August 4, 2023
Remarks by AIT Director Sandra Oudkirk
at Inspiring Women Entrepreneurs Graduation Ceremony
August 4, 2023
Council of Indigenous Peoples Minister Icyang, CPC Chairman Hsu, friends from Taiwan’s indigenous communities, ladies and gentlemen, Ng’ay ho, salikaka mapolong, good afternoon.
On behalf of AIT, I am honored to be here to congratulate you for completing the Inspiring Women Entrepreneurs (IWE) training. This is truly an impressive accomplishment. We launched the IWE program during the pandemic, and at that time it was hard to build a community. But look at us now. Three years later, we are graduating our second and third cohorts of almost 80 participants. Please give yourselves a round of applause!
We at AIT continue to promote wide-ranging entrepreneurship programs for women, from youth programs like our Girls in Tech exchange program, to TechCamp Kaohsiung and IWE which were developed by AIT specifically for Taiwan, to global programs like SelectUSA Women in Tech and Academy for Women Entrepreneurs programs. These projects allow us to form connections and integrate resources with our Taiwan partners, private companies, and non-profit organizations to help women entrepreneurs launch and grow their businesses.
Among these projects, the Inspiring Women Entrepreneurs program stands out. I still remember the event almost two years ago when Minister Icyang joined us to launch the program. Since then, the program has grown to 110 participants. And today, in less than three years, we are thrilled but not surprised that 12 out of the 110 IWE graduates have won the Council of Indigenous People’s One Million Startup Fund, and five IWE graduates have moved on to the global Academy for Women Entrepreneurs program. We also know that many of you have officially registered your companies and successfully expanded your businesses. I am amazed at how quickly you achieved these results, and we celebrate your hard work as you seek to realize your entrepreneurial dreams.
By supporting indigenous women’s business ventures that are so often intrinsically tied to cultural heritage, AIT is clearly demonstrating our commitment to diversity, equality, inclusion, and accessibility. This program embodies three values – women’s empowerment, equal opportunity in the economy and education, and an appreciation for cultural and ethnic diversity. At the same time, it allows us to deepen the ties between Taiwan and the United States.
It is my sincerest hope that your businesses will enable you to build a better future for your families and communities, and even to play a role as social changemakers. We all know that when women entrepreneurs have access to equitable opportunities, all of society sees a positive benefit.
Again, I wish to thank all our strategic and implementing partners who have made this program so successful: the Council of Indigenous Peoples and Minister Icyang Parod, the China Productivity Center, our speakers and program mentors, and also our partner businesses. Thank you for your great teamwork and partnership.
Finally, I wish all of you success and resilience as you strive to realize your dreams. Jiāyóu Jiāyóu, j Jiāyóu! Thank you!