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U.S. Embassy Launches Third Cohort of The Academy for Women Entrepreneurs
June 9, 2022

June 9, 2022


Kuala Lumpur, June 9 – Chargé d’Affaires Michael Newbill and the Minister of Women, Family and Community Development, YB Datuk Seri Rina binti Mohd Harun, officiated the third cohort of the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE), a U.S. government flagship program under the White House-led Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative.  Through AWE, women entrepreneurs around the globe are participating in a facilitated business development program. AWE aims to help women reach their full economic potential and create conditions for increased stability, security, and prosperity for all.

The Academy of Women Entrepreneurs is part of the Embassy’s Wanita Empowered campaign to promote equality in opportunity, support growth and strengthen economic ties between the U.S and Malaysia. Investing in girls and women creates a ripple effect that yields multiple benefits, not only for individual women, but also for families, communities, and countries.

“I believe your stories will empower more aspiring women entrepreneurs to take a chance and invest in themselves and their families,” Chargé d’Affaires Michael Newbill said.

In Malaysia, the U.S. Embassy is partnering with the Women Entrepreneur Network Association (WENA) to implement AWE. For the third cohort, 70 aspiring women entrepreneurs were selected from hundreds of applicants in six regional areas: the Klang Valley area, Negeri Sembilan, Johor, Terengganu, Sabah, and Sarawak. Over the course of the year-long program, AWE participants will take part in a facilitated online learning program, with a specific focus on technology companies as well as businesses that utilizes technology in their businesses.  These women will also receive supplementary skills training from WENA with assigned mentors and have access to financing for their businesses via various WENA partners.  In the last two years, AWE has empowered 80 women to grow their businesses while navigating the pandemic.

In her remarks, Datuk Seri Rina Harun said, “The AWE program is in line with the Ministry’s and my aspirations and hopes to empower women through various aspects of capability building of women economically through entrepreneurship, thus enabling them to develop themselves and the economy.”

Nuraizah Shamsul Baharin, WENA President, said, “WENA believes in promoting women of substance through entrepreneurship. With the recent pandemic causing unprecedented hardships especially for women business in the micro and informal sector, we see the immediate need to strengthen these businesses. The Academy form Women Entrepreneurs, supplemented by WENA’s business growth program has provided timely intervention as seen by the results of the last two years.  We are grateful for the trust and opportunity to continue working with the US Embassy KL on this journey.”

The U.S. Embassy and WENA are looking forward for another year of great success culminating in Malaysia hosting the AWE East Asia and Pacific Summit in March 2023.


In 2019, the United States launch the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative, the first whole-of-government approach towards advancing women’s economic empowerment.  W-GDP aims to reach 50 million women across the world by 2025 and has already impacted over 12 million.  The Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) is a flagship program under W-GDP.

AWE is centered around 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.  DreamBuilder is available in over 65 countries, with over 100,000 learners worldwide.  The DreamBuilder Network, established by alumnae, continues to build a national network of business advisors that have become key partners in U.S. entrepreneurship promotion activities.

Assigned mentors will closely monitor participants on their engagement with the content and assignments provided in the DreamBuilder modules. Apart from this, WENA will include additional soft and hard skills training such as public speaking, project management, mentorship, registering a business, civic responsibility, complying with local tax regulations, and tips on building the women-support -women ecosystem.  This is a year-long program commencing in September 2022.

More on DreamBuilder here: https://dreambuilder.org/



Women Entrepreneur Network Association (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.  Our programs are opened to all Malaysian women entrepreneurs.

WENA: http://www.wena.my/about-wena/