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Inaugural Launch of the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) in Samoa
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August 16, 2023

Inaugural Launch of the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) in Samoa

A group of women
Inaugural Academy for Women Entrepreneurs Samoa. Photo credit: U.S. Embassy Samoa.

The Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE), a global United States Department of State initiative focused on empowering women entrepreneurs, launched its inaugural program in Samoa. This event marks the beginning of a unique opportunity for aspiring women entrepreneurs to enhance their skills, forge valuable connections, and contribute to the local entrepreneurial ecosystem. Upon completion of the course, participants will proudly become the first-ever Samoa AWE Cohort.

The Academy for Women Entrepreneurs, developed as a global initiative, empowers women around the world to take charge of their economic futures by providing them with the necessary tools, resources, and knowledge to succeed as entrepreneurs. With its launch in Samoa, AWE recognizes and embraces the unparalleled potential of Samoan women in driving innovation, economic growth, and social change.

The inaugural Samoa AWE Cohort will be guided by Ms Adeline Mose of Makeki Online along with renown facilitators and guest speakers across Samoa, who are accomplished entrepreneurs in their respective fields. These experts will share their practical insights, entrepreneurial experiences, and industry-specific advice to shape the participants into successful entrepreneurs. Every session is designed to foster creativity, critical thinking, and foster new relationships that can lead to collaborative business opportunities. AWE Samoa comprises of 20 participants from across various parts of Samoa.

“This is a significant moment that marks the beginning of an exciting journey towards empowering and nurturing women entrepreneurs in Samoa.  The AWE program encourages participants to seize the opportunity to make new connections, expand their networks, and embrace fresh ideas,” said U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affairs Noriko Horiuchi. “By promoting collaboration and fostering a growth mindset, AWE enables women to tap into the power of collective intelligence and learn from each other’s experiences. The program instills confidence and resilience while providing the tools necessary to develop innovative solutions to local challenges,” she added.

AWE, as a prestigious Department of State program, offers numerous benefits for local entrepreneurs. Participants will gain valuable access to a global network of like-minded individuals, mentors, investors, and business experts who can provide ongoing guidance and support. Furthermore, AWE provides access to a vast range of resources, including courses, materials, and tools tailored to assist participants in their entrepreneurial journey.

“The Academy for Women Entrepreneurs recognizes that empowering women entrepreneurs is not only an investment in individual success but also a catalyst for societal progress. By fostering sustainable entrepreneurship and innovation, AWE seeks to create a positive ripple effect, strengthening local economies, empowering communities, and promoting women’s economic independence,” said Ms. Adeline Mose.

About 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.