The US Mission to the UAE and startAD Open Applications for Third UAE Edition of the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs

Applications open on September 19 with a November 29 deadline. The program will run from December 2022 and conclude on March 8, 2023

In partnership with the United States Mission to the UAE, startAD, the Abu Dhabi-based accelerator powered by Tamkeen and anchored at NYU Abu Dhabi, has opened applications for the third edition of the Academy of Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) program, titled AWE UAE 3.0 – Women in Business.  AWE is a U.S. Department of State initiative that gives enterprising women in more than 80 countries around the world the knowledge, networks, and access they need to launch and scale successful businesses. Female entrepreneurs can apply on

Applications open on September 19 with a November 29 deadline. The three-month program will enable women-owned SMEs in the UAE to identify and analyze new channels, markets, and customers. It will also strengthen the operational business pillars that these businesses may not have the resources or experience to build, focusing on business resilience, adaptability, and identifying growth opportunities. 

Commencing on December 13, the program will consist of workshops, mentoring, and one-on-one coaching by experienced business strategists, innovation experts, and mentors. It will culminate on International Women’s Day on March 8, 2023, where finalists will showcase their achievements and businesses to the program partners and key stakeholders from the UAE innovation ecosystem.

Counselor for Public Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in the UAE Robin Solomon said: “The U.S Mission to the UAE is proud to partner with startAD to drive the third edition of the Academy of Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) in the UAE. Since 2020, startAD has supported 44 UAE women entrepreneurs and innovation leaders through this program, giving them the tools and confidence they need to launch and scale successful businesses.  By helping them cope with specific challenges they face in running their businesses, AWE is helping women more fully participate in and contribute to the local and global economy.  We look forward to welcoming a new cohort of AWE UAE participants, and continuing to work with UAE organizations, such as startAD, to promote women’s economic empowerment.”

“The SME sector represents more than 94 percent of the number of companies operating in the country, with 48 percent of those SMEs owned by women. In recognition of the tremendous contributions that women entrepreneurs provide to the economy, AWE UAE equips women-owned businesses with the skills, tools, and network to focus on their business resilience enabling them to thrive and grow. To this end, we are pleased once again to partner with the US Mission to the UAE on a program that will help participants to re-energize and reset their mindset to a new paradigm. AWE UAE will provide access to experts to gain new insights on local and global markets as well as networking opportunities that will allow them to connect with potential partners, new customer channels, and potential investors. The graduates will leave this program with an action plan that helps them reinvent their business through guided learning and execution.”

Senior Associate Director of startAD Hana Barakat

The first two editions of AWE UAE incubated 21 businesses, resulting in partnerships and internships in sectors ranging from retail and construction to healthcare services. Two participating businesses secured commercial agreements with large Abu Dhabi-based corporations, and others expanded their operations in markets such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar. 

Applicants should be female UAE Nationals or long-term residents, between 20 to 55 years old, who are owners of a VAT-registered small business or an SME leader who influences strategic decision-making. AWE UAE is open to all industries and sectors. Businesses that demonstrate two years of operating revenues are encouraged to apply before November 29.