US Embassy and startAD Host Virtual Event to Celebrate Inaugural UAE Edition of the Academy Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) Program

Ten female-owned businesses operating across six different industries have successfully completed the inaugural UAE edition of the program

Press Release

The United States Embassy in Abu Dhabi and startAD, the Abu Dhabi-based global accelerator powered by Tamkeen and anchored at NYU Abu Dhabi, hosted an online event on International Women’s Day (IWD) to mark the completion of the first-ever UAE edition of the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) program. 

The six-month intensive program equipped UAE-based female entrepreneurs whose businesses have been impacted by the pandemic with the training, connections, and mentorship to empower them to fulfill their economic potential. Ten female-owned businesses from three emirates and operating across six sectors ranging from retail and construction to healthcare services were selected from over 100 applicants. 

As a result of the program each participating business demonstrated significant growth, with two securing commercial agreements with large Abu Dhabi-based corporations and others expanding their operations in markets such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Collectively, the businesses secured over ten new clients, earned four new industry certifications, and adopted digital business models as a response to the new market conditions.

"The United States recognizes the value of women leaders and entrepreneurs," said Acting Deputy Chief of Mission and Economic Counselor at the US Embassy in Abu Dhabi Alison Dilworth. "The US-UAE partnership supports the UAE's goal to expand local workforce capacity, while also creating links between entrepreneurs that will further strengthen the US-UAE economic partnership. We realize the challenges women face when starting their own business, and we know that when women are empowered economically, they invest in their families and communities, spur economic growth, and create more stable societies. Innovative new business models will probably lead to sales and employment growth as a route to rebound from the COVID-19 recession."

“Small businesses were hit hard by the pandemic across the globe and the UAE is no exception. For the UAE economy, where SMEs contribute over 85 percent to the country’s GDP, and with women globally evolving into a fast-growing segment of small business owners, it is imperative that we provide the necessary support to enable promising female-owned businesses to recover and flourish.”

Associate Director of startAD Hana Barakat

By joining forces with the US Embassy on AWE UAE, we will continue to advance women entrepreneurs fostering economic growth, innovation, and job creation and are pleased to announce the second edition of AWE UAE that will take place later this year,” Barakat added.

The finalists who participated in the first-ever UAE based AWE program were:

  • Himma, a social initiative promoting the mental wellbeing of young girls.
  • Safe Space, offering educational opportunities and promotes mental health.
  • Milieu Environmental Consultancy, offering high-quality technical services in sustainable development fields.
  • Programmers Zone, specializing in coding courses for children and adults as well as website and app development services.
  • Fleurology, a floral retail venture established by Emirati female entrepreneurs. 
  • Social Media Strategy ME, a 360 creative media agency providing customized technical and digital solutions to individuals, corporates, and brands. 
  • Something Design House an architectural and interior design firm.
  • Trident Trackway, focusing on construction-related projects and manufacturing, renting, and selling temporary roadways and access flooring for events, construction, and emergency application.
  • Turf Café and November Café, specialty coffee shops with a passion for all things coffee.
  • Kenzi Beauty Trading, providing quality products and equipment for spas and salons.

About NYU Abu Dhabi

NYU Abu Dhabi is the first comprehensive liberal arts and science campus in the Middle East to be operated abroad by a major American research university. NYU Abu Dhabi has integrated a highly-selective liberal arts, engineering and science curriculum with a world center for advanced research and scholarship enabling its students to succeed in an increasingly interdependent world and advance cooperation and progress on humanity’s shared challenges. NYU Abu Dhabi’s high-achieving students have come from 115 nations and speak over 115 languages. Together, NYU's campuses in New York, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai form the backbone of a unique global university, giving faculty and students opportunities to experience varied learning environments and immersion in other cultures at one or more of the numerous study-abroad sites NYU maintains on six continents.