On Feb.9, a total of 99 women entrepreneurs from Kampala, Lira, and Fort Portal successfully graduated from the 7th cohort of the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) Program.
This remarkable achievement, supported by the U.S. Embassy in partnership with SHONA Group, underscores a collective commitment to promoting women’s empowerment in the fields of education, agribusiness, healthcare, and tourism according to experts.
The AWE Program, an initiative of the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) and facilitated by the U.S. Embassy, is conducted in collaboration with Arizona State University’s Thunderbird School of Global Management and the global copper mining company Freeport-McMoRan. It aims to equip women entrepreneurs with the necessary resources, knowledge, and networks to initiate and expand their businesses.
The program participants learned from U.S. business development models and are now eligible for grant funding opportunities from the United States African Development Foundation (USADF) and business loans ranging from Shs3.5 million to Shs35 million through SHONA Capital.
The graduands also join the prestigious network of U.S. government exchange program alumni, expanding their access to global opportunities and networks according to Ellen Masi, the U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Counsellor.
Masi said: “I am inspired by the Uganda women entrepreneurs who are also AWE alumni. As the Embassy, we encourage the alumni to organize themselves and create opportunities so that we can support them beyond the training and the Dream Builder program.”
Joachim Ewechu, SHONA Group co-founder and CEO, reflected on the program’s success, saying: “By investing in their growth, we are contributing to the economic development of Uganda while impacting livelihoods in our communities. Our commitment to supporting women entrepreneurs remains steadfast, and we look forward to future collaborations with the U.S. Embassy in Uganda.”
SHONA has over 10 years of experience supporting entrepreneurs to grow Good Businesses in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, DRC, Rwanda, and beyond.