March 10, 2023: The U.S. Embassy in Mauritius and the Association Mauricienne des Femmes Chefs d’Entreprises (AMFCE) are proud to announce the second cohort of graduates of the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) Startup Challenge.
U.S. Ambassador Henry Jardine presented the certificates to the participants who successfully completed the program during a ceremony at the Caudan Arts Centre this morning in the presence of Rima Ramsaran, AMFCE President.
AWE was established in the United States in 2019 by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and it was launched for the first time in Mauritius in July 2021 in partnership with AMFCE, the island’s leading women entrepreneurs’ organization. AWE provides women entrepreneurs with the skills, tools, resources, and networks that they need to start and grow a successful business, raise capital, and effectively network with other successful business owners.
AWE is based on the online training program, DreamBuilder, developed through a partnership between Arizona State University’s Thunderbird School of Global Management and global copper mining company Freeport-McMoRan. AWE is implemented over 80 countries, including 18 in Africa.
The first Cohort included 25 women entrepreneurs from Mauritius and Rodrigues. A $25,000 grant from the U.S. Embassy provided funding for a second cohort of 30 participants this year from Mauritius, Rodrigues and Seychelles. Through AWE, the entrepreneurs participated in a localized entrepreneurship program supplemented with networking and mentorship opportunities. The participants in the second cohort included women from the Food and Agricultural Research and Extension Institute and four aspiring women entrepreneurs from Rodrigues.
During remarks at the ceremony, U.S. Ambassador Henry Jardine said, “Entrepreneurship can be challenging. Promoting Entrepreneurship, empowering women, and drawing on the skills and expertise of our exchange program alumni – these are all priorities for the U.S. Embassy. Now, more than ever, women need to be empowered to accelerate recovery from the COVID-19 crisis by ensuring that they are provided with access to opportunities to better their lives, their families, and their communities. The Academy for Women Entrepreneurs Program provides women entrepreneurs the knowledge, networks, and access they need to launch and scale their businesses.”
Rima Ramsaran, President of AMFCE, expressed her satisfaction about the program and emphasized that the AWE Startup Challenge not only prepares a business plan, but also provides guidance on how to establish and run a successful business. “Developing the right skills for women entrepreneurs is critical not only for their individual success but also for the growth of the economy. Through AWE, we help women with the relevant awareness of the eco-system of entrepreneurship in Mauritius, and we handhold them in the initial steps in the operationalization of their businesses. Successful women entrepreneurs serve as role models and mentors, inspiring future generations of women to pursue entrepreneurship and contribute to the economy. It is essential to provide them with the necessary resources and support to succeed. Investing in women-led businesses is not only a matter of gender equality but also a strategic move for the economy’s growth and development. Women entrepreneurs are critical to economic growth. We congratulate the graduates of the second cohort and look forward to launch our program for the upcoming cohorts around the Indian Ocean,” she said.
▶ About the AWE Start-Up Challenge
The AWE Start-Up Challenge is designed around the following key parameters:
• Participation in the program for the emerging women entrepreneurs is free;
• The duration of the program is 12 months and consists of comprehensive knowledge-transfer
components through a series of workshops, one-to-one exchanges and regular networking.
• The participants are paired with handholders (mentors) – established entrepreneurs – who
guide them through their journey.