ISLAMABAD, July 3 – U.S. Embassy Minister Counselor for Public Affairs Ray Castillo welcomed more than 70 Pakistani women entrepreneurs to celebrate the launch of the first-ever Academy of Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) program in Pakistan. This U.S. Department of State program supports women worldwide in building their own enterprises. Its launch in Pakistan is part of an ongoing effort to empower Pakistani women to realize their economic potential and create conditions for increased stability, security, and prosperity for all Pakistanis.
Pakistan’s participation will build on ongoing support for women leaders and raise the profile of local startups. Mr. Castillo lauded the accomplishments of young Pakistani businesswomen and spoke about the determination that all entrepreneurs need to succeed: “As your skills and confidence grow throughout this program, it is my hope that you can build your businesses based not on the views of nay-sayers, but on a well-grounded belief in yourself and belief in your abilities to adapt to changes in the market.”
With mentoring and guidance from established Pakistani entrepreneurs, AWE program participants will undertake a three-month, rigorous course of online study using the DreamBuilder platform developed by Arizona State University’s Thunderbird School of Global Management and American natural resource company Freeport McMoran. AWE is designed to cultivate entrepreneurial know-how, help women entrepreneurs connect with funding opportunities, enhance opportunities for business expansion, and increase the likelihood of entrepreneurial success.
Four of the U.S. Mission to Pakistan’s Lincoln Corners (public event spaces that connect Pakistanis and Americans) in Lahore, Rawalpindi, Larkana, and Peshawar will lead AWE Pakistan with support from the Pakistan American Cultural Center and the DOVE Foundation. Toward the end of their AWE journey, participants will have the opportunity to compete for seed funding from the U.S. Mission to Pakistan to further grow their enterprises. Upon completion, they will join the global AWE network, which offers further growth opportunities as well as the community of U.S. exchange program alumni.