SUVA – Chargé d’Affaires (CDA) Tony Greubel congratulated the second Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) cohort of 133 women in a virtual graduation ceremony today. The Honorable Minister of Commerce, Trade, Tourism, and Transportation also delivered remarks at the event, congratulating the participants on their achievement.
CDA Greubel said: “The U.S. Embassy is proud to support the AWE program, which promotes sustainable economic development and women’s economic participation. We commend the 133 women graduating from AWE. They didn’t let the challenges of the pandemic stop them from pursuing their dreams. Rather, they sought this opportunity with the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs to sharpen their skills and make an investment in themselves that will yield dividends for their businesses, families, and communities for years to come.”
The U.S. Embassy partnered with the Women Entrepreneurs Business Council (WEBC) and Makoi Women’s Vocational Centre in 2020 to launch AWE in Fiji with 92 participants. In 2021, the Embassy signed a grant with WEBC and Makoi for US$23,000 to expand the AWE program to include over 130 women on Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. From June to December, WEBC and Makoi facilitators, who are also local business experts, led 14 workshops with the participants on the fundamentals of business development, including planning, marketing, and financial literacy. The AWE program also provided the participants an opportunity to apply the skills learned in the classroom to running their own businesses and connected them to a robust network of women business leaders.
AWE is a U.S. Government-funded program that provides women entrepreneurs with the skills, resources, and networks needed to start and grow successful businesses. AWE participants represent diverse backgrounds and levels of business expertise. They include both new and seasoned women entrepreneurs between the ages of 18-65 and hail from urban and rural communities in Viti Levu and Vanua Levu.