By Our Reporter
The 5th cohort of the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) Program has successfully graduated 85 women entrepreneurs from Kampala, Lira, and Arua, who are building businesses in agriculture, education, health, technology, and tourism.
SHONA collaborated with the U.S. Embassy to implement the 5th cohort of the program that launched in November 2022. Throughout the program, the selected entrepreneurs learned from a combination of the online DreamBuilder program and expert facilitators who led in-person sessions designed to support the DreamBuilder program. The training was done using interactive and creative methods of learning, and the impact of the program on the participant’s skill level was continually assessed.
Speaking during the graduation ceremony, Joachim Ewechu, SHONA Group Co-founder and CEO, said, “The AWE program is a highly impactful initiative that supports promising women entrepreneurs in Uganda to grow for long-term success. We believe that investing in women entrepreneurs is critical for economic growth and development in Uganda and on the continent. As SHONA, we are proud and committed to supporting women entrepreneurs in Uganda and other countries, and we look forward to implementing more successful programs in the future in partnership with the US Embassy in Uganda.”
On top of acquiring new knowledge and skills from the program, the graduates also learned from their peers who were exposed to US models for business development and will qualify to apply for funding from the United States African Development Foundation (USADF) and will be able to access investments between UGX 3.5 million and UGX 35 million from SHONA Capital, a debt fund run by SHONA.
Additionally, the graduates officially become alumni of US government exchange programs joining other AWE Alumni and fellows from various programs at the US Embassy.
This is the second time SHONA is implementing the AWE program in partnership with the US Embassy, after the 3rd cohort of the AWE program.
The U.S. Embassy Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) launched the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) in partnership between Arizona State University’s Thunderbird School of Global Management and global copper mining company Freeport-McMoRan, to provide women entrepreneurs with the knowledge, networks, and access they require to establish and expand their businesses. a program supporting the development of women entrepreneurs around the world.
Ellen Masi the U.S. Embassy Public Diplomacy Counsellor said: “The Department of State continues to support the AWE program because the U.S. government considers the advancement of inclusive economic growth and opportunities for all Ugandans, particularly women entrepreneurs, a crucial priority.”
Ellen Masi also asked the graduates to remember that they have the power to create jobs, drive economic growth, and inspire others to follow in their footsteps.