U.S. Embassy, SPARK! PH launch Academy for Women Entrepreneurs in Bohol



MANILA – The U.S. Embassy in the Philippines and SPARK!-Philippines launched the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) in Bohol on August 22 this year, to promote the economic empowerment of women through education and mentorship.

“We are confident that AWE will help rebuild livelihood opportunities for local communities, empower more women in Visayas especially in light of recent disasters, and contribute to creating more resilient societies,” U.S. Embassy Assistant Cultural Affairs Officer Pauline Anderson, said during the launching event.

AWE Bohol will provide entrepreneurial training to women from difficult backgrounds, including survivors of violence, illegal recruitment, human trafficking, and armed conflict.  Members of indigenous groups will also be prioritized.

Throughout the three-month long program, beneficiaries will take courses that will equip them with the knowledge and skills necessary to establish and expand their own businesses.  This includes courses on market research, laws and regulations, business plan creation, cash flow projection, and digital marketing.

A second AWE cohort also led by SPARK! Philippines will be launched in Zamboanga del Sur in December.

“We are honored to have the opportunity to run two cohorts of AWE in the Philippines.  Launching AWE in Bohol and Zamboanga Del Sur will give women from the marginalized sector more access to economic opportunities,” SPARK! Philippines Executive Director Maica Teves explained.

Teves said, they are honored that SPARK! continues to be a strong partner of the U.S. Embassy in empowering women and enabling them to provide for their families.


(L-R) Balilihan Mayor Maria Puresa Veloso-Chatto, U.S. Embassy Assistant Cultural Affairs Officer Pauline Anderson, and SPARK! Philippines Executive Director Maica Teves join AWE students during the launch event in Bohol on October 22. Right: AWE Bohol implementers pay a courtesy visit on Tagbilaran City Mayor Jane Yap and former Tagbilaran City Mayor John Geesnell “Baba” Yap.

Launched by the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in 2019, AWE is a hybrid program that combines the use of DreamBuilder— an online business training curriculum developed by Arizona State University’s Thunderbird School of Global Management with in-class mentoring and facilitation.

Globally, the program has trained more than 16,000 women entrepreneurs in nearly 90 countries.  In the Philippines, AWE has trained more than 180 women beneficiaries since its launch in October 2020 in partnership with the U.S. Embassy’s American Spaces in Bacolod City, Cebu City, Manila, and Marawi City.