Frequently Asked Questions

Who implements AWE around the world?

U.S. Embassies and Consulates around the world coordinate AWE implementation, which includes identifying partners, facilitators, mentors, and participants. 

Public and private-sector partner organizations help support, supplement, and localize the AWE experience by providing access to entrepreneurial networks and enrichment opportunities.

To view a list of participating countries, click here.


How many countries are implementing AWE?

Currently, AWE operates in more than 80 countries.  To view a list of participating countries, click here.


What are the key objectives of AWE?

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.

In the countries where it operates, AWE helps U.S. Embassies and Consulates advance specific U.S. foreign policy goals in the areas of promoting prosperity and strengthening civil society.  

AWE helps women entrepreneurs by providing them the knowledge, networks, and access they need to launch and scale their businesses.  Specifically, AWE helps:

  • Provide Resources. AWE participants have the opportunity to engage in U.S-style online education with local guided facilitation from U.S. Exchange Alumni, local business leaders, academics and other local partners.
  • Foster Partnerships. Through AWE, women have access to peer-to-peer mentorship, business partners, and scaling opportunities with businesses in the region and in the United States. Engage Embassy alumni also serve as mentors, facilitators, and contacts for participants
  • Enable Access. AWE alumni have access to a wide range of on-going programs tailored to women’s economic empowerment

What makes AWE different from DreamBuilder?

AWE gives entrepreneurial women the knowledge, networks, and access they need to launch and scale their businesses. AWE is different from DreamBuilder in a number of ways: 

  1. AWE is a facilitated learning experience, which means that women do more than just follow an online course on their own.  With AWE, women entrepreneurs come together as a class on a regular basis and discuss their learning with experienced facilitators.  AWE facilitators are specialized in some areas of business and receive training from the U.S. Department of State.  Facilitators lead classroom discussions about each DreamBuilder module and illustrate the concepts with relevant examples from the local context.  Facilitators also work with local partners, U.S. Exchange Alumni, and business leaders to host additional networking and entrepreneurial events. 
  2. AWE’s carefully curated experience mixes U.S.-style online learning with localized in-person facilitation and mentoring, producing strong results.  More than 80 percent of women graduate from the program.  According to a 2021 survey of women who completed the AWE program, 74 percent of AWE graduates report earning higher revenues and 29 percent hire more staff.  These findings show that the AWE program model promotes local prosperity by helping women-led businesses generate more income and create jobs in communities around the world. 
  3. AWE cohorts (or classes) of about 30 women meet in-person or virtually on a regular basis.  Studies have shown that people tend to learn better in a nurturing, supportive environment, and AWE’s coordinated in-person meetings allow each cohort to develop peer-learning and support networks of women entrepreneurs that promote greater learning and growth – particularly during the challenges of COVID-19.  According to a 2021 evaluation of the program, 90 percent of AWE graduates reported greater self-confidence and greater ability to plan strategically after completing the program.  
  4. The AWE program often includes additional engagements that enhance and contextualize learning to the local environment.  For example, since DreamBuilder does not include country-specific topics, AWE facilitators are able to address specific local challenges, such as registering a business with local authorities, applying for health and sanitation licensing, and paying taxes.  In addition, AWE delivers other professional “soft” skills like public speaking through pitch competitions, or strategic planning and time management.  Strengthening these skills helps women adapt to the challenges of running a business during COVID-19.  
  5. AWE cohorts also increasingly benefit from engaging with International Exchange Alumni of U.S. government programs, which has millions of members worldwide and thousands of alumni in every country.  Exchange Alumni come from all backgrounds and sectors and are often experts in their fields.  In fact, AWE graduates become alumni themselves once they complete the program.  Participation in the International Exchange Alumni Network brings AWE graduates into a larger network that enables them to amplify their learning and interact with local and global communities of leaders and influencers who connect, empower and inspire. 

  6. AWE participants benefit from access to entrepreneurial networks in their communities, regularly coming in contact with players in the business ecosystem, from local government authorities to business leaders and academics, giving them access to the information and networks they need to run their business.  

For people not participating in AWE but interested in DreamBuilder, you can access the free course on


Is AWE only for women?

AWE targets women entrepreneurs who either already have a business, or plan to launch one. 

The AWE program directly supports the U.S. National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality.  By helping women entrepreneurs cope with specific challenges they face in running a business, AWE is helping women more fully participate in and contribute to the local and global economy.


I don’t have an existing business, but am interested in starting one. Is AWE right for me?

AWE can help you start your own business journey and collaborate with like-minded women entrepreneurs.  

To learn more about the program and find out if there is an AWE program near you, please contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your country through email or social media.


In what languages is AWE offered?

Currently, the online learning platform DreamBuilder is available in English and Spanish.  Some countries opt to offer local facilitation and mentoring in local languages. 


Is there an age limit for applicants?

There is no age limit to participate in AWE, however, selection criteria vary by country.


How can I participate in my country?

AWE is a tailored educational opportunity that is organized by Public Diplomacy Sections in U.S. Embassies and U.S. Consulates overseas, who design and implement their own AWE model based on local conditions, contacts, networks, and needs.  

Depending on local programming in each country, options to participate in AWE vary significantly and often involve a recruitment and application process.  

To learn more about AWE, please get in touch with the U.S. Embassy or Consulate through email or social media.


Is there an application process?

Participation in AWE is merit-based.  Eligibility criteria will vary by program and by country.  Candidates are selected based on a variety of factors which may include (but are not limited to) education level, geographic location, language ability, computer skills, and business design.

To learn more about AWE and to find out if your country is implementing this program, please get in touch with the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate through email or social media.


My company is interested in supporting AWE. How can my company get involved?

The U.S. Department of State believes investing in women’s economic empowerment is more important than ever before.  The COVID-19 pandemic has adversely affected the growth of small businesses everywhere and disproportionately affected women-led businesses.  The AWE program is one way that the U.S. Department of State is helping women to adapt their businesses to the new economic realities of COVID-19. 

As more women seek entrepreneurial training, we continue to see an increase in demand for the AWE program and are interested to expand our reach and impact.  Join us to champion women so that they can participate more fully in the global economy. To learn more about AWE and to find out if your country is implementing this program, please get in touch with the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate through email or social media.