Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) is part of a global initiative supported by the White House W-GDP, U.S. Department of State, U.S. Embassy Ljubljana, and CEED Slovenia to develop women entrepreneurs who are traditionally underserved. Globally, AWE supports 5,000 women entrepreneurs in over 50 countries to address their distinct challenges and help them grow their businesses. CEED Slovenia formed their program to assist growth stage women entrepreneurs because, as their slogan states, “the world needs successful women entrepreneurs.”
To encourage self-confidence and foster close-knit relationships with like-minded people, the program in Slovenia currently works with 49 women entrepreneurs who possess a vision for entrepreneurial growth, and it utilizes CEED’s ALL-IN method of peer learning, mentorship, and networking, along with the DreamBuilder online platform which leads members to create a business plan in 13 stages.
Several success stories have come out of the program, such as those of the participants Ursula Lavrenčič and Mankica Kranjec. Ursula Lavrenčič developed Kobi To, an app that assists first graders with reading. Using either a cell phone or tablet, the app helps children with their word recognition and pronunciation so that they can successfully return to school after their absence due to the COVID-19 lockdown.
Artist and freelance photographer Mankica Kranjec recently entered Theater Exposed, an international photography competition. As a first-time participant and the only one from Slovenia, Mankica entered photos from the play Trojan Women performed at the Slovene National Theatre Nova Gorica, competing against international photographers from 19 countries and winning three first places prizes in the portrait, art, and open categories.
The AWE program began in January of 2021 and will continue until September of 2021, ending with a “How to Pitch” workshop that guides entrepreneurs through key steps to effectively present themselves, their company, and their product or service. The first cohort of AWE will conclude with a closing ceremony at the U.S. Embassy in Ljubljana, but the journey for these 49 women will continue as they will then join CEED Slovenia’s community of women entrepreneurs, WE Inspire, which has been operating since 2017. The AWE program is an example of CEED Slovenia’s mission to support entrepreneurs in their growth.