Nearly 200 women entrepreneurs gather in Kuala Lumpur to foster greater networking among women-led businesses across the Indo-Pacific region
March 7, 2023
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – On Wednesday, March 7, 2023, U.S. Ambassador to Malaysia Brian McFeeters, Deputy Assistant Secretary (DAS) for Policy in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State, Rafik Mansour, and Malaysia’s Minister of Women, Family, and Community Development, YB Dato’ Sri Hajah Nancy Binti Haji Shukri jointly launched the inaugural Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) in Kuala Lumpur.
In conjunction with International Women’s Day, the AWE Regional Summit, March 7-9, brought together nearly 200 successful women entrepreneurs and business leaders from Brunei, Fiji, Malaysia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. During the Summit, participants exchanged knowledge and best practices, expanded their capacity, and networked to foster growth, innovation, and sustainability. The Summit will leverage U.S. business expertise and technology to build business acumen and create stronger ties and networks among women entrepreneurs from the Indo-Pacific. American and Malaysian business leaders and angel investors will guide participants on topics such as using technology to scale up business models, future-proofing businesses, and pitching and marketing to investors.
In his opening remarks, DAS Mansour highlighted that AWE has empowered over 25,000 women entrepreneurs worldwide since its launch in 2019. From improving artisans’ livelihoods through digital marketing to facilitating access to mental health care, AWE alumni have demonstrated the importance of investing in women-led businesses to achieve sustainable growth across the Indo-Pacific region.
Minister of Women, Family, and Community Development, YB Dato’ Sri Hajah Nancy binti Haji Shukri emphasized, “Together with the Women Entrepreneur Network Association (WENA), the AWE program has benefited many women entrepreneurs, providing them access to education and mentorship. I believe education is the key to lifting up women and providing them equal access and opportunities on the playing field. I look forward to learning more about the Summit’s outcomes and how Malaysian women entrepreneurs here can continue to scale up their businesses and provide further avenues for more women to participate and achieve economic success.”
AWE Summit participant Irene Mositol, the founder of DumoWongi, a social enterprise in Sabah, observed, “AWE gave me the skills I needed to fulfill my vision of uplifting the livelihoods of other women in my community through my business in sustainable farming. I am excited to network with like-minded business leaders at the AWE Regional Summit and learn innovative ways to continue growing our businesses and bring change to our communities.”
In Malaysia, AWE is part of U.S. Embassy Kuala Lumpur’s ongoing Wanita Empowered Campaign, which seeks to promote women’s economic empowerment through three pillars: improving access to education, advancing economic parity, and addressing barriers to equality. To date, the AWE program has empowered over 150 Malaysian women entrepreneurs in partnership with the Women Entrepreneur Network Association (WENA) by providing them the skills to achieve their fullest economic potential.
For further enquiries, please contact Fiona Teo at TeoFA@state.gov.
Follow #AWESummitKL and #WanitaEmpowered to get the latest updates on the AWE Regional Summit on social media.
Link to photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/usembassykl/
About the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs
The U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) established the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) as an exchange program in 2019 to empower women with the knowledge, networks, and access they need to launch or scale successful business. Since 2019, AWE has empowered more than 25,000 women entrepreneurs with nearly 100 cohorts worldwide.
AWE uses the online training program DreamBuilder, developed by Arizona State University’s Thunderbird School of Global Management. The program equips women with the tools needed to create and grow their own businesses, raise capital, and effectively network with other successful business owners.
<br /> Participants celebrate the launch of the AWE Regional Summit with Minister of Women, Family, and Community Development, YB Dato' Sri Hajah Nancy Binti Haji Shukri and U.S. government representatives