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Remarks by AIT Director Sandra Oudkirk at the Launch for the Inspiring Women Entrepreneurs
October 15, 2021



Council of Indigenous Peoples Minister Icyang, CPC General Manager Chang, friends from the indigenous communities, ladies and gentlemen: ng’ay ho, salikaka mapolong, Dajia hao!

It is my pleasure to meet you in person as we kick off the Inspiring Women Entrepreneurs (IWE) program.  Today we will have the first of our Training Workshops, bringing together more than 30 indigenous women entrepreneurs and mentors from around the island.

Research shows that gender equality is key to collective prosperity.  When women are successful, communities prosper, regions thrive, and the world becomes safer and more stable for us all.  Whether in Taiwan or elsewhere in the world, indigenous women and girls are often the victims of triple discrimination, based on gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status.  Programs like IWE help level the playing field for indigenous women and are a crucial first step to economic advancement.

For the last several years the United States and Taiwan have leveraged business cooperation, especially in regard to startups, innovative technology companies, entrepreneurship – to advance women’s economic empowerment.

Some of our recent initiatives include the U.S.-Taiwan Economic Prosperity Partnership Dialogue, the Talent Circulation Summit, and last year’s Women’s Economic Empowerment Summit.  Earlier this year we began the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs, a White House-led Women’s Global Development and Prosperity initiative which empowers women worldwide to fulfill their economic potential, and in doing so, create conditions for increased stability, security, and prosperity for all.

This IWE program is an extension of the work we started with the Academy of Women Entrepreneurs.  With the support of CIP, we have redesigned an online course, DreamBuilder, into a Chinese curriculum, targeting the specific needs of Taiwanese indigenous women. Because I spent my life working in the public sector, I didn’t have the chance to learn the kinds of skills you will focus on today, including developing a business plan, budgeting, managing staff, bringing products to market, designing sales strategies, securing financing, and more.

This program would not be happening without the vision of the Council and Minister Icyang’s leadership.  The Council has demonstrated its commitment to encouraging indigenous entrepreneurship through their “Counseling Entrepreneurial Project.”  Our combined efforts, along with the dedication of our implementing partner, the China Productivity Center, help ensure that these women will not only be able to bring their business plans to fruition but will become social change makers and an inspiration for others in their communities.

Women’s empowerment, equal opportunity both in the economy and in education, and appreciation for cultural and ethnic diversity are among the core values shared by both the United States and Taiwan.  We thank our partners and supporters.  And I wish all the women entrepreneurs success as you strive to realize your dreams.  Thank you!