Kuala Lumpur – On Thursday 19 August 2021, U.S. Ambassador to Malaysia Brian D. McFeeters launched the second cycle of the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) with the Women Entrepreneur Network Association (WENA). AWE is a business development program that empowers women to become independent and confident entrepreneurs through capacity building, networking and mentoring opportunities.
Established by the U.S. State Department under the White House-led Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative, AWE supports the growth of women entrepreneurs around the world through a partnership with the Arizona State University’s (ASU) Thunderbird School of Global Management. AWE participants complete ASU’s Dreambuilder, an online learning program that equips participants with the knowledge and tools to create and grow their own businesses, raise capital and network effectively with other business owners.
Throughout the program, AWE participants will have mentors to guide them and the opportunity to interact with women business leaders. They will also pursue training in areas such as public speaking, civic responsibility, and tips on building and leveraging a women-supporting-women ecosystem. Upon completion, WENA will introduce a micro-financing scheme, in which selected participants will be given a RM1,000 loan to help boost their business growth.
The AWE 2.0 launch inaugurated 50 new participants from Klang Valley, Penang, Terengganu, Sabah, and Sarawak. It also celebrated the successes of the first alumni cohort who shared how AWE has helped them to develop greater self-confidence as entrepreneurs and pivot their businesses online during the ongoing pandemic.
WENA President, Nuraizah Shamsul Baharin said “The AWE program has been a rewarding experience for WENA. It has given us the opportunity to work with so many amazing women. We are happy and proud to see how the first cohort has grown as entrepreneurs and survived the pandemic. We look forward to working with the next cohort.”
Ambassador McFeeters emphasized “The AWE program reflects the importance we place on promoting equality in opportunity and supporting women’s economic empowerment. Women’s meaningful economic participation is integral to achieving greater security and stability around the world. When women are empowered economically, they invest in their families and communities, spurring economic growth and creating more stable societies.”
AWE is part of the U.S. Embassy’s Wanita Empowered Campaign, which seeks to further women’s economic empowerment through three pillars: improving access to education, advancing economic parity, and addressing barriers to equality.
Further enquiries on AWE can be made via email to Nuraizah Shamsul Baharin at
WENA is Malaysia’s leading network for women entrepreneurs, business leaders and professionals. Established in September 2003, WENA is a not-for-profit organization with the mission to help more Bumiputra women invest in the skills and knowledge essential to grow their potential in business or professionally.