ABOUT US

Asean Women Entrepreneurs Network

AWEN is a network of business women in the region, operating to exchange knowledge, experience; develop and propose initiatives to promote economic and trade activities in order to enhance gender equality, empower and strengthen entrepreneurship skills for women in ASEAN Community; create favorable environment for female-led enterprises and support for women entrepreneurship in the region.

The initiative to establish an ASEAN Women Entrepreneurs’ Network (AWEN) was announced by Viet Nam at the 6th ASEAN Committee on Women (ACW) Meeting held on 7-8 November 2007 in Chiang Mai, Thailand, as part of its proposal to develop a cooperative programme between the ACW and the ASEAN Confederation of Women’s Organizations (ACWO) in addressing poverty. The initiative was welcomed by ASEAN Member States.

The 11th ACW Meeting held on 16-17 October 2012 in Vientiane, Lao PDR, finalized and adopted the Terms of Reference of the ASEAN Women Entrepreneurs’ Network.

The establishment of AWEN is an activity planned in the ACW Work Plan 2011-2015 and the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Blueprint 2011-2015.

In April 2014, The Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs of Viet Nam and the ASEAN Secretariat with supports from the ASEAN Secretariat and ASEAN Connectivity through Trade and Investment Project (ACTI)/USAID hosted the Launching Workshop of the ASEAN Women Entrepreneurship Network (AWEN) with the participation of the members of AWEN and ASEAN Committee on Women (ACW).

In accordance with the Terms of Reference of AWEN (TOR), after launching the Network, the Coordination role will be rotated amongst ASEAN Member States with Viet Nam as the Coordinator for the first two-year term. Madame Nguyen Thi Tuyet Minh, Chairwoman of the Viet Nam Women Entrepreneur Council (VWEC) is the Chairwoman of AWEN for 2014-2016 period. 

HISTORY

The initiative to establish an ASEAN Women Entrepreneurs’ Network (AWEN) was announced by Viet Nam at the 6th ASEAN Committee on Women (ACW) Meeting held on 7-8 November 2007 in Chiang Mai, Thailand, as part of its proposal to develop a cooperative programme between the ACW and the ASEAN Confederation of Women’s Organizations (ACWO) in addressing poverty. The initiative was welcomed by ASEAN Member States.

PROGRESS

The 11th ACW Meeting held on 16-17 October 2012 in Vientiane, Lao PDR, finalized and adopted the Terms of Reference of the ASEAN Women Entrepreneurs’ Network.

The establishment of AWEN is an activity planned in the ACW Work Plan 2011-2015 and the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Blueprint 2011-2015.

In April 2014, The Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs of Viet Nam and the ASEAN Secretariat with supports from the ASEAN Secretariat and ASEAN Connectivity through Trade and Investment Project (ACTI)/USAID, hosted the Launching Workshop of the ASEAN Women Entrepreneurship Network (AWEN) with the participation of the members of AWEN and ASEAN Committee on Women (ACW).

LEADERS

In accordance with the Terms of Reference (TOR) of AWEN, after launching the Network, the Coordination role will be rotated amongst ASEAN Member States with Viet Nam as the Coordinator for the first two-year term. Madame Nguyen Thi Tuyet Minh, Chairwoman of the Viet Nam Women Entrepreneur Council (VWEC) is the first Chairwoman of AWEN for 2014-2016.

Ms. Pacita Juan, Chairwoman of Women’s Business Council of the Philippines was the second Chairwoman of AWEN for 2016-2018.  She is social entrepreneur and was one of the 2017 Inspiring Filipina Entrepreneur awardee at the the Malacañan Palace.  AWEN is currently chaired by Khunying Natthika Wattanavekin Angubolkul, President of the Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Associations of Thailand under The Royal Patronage of H.M. The Queen.

VISION AND MISSIONS

The vision of the ASEAN Women Entrepreneurs Network (AWEN) is to contribute to gender business mainstreaming in ASEAN.  Meanwhile, its mission and journey is to promote, foster and empower women entrepreneurs in the regional economies.  AWEN is a regional network of business women and their organizations as well as coalitions of women’s organizations, representing women in all economic sectors in the ASEAN Member States.  It seeks to create a favorable and supportive environment for female-led enterprises and women entrepreneurship in the region that leaves no one behind. 

WORK PLAN

At their Summits in 2017, ASEAN Leaders mandated gender mainstreaming strategies across all three pillars of the ASEAN Community, and women’s economic empowerment through the introduction and internalization of and “Action Agenda on Mainstreaming Women’s Economic Empowerment in ASEAN”.  Based on these mandates, the current work plan of AWEN focuses on seven thematic areas:

  1. Digitalization of Market Access and Outreach;
  2. Fostering Financial Inclusion, Literacy and Discipline;
  3. Re-skilling MSMEs, Women Entrepreneurs and their Workforce;
  4. Promoting Sustainability and Self-Sufficiency for MSMEs;
  5. Enhancing ASEAN Women Information Sharing;
  6. Empowerment of ASEAN Women’s Leadership in the International Arena; and
  7. Addressing environmental issues and resilience to climate change