Brunei businesswomen invited to join first Academy for Women Entrepreneurs

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The U.S. Embassy Bandar Seri Begawan is partnering with Darussalam Enterprise (DARe) to launch the global Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) program in Brunei for the first time in October. 

 AWE will provide fully-sponsored training and mentoring for several months to women starting up their own businesses through an online training platform called DreamBuilder. The DreamBuilder program was designed by Arizona State University’s Thunderbird School of Global Management of Arizona State University as an online entrepreneurship training program that helps budding entrepreneurs learn how to start and grow successful small businesses. At the conclusion of the AWE course, participants will have an opportunity to pitch their business ideas for a chance to receive up to USD$3,000 in seed funding. 

Participants will undertake 13 modules taking approximately 30 hours to complete under the program with the assistance of DARe facilitators. Thirty women are expected to make up the first cohort of AWE, which is a worldwide initiative of the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs as part of the White House-led Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative.  

With AWE now in more than 50 countries since its launch in 2019, U.S Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Emily Fleckner said the well-tested programme will be a perfect fit for Brunei. 

“The U.S. Embassy is delighted to collaborate with Darussalam Enterprise to launch the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs,” said U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Emily Fleckner.  

 “This program directly supports Brunei’s ASEAN Chair year and its ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Deliverables to advance gender equality and empower women by helping bring their entrepreneurial ideas to life. Women entrepreneurs can be powerful engines of economic growth and development, which in turn promotes healthy societies.”  

Meanwhile DARe’s CEO Javed Ahmad said the AWE program will help complement DARe’s existing capacity-building initiatives that are currently being held virtually during the ongoing second wave of COVID-19. 

 “The AWE program has a strong track record of helping women-owned business in different countries in a diverse range of sectors,” said Ahmad. “The targeted audience of AWE and access to international mentors also offers opportunities for greater synergy amongst its participants in tackling barriers that they face in starting, running and growing their own businesses.” 

 The CEO added that graduates of AWE in Brunei will have the opportunity to enroll to the DARe’s business bootcamps and access their ecosystem of business development initiatives which include financing, consultancy, certification and space. 

 AWE is open to Brunei-based women entrepreneurs between 18 to 40 years old who are in the early stages of starting or running a business and have limited business backgrounds or training. 

Participants must commit to spending at least four hours a week for three months for the program’s content. Registration is open online until October 11, 2021.