The Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE)

The Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) gives enterprising women the knowledge, networks, and access they need to launch and scale successful businesses. By promoting women’s economic opportunities and ensuring that women have the capabilities and resources needed to participate in the economy, the AWE program directly supports the U.S. National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality.

AWE uses a hybrid model that combines the online platform DreamBuilder (developed through a partnership between Arizona State University’s Thunderbird School of Global Management and global copper mining company Freeport-McMoRan) with in-class mentoring and facilitation. Through AWE, participants learn core business skills, then get together as a class to discuss the material with experienced implementers, local mentors, and U.S. Exchange Alumni. Partnerships with local NGOs, universities, and chambers of commerce offer women the opportunity to amplify their newly learned business skills and network with other businesspeople through speed mentoring, pitch competitions, and entrepreneurship fairs.

At a local level, AWE harnesses the power of public-private sponsors, local partnerships, and U.S. Exchange Alumni networks to help women and their businesses grow. A 2021 evaluation of the program showed that 74 percent of women who complete the AWE program increase their business earnings and 29 percent hire more staff. By giving women the tools and the confidence they need, the AWE program is generating income and creating jobs in women-led businesses, driving local prosperity in more than 80 countries worldwide.