November 20, 2023
U.S. and Taiwan Facilitate Women’s Economic Empowerment
at the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) Indo-Pacific Women in Tech Summit
In celebration of Global Entrepreneurship Week and Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) Indo-Pacific Women in Tech Summit (the summit), held from November 14-16, brought together 75 women entrepreneurs from Brunei, India, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam in Taipei.
During the opening ceremony on November 14, AIT Director Sandra Oudkirk was joined by Deputy Economic Minister Chern-Chyi Chen and U.S. Department of State Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs Press and Public Diplomacy Director Sara Mathews to launch the event. Director Oudkirk said that “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 societies in the Indo-Pacific, it is a thriving economy, and a technological powerhouse.”
During the first two days of the summit, nearly 20 business leaders and senior technology executives from the United States and Taiwan shared their insights, knowledge, and skills with the women entrepreneurs on topics including leadership, latest technology tools, and impacts of technology on the business ecosystem. All the women entrepreneurs proactively built relationships and networked with others to seek opportunities in cross-border collaborations. The highlight of the summit was the pitch competition, a collaboration between AIT and not-for-profit entrepreneurship partner Advancing Women in Tech (AWIT). Ms. PingPing Han, Founder of Aloha from Singapore won first place; Ms. Chona Camille Abeledo, Founder of CrabTech Innovations from the Philippines won second place; Ms. Adibah Mokles, CEO of KidCare from Malaysia won third place; and Ms. Ying-Hua Chen, Founder of Nikeyi Chinese from Taiwan won the People’s Choice Award.
On the last day of the summit, the AWE entrepreneurs visited Meta’s Taiwan headquarters, AIT’s American Innovation Center, and Songshan Cultural and Creative Park, which hosts a handful of startups from the creative industry.
Participant Ms. Paula Li from Taiwan highlighted, “I really appreciate this opportunity to meet women entrepreneurs from eight different countries. Coming here doesn’t mean we are comparing with each other to see how good you are, because each one of us is unique.” Participant Ms. Maria B. Cequeña from the Philippines mentioned: “I learned so much and I got inspired by the sharing and the talks.“ Participant Ms. Penina Ifopo from New Zealand noted: “Even though it took me more than 14 hours to fly to Taiwan, I found [this summit] is all worth it.”
About the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs
The AWE is a U.S. Department of State exchange program that aims to provide women with the knowledge, networks, and access to launch or scale successful businesses. Implemented in nearly 100 countries and economies since 2019, AWE has empowered an estimated 25,000 women entrepreneurs around the world! Since 2021 when Taiwan joined the AWE, AIT has partnered with Taiwan’s Small & Medium Enterprise and Startup Administration under the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) and the innovation partner Meta to build a community of women entrepreneurs in Taiwan; 205 women entrepreneurs have graduated from the program. For more information: https://eca.state.gov/awe