Academy for Women
Entrepreneurs (AWE)

in Somalia

The Academy of Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) is an initiative from the government of the United States which is created to encourage and empower women entrepreneurs around the world. AWE helps women and their businesses grow, driving localized prosperity in communities in more than 80 countries worldwide.

Somalia is a country with a long history of gender inequality. Women face many challenges in starting and running businesses, including lack of access to education, capital, and markets. The Academy for Women Entrepreneurs is filling a critical need by providing women with the skills, knowledge, and resources they need to succeed in business.

AWE gives entrepreneurial women the knowledge, networks, and access they need to launch and scale their businesses.

AWE is different from Dream Builder in a number of ways:

  • AWE is a facilitated learning experience, which means that women do more than just follow an online course on their own. With AWE, women entrepreneurs come together as a class on a regular basis and discuss their learning with experienced facilitators. Facilitators lead classroom discussions about each Dream Builder module and illustrate the concepts with relevant examples from the local context.
  • AWE’s carefully curated experience mixes U.S.-style online learning with localized in-person facilitation and mentoring, producing strong results. More than 80 percent of women graduate from the program. According to a 2021 survey of women who completed the AWE program, 74 percent of AWE graduates report earning higher revenues and 29 percent hire more staff.
  • AWE cohorts (or classes) of about 30 women meet in-person or virtually on a regular basis. According to a 2021 evaluation of the program, 90 percent of AWE graduates reported greater self-confidence and greater ability to plan strategically after completing the program.
  • The AWE program often includes additional engagements that enhance and contextualize learning to the local environment. AWE delivers other professional “soft” skills like public speaking through pitch competitions, or strategic planning and time management. In fact, AWE graduates become alumni themselves once they complete the program.
  • AWE participants benefit from access to entrepreneurial networks in their communities, regularly coming in contact with players in the business ecosystem, from local government authorities to business leaders and academics, giving them access to the information and networks they need to run their business.