Suva, Fiji: Today, U.S. Embassy Suva held a graduation celebration for the third cohort of the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE).
Since 2020, the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs has mentored over 300 Fijian women to establish and scale-up their businesses. The Women Entrepreneurs Business Council and the Makoi Women’s Vocational Centre facilitate this program through a comprehensive, seven-month long business skills development course, networking opportunities, and an outdoor market where students can sell their products and gain real-world experience.
U.S. Ambassador to Fiji, Kiribati, Tonga and Ambassador Designee to Nauru and Tuvalu Marie C. Damour welcomed the 105 graduates and congratulated them on completing the course. In her opening remarks, Damour stated,
“The U.S. Embassy is proud to support a prosperous Fiji. The Academy for Women Entrepreneurs is one way we do this. By equipping women with the skills, knowledge, and networks necessary to start and expand their businesses, they can help direct Fiji’s economic growth.”
The Ambassador also commended the graduates for the time and effort invested in the program, telling them,
“You made a commitment to this program, but more importantly, you made a commitment to yourselves. Through hard work and resourcefulness, you brought your ideas to life and opened opportunities for yourselves and others. I encourage all of you to take the lessons you have learned, and the contacts you have made, to grow your businesses, create jobs, and address real needs in your communities.”
The Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Lynda Tabuya also attended the ceremony where she met with graduates and learned first-hand how AWE helped them turn their dreams into viable businesses.
Ambassador Damour concluded the ceremony by recognizing the contributions of Mr. Hafiz Kahn, founder of the Makoi Women’s Vocational Training Centre and AWE Facilitator Ms. Api Kurusiga, who both passed away in 2022.