AWE 2021 Logo lockup-1
AWE 2021 Logo lockup-1
AWE 2021 Logo lockup-1
Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) UAE 2021
Enabling women entrepreneurs to develop business resilience and adaptability
Program Overview

Organized by the US Mission to the UAE, in partnership with startAD, AWE UAE is a 6-month, free-of-charge, online program promoting economic prosperity by creating opportunities for women entrepreneurs to upskill, scale and thrive. It will enable women-owned SMEs in the UAE to deconstruct and identify new channels, markets & customers. It will also strengthen the operational business pillars that these SMEs may not have the resources or experience to build.

The program will conclude with a high-profile event celebrating Women’s Day 2022 on March 8th, where finalists showcase their achievements and business potential to the program partners and other key stakeholders.

As a result of AWE UAE 2020, each participating business demonstrated significant growth, with two securing commercial agreements with large Abu Dhabi-based corporations and others expanding their operations in markets such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Collectively, the businesses secured over ten new clients, earned four new industry certifications, and adopted digital business models as a response to the new market conditions

Who should apply?
  • Women entrepreneurs (between the ages of 20-55) with a strategic decision-making role, owning an SME business in the UAE.

  • SMEs that can demonstrate 2 years of operating revenue are encouraged to apply

  • Businesses with a minimum of two team members 

  • Applicants that can commit to attending every workshop and complete all assignments

  • Owners of businesses with a VAT TRN that is active currently or at least has been active within the last 18 months

Why Apply?
  • Gain the skills and tools to re-imagine and revitalize your business for current market conditions in a free-of-charge, virtual program

  • Get coached by experienced business strategists,  innovation experts, and mentors to reset your path to profitability

  • Connect with key regional and global stakeholders through the US Mission to the UAE and startAD global network

  • Access to skilled interns and local talents to fill project resource gaps

  • Showcase your business to potential partners, customers, and supporters at a high profile event on International Women’s Day on March 8, 2022

Evaluation Criteria
  • Future potential of the business: Scope for continuity and future growth

  • Team: Demonstrable curiosity and openness to the opportunity. Ability to commit the time to work “on the business”, do the work required to adapt the business 

  • Commitment: Willingness to explore, listen to learn, receive and share feedback, let go and re-imagine. Readiness to support the community

Program Timeline
July 7, 2021
Application opens
You are welcome to apply!
August 10, 2021
Virtual information session
Attend our virtual information session to learn more about the program
September 8, 2021
Applications close
Interviews will be conducted on a rolling basis starting from the week of July 24. Applicants will be informed of the final outcome by September 9.
September 26, 2021
Phase I begins
Identify what you need for the way forward. Craft an action plan. Explore your business for value and opportunity.
November 11, 2021
Phase I Submissions
Submit your action plan
November 17, 2021
Announcement of selected phase II candidates
We will announce the candidates for phase II
January 9, 2022
Phase II begins
Bring your plan to life with guided support
March 8, 2022
Showcase Day
Showcase your achievements and business potential at a high-profile event to celebrate Women’s Day 2022


Program Phases SKILL - Reimagine Possibilities SCALE - Reinvent Your Business
Duration Sep 26th - Nov 11th, 2021  Jan 9th - Mar 8th, 2022
Format 9 online sessions (3 hours each) 12 online sessions (2-3 hours each)
Focus areas
● Re-energize and refill your tanks. Reset your mindset to a new paradigm
● Explore your business model for value and opportunity
● Access experts who can answer your questions and help you gain insight to make informed decisions
● Develop an actionable strategy to meet market needs

● Conduct customer discovery across a range of sectors
● Access new markets through potential partners, new customer channels, and potential investors
● Interact with a pool of talented student interns from NYUAD who can provide diverse resources to execute specific projects
● Pivot, transform and strengthen your business through guided learning and execution

Support Business and innovation experts and the regional entrepreneurship community Specific mentors matched by industry, business strategists, innovation experts, and the regional entrepreneurship community

Craft an Action plan

Explore your business for value and opportunity. Identifying tangible next steps, and what you need for the way forward

Bring the plan to life 

Guided support to execute and adjust the plan to meet actual business needs

Next Steps At the end of Phase I, the action plan is submitted for review. Businesses with a clear view for the way forward & demonstrated a willingness to be coached & the energy & stamina to drive forward will move to Phase II.

Whatever the outcome, you will be energized, have access to a broader resource network, and have a business continuity plan to work with.
Phase II finale will be the opportunity to showcase your achievements and business potential to the regional entrepreneurship community at a high-profile event celebrating Women’s Day 2022
Calling All Mentors

Get involved as a mentor for AWE 2021.