Manila-Since 2020, 350 Filipino women from all over the Philippines have received training and mentorship from the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE), a U.S.-supported business learning program organized by the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines and implementing partner SPARK! Philippines.
“All of us know how much women business owners—both in the informal and formal sectors—contribute to and drive economic prosperity in the Philippines,” U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines MaryKay Carlson said in her remarks at the first-ever AWE Philippines Summit on November 9 to mark the business training program’s third anniversary. “With AWE, we have prioritized reaching women entrepreneurs who face the highest hurdles when it comes to accessing the essential tools of entrepreneurship: finance, support networks, mentors.”
The inaugural summit in Manila gathered more than 80 AWE alumni from Bacolod, Bohol, Cebu, Manila, Marawi, Puerto Princesa, Quezon City, and Zamboanga del Sur to participate in panel sessions, networking activities, and workshops by American business experts. Another 40 AWE graduates gathered in Bacolod City on November 11 for a one-day networking and workshop session with summit organizers.
Department of Trade and Industry Undersecretary Blesila Lantayona also attended the summit in Manila.
“Even before the pandemic, we, at the Department of Trade and Industry, follow closely the Magna Carta of Women or Republic Act 9710 passed in 2009, which provides specific interventions of DTI to promote women’s economic empowerment. With these and other initiatives, I am confident that our women entrepreneurs can rebuild better and contribute greatly to the country’s economic recovery,” DTI Undersecretary Lantayona said.
“Whether they are aspiring entrepreneurs with innovative concepts or micro and small business owners seeking fresh perspectives, this summit serves as a gateway to innovation, business growth, and unparalleled networking opportunities. It is a dynamic learning experience where our women entrepreneurs unite to embark on a path to entrepreneurial excellence,” SPARK! Philippines Executive Director Maica Teves said.
AWE is a hybrid learning program that offers courses on market research, laws and regulations, business plan creation, cash flow projection, and digital marketing for Filipino women entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds, including survivors of violence, illegal trafficking, and natural disasters, as well as innovators in sustainable development, technology, and agriculture. Graduates also benefit from a network of more than 25,000 women entrepreneurs across 100 countries.
In March, Filipino entrepreneur Senith Araez received the AWE Outstanding Achievement Award for her exemplary leadership and contributions to women’s empowerment in her community at the first regional AWE Summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Araez founded Whistler Travel and Tours in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, which mostly employs single mothers or women who are family breadwinners. She is representing the Philippines at the 2023 AWE Indo-Pacific Women in Tech Summit at Taipei, Taiwan, on November 14-16.(PR)