Nine of the country’s notable women entrepreneurs will represent the Philippines in the 4th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Women Entrepreneur Network (AWEN) awarding ceremonies in Bangkok, Thailand on Thursday (May 10).
Award recipients Cherrie Atilano of AGREA, Natividad Cheng of Uratex, Imelda Ahalul-Dagus of Dennis Coffee Garden in Zamboanga City, Maria Montserrat Iturralde-Hamlin of Team Asia, Octavia Hizon of Hizon’s Restaurant & Catering Services, Jeannie Javelosa of Great Women Philippines and ECHOstore, Edilee Omoyon of Milea Organics, Olive Puentespina of Malagos Cheese in Davao City, and Carlota Manalo-Tan of Wendy’s Philippines were recognized for their exemplary business practices.
AWEN established the ASEAN Women Entrepreneur Award to honor outstanding entrepreneurs who have made an impact in society through their commitment, vision, and leadership, and through gender-sensitive and fair labor practices for women. ASEAN member states established AWEN to serve as women’s voice for policy-making in economic empowerment and social issues.
Philippines Women Entrepreneurs Network (PHILWEN), the Philippines leading women’s network, served as AWEN’s focal point in the past two years. Led by Pacita “Chit” Juan and Aurora “Boots” Garcia, PHILWEN established a model coalition of women’s business organizations.
This served as a model for Thailand’s AWEN-Thailand and Cambodia’s CAMWEN. Singapore, the host for ASEAN, has long established its network called Singapore Council of Women’s Organizations (SCWO). Other member states are in the process of organizing their similar coalitions.
Juan, founder of ECHOstore, and a staunch green growth and coffee advocate, is the chair of AWEN for 2016 to 2018. Philippines will turnover the chairship to Thailand for 2018 to 2020, as the leadership is rotated among the ASEAN member states.
When the Philippines hosted the ASEAN meeting in 2017, AWEN was asked to join the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN BAC) Joint Business Councils. This resulted in the signing of the Action Agenda to mainstream Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE).
AWEN, a formidable organization of women entrepreneur-leaders, has formed partnerships with FICCI-FLO (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry-Ladies Organization) of India and South Asian Women’s Development Forum (SAWDF) for Bhutan, Nepal, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Maldives and Bangladesh.
AWEN has also worked with USAID-ACTI who was there at its formation in Vietnam in 2014 and has also been working with UN-ESCAP and EU for various projects.
For more information, please visit AWEN’s Facebook page.