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Remarks by AIT Director Oudkirk at the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs Indo-Pacific Women in Tech Summit

November 14, 2023


Remarks by AIT Director Sandra Oudkirk
at the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs Indo-Pacific Women in Tech Summit
November 14, 2023


(As Delivered)


Deputy Economic Minister Chen, distinguished guests and partners, AWE entrepreneurs from across the Indo-Pacific region, friends – good morning!


I am delighted to welcome you all to Taiwan to join the Academy of Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) Indo-Pacific Women in Tech Summit.  There is no other place better than Taiwan to host such a regional Women in Tech Summit.  During the past four decades, Taiwan has become one of the most progressive society in the Indo-Pacific, it is a thriving economy, and a technological powerhouse.


Taiwan joined the AWE network in 2021.  Since then, we have partnered with Taiwan’s Small & Medium Enterprise and Startup Administration under the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) to build a community of women entrepreneurs in Taiwan.  Working with our MOEA partners as well as key corporate and academic leaders, we provided training and networking opportunities, and 205 women entrepreneurs have graduated from the program.


Many AWE alumnae have fulfilled their dreams of scaling up their business here locally, and even across borders.  They have become frequent winners in a wide range of competitions led by the private sector and by official institutions.


Just to name a few:

  • Lu Yun-chi, whose company “PrecisemAb Biotech” was selected to go to the SkyDeck UC Berkeley for a three-month training in 2023;
  • Erica Chang, whose company “Encoredays” was awarded the 2023 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) funding from the Ministry of Economic Affairs, for its plan to conduct research and development on innovative techniques and products;
  • Catherine Wang, whose company “Engsight-Lab” was selected by the first Google Project Hatchers Show in Taiwan in 2023;
  • Amber Wu of “CancerFree Biotech,” who not only won Second Place in the MedTech Pitching Competition at the 2022 SelectUSA Summit, but her company also came in first in the “Meet the Drapers” Silicon Valley start-up fundraising reality show — and they won a $1 million USD prize.


So huge congratulations to all of you.


There are many additional examples of success steaming from the AWE experience and I sincerely congratulate you all on your achievements.


AIT is committed to women’s economic empowerment, and we have built different programs to support Taiwan’s female entrepreneurs.  AWE is one of the cornerstone programs, and we also have the IWE – Inspiring Women Entrepreneurs, which supports female entrepreneurs from less economically developed regions and indigenous communities here in Taiwan; and TechCamp Kaohsiung, which drew on Taiwan’s private sector tech expertise to empower indigenous entrepreneurs in southern Taiwan, with a special emphasis on female and youth small business owners.  These programs aim to create social and economic resilience in diversified communities across Taiwan and affirm DEIA (diversity, equity, inclusion, and access) values.


These programs enable AIT to continue developing the flourishing economic and people-to-people ties, which serve as a foundation for the shared values that underpin the relationship between the people of the United States and the people of Taiwan.


AWE has helped us expand programming and promote the growth of partnerships and sponsors at both international and local levels.  With the U.S. holiday of Thanksgiving right around the corner, I would like express my sincere gratitude to our partners who have worked with us to make the AWE Summit a reality:

  • Deputy Economic Minister Chen and his team for partnering with AIT to provide funds and strive for the shared values together;
  • AWE Taiwan’s Innovation Partner Meta for providing additional resources and inspiring the women entrepreneurs on digital marketing and the Metaverse;
  • The Sun Yat-Sen Management Education Foundation, our long-time implementing partner who always delivers with commitment, professionalism, and passion; and
  • AWE Summit’s non-profit entrepreneurship partner –Advancing Women in Tech, or (AWIT), for expanding AWE training by providing the in-depth Masterclass on future-proofing your business and leading the Summit’s pitch competition.


There are also many partners and experts who have supported this summit: including Cathay Financial Holdings, the American Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan, and many more.  Thank you.


I wish you all a fruitful three-day summit.  When you leave Taiwan, I hope you will be filled with new knowledge and skills, strong and growing friendships, and inspiration that will serve you throughout your careers. Thank you.