosing among different financing options, the importance of business planning, and legal considerations when registering your business.

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Partnering to Accelerate Entrepreneurship (PACE)

To learn about USAID investments in entrepreneurial ecosystems through U.S. and global partnerships, check out the Partnering to Accelerate Entrepreneurship (PACE) webpage. USAID recently released Insights from USAID’s Support for Small and Growing Businesses, an analysis of our approach to finance that aims to help better understand how working with intermediaries supports entrepreneurs around the world.

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USAID More than Money Report

Many organizations provide technical assistance or advisory support to startups and growing businesses as they require often more than just money to succeed and reach scale, but little is known about what works and what doesn’t in acceleration support. The USAID More than Money report aims to take stock of the evolving ecosystem of advisory support by mapping the current landscape, teasing out the trends, and highlighting lessons learned about what works to date.

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Minority Business Development Administration (MBDA)

The Minority Business Development Administration (MBDA)works with federal, state, and local governments, as well as private organizations, to help U.S. minority businesses overcome the unique challenges they face. MBDA helps provide access to financing solutions and global supply chains, and manages the Inclusive Innovation Initiative (I-3) to increase minority business enterprises in technology transfer.

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USPTO Inventors Assistance Center

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Inventors Assistance Center provides patent information and services to the public and can answer general questions about the trademark process or provide guidance on the type of information to include on a form.  The Trademark Assistance Center is the main support center for all customers, from first-time filers to legal professionals and experienced trademark applicants.

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Power Africa

Power Africa is committed to working with entrepreneurs and our African partners to increase the number of people with access to power.  The Power Africa Toolbox mobilizes 160 different tools from 12 U.S. government agencies and 14 international development partners to drive deals and facilitate investment in sub-Saharan Africa. Tools include transaction assistance, finance, and legal assistance. Understanding Power Purchase Agreements is designed to help Power Africa partners master the expansive, and often confusing, universe of financing options for power project development.

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SelectUSA

Learn more about SelectUSA, a U.S. government-wide program created to facilitate investment into the United States. It helps global companies of all sizes find the information they need to make decisions, connect at the local level, and navigate the federal regulatory system.

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Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE)

Check out the U.S. Department of Commerce houses the Economic Development Administration (EDA)’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE), which fosters innovation and the commercialization of new technologies, products, processes, and services. The Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) Program, is a catalytic national grant program for U.S. entrepreneurship ecosystem supporters.

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U.S. Embassies and Consulates

Check out the U.S. Department of Commerce houses the Economic Development Administration (EDA)’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE), which fosters innovation and the commercialization of new technologies, products, processes, and services. The Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) Program, is a catalytic national grant program for U.S. entrepreneurship ecosystem supporters.

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U.S. Embassies and Consulates

Visit your local U.S. Embassies and Consulates, which support entrepreneurs by advocating for improvements to business climates and by hosting hundreds of public events every year, including setting up mentoring connections, and workshops on angel investing, crowdfunding, or business incubation. For international exchange alumni, your local U.S. Embassy can nominate you for the annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit.

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YALI & YLAI Online Youth Networks

Join the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Network for young leaders in Sub-Saharan Africa or the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) Network for young entrepreneurs in Latin America or the Caribbean! Through these vibrant online networks, changemakers and entrepreneurs can connect with other leaders in their communities committed to sharing ideas and changing the world through action. It's free to join and Network members gain access to free online courses, comprehensive content including toolkits and blogs, as well as networking opportunities - and so much more. Join today!


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Highlights

Flourishing Guatemala’s Entrepreneurial Spirit through Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE)

Flourishing Guatemala’s Entrepreneurial Spirit through Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE)

Guatemala has one of the highest rates of entrepreneurial spirit and it’s about to get higher! Entrepreneurs of Quetzaltenango, Chiquimula and Guatemala City will be trained through the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE), a blended entrepreneurship training course aimed at entrepreneurs without university education. Women selected will acquire the conditions to improve their economic stability by designing business plans, raising capital, and learning how to connect with networks of successful Guatemalan businesswomen.

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U.S. Embassy San Jose partners with Parque La Libertad to launch Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) in Costa Rica

U.S. Embassy San Jose partners with Parque La Libertad to launch Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) in Costa Rica

U.S. Embassy San Jose has launched the Academy for Women Entrepreneur (AWE) together with Parque La Libertad, a social inclusion organization sponsored by the Ministry of Culture in Costa Rica. Available now for 30 women entrepreneurs, participants will receive personalized guidance, get direct mentorship, visit companies, and have the opportunity to receive non-reimbursement funds to invest and in addition to strengthen their businesses.

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U.S. Embassy Accra launches the Academy of Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) to strengthen women's economic empowerment in Ghana

U.S. Embassy Accra launches the Academy of Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) to strengthen women's economic empowerment in Ghana

On Tuesday, June 25, Assistant Secretary Royce formally launched the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) program. AWE will provide online education resources, foster networks that support access to mentorships, and connect women through existing exchange programs. The inaugural cohort will feature women in 26 countries, including 10 in Africa: Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

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Assistant Secretary Royce Introduces AWE at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES)

Assistant Secretary Royce Introduces AWE at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES)

The Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE), which launched this year, was introduced to hundreds of participants at GES sharing information through her remarks, interviews, and meetings with key stakeholders. AWE is designed for women with brilliant ideas to engage in U.S- style education with guided facilitation from local alumni, women business leaders, and key interlocutors to ensure business development.

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U.S Embassy Dar es Salaam empowers Tanzanian women with AWE and innovative SELFINA collaboration for micro-leasing

U.S Embassy Dar es Salaam empowers Tanzanian women with AWE and innovative SELFINA collaboration for micro-leasing

U.S Embassy Dar es Salaam launches AWE for 20 participants focused on small business sectors of farming, fishing, agro-processing, and other crucial needs for rural areas. AWE learners will be equipped with practical skills to create sustainable, applicable business growth and ultimately be integrated into SEFINA's micro-leasing program.

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U.S Embassy Santiago launches AWE with Mujeres del Pacifico to support Chile's APEC host year

U.S Embassy Santiago launches AWE with Mujeres del Pacifico to support Chile's APEC host year

U.S Embassy in Santiago with representatives from DreamBuilder, Freeport McMoRan, and host Norther Catholic University of Coquimbo celebrated the inauguration of the program for 35 enthusiastic women entrepreneurs. Their graduation in will coincide with the timing and location of APEC’s Women in the Economy Forum, the first time an APEC host has made women’s economic empowerment a key pillar of the forum.

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U.S Embassy Tegucigalpa partners with Honduran tech university (UTH) to implement AWE in San Pedro Sula, La Ceiba, and El Progreso

U.S Embassy Tegucigalpa partners with Honduran tech university (UTH) to implement AWE in San Pedro Sula, La Ceiba, and El Progreso

U.S Embassy in Tegucigalpa launches AWE in partnership with la Universidad Tecnologica de Honduras (UTH) through it's three main regional campuses. It will make use of it's modern computer labs, business incubation centers, and open courses on business and entrepreneurship for 90 Honduran women.

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U.S Embassy Madrid Launches AWE in the Canaries

U.S Embassy Madrid Launches AWE in the Canaries

U.S Embassy in Madrid launches AWE as part of the 2019 Gran Canaria Summit, an annual event for entrepreneurs in the Canary Islands. This meeting offers a unique opportunity to support the entrepreneurial ecosystem and give international visibility to startups launched by women university students and entrepreneurs.

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Assistant Secretary Royce Launches the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs

Assistant Secretary Royce Launches the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs

Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) Marie Royce launched the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE), a new program supporting women entrepreneurs around the world, during an International Women’s Day forum on March 6.

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