AWE Celebrates 20th Anniversary
Twenty years ago, four enterprising women decided to get together for dinner, to talk about ways to grow their fledgling tech businesses. They realized that entrepreneurship is not a solo sport-and they could run faster and leap higher with talented teammates. "We thought if we each invited a friend, we might be able to pull together a table for eight," recalls Anne-Marie Corner, founder of Biosyn, a biotech firm focused on HIV prevention. "But so many women were interested, we wound up with 18." The group was the nucleus for what became the Women’s Investment Network (WIN).
In recent years, the organization has grown and matured into the Alliance of Women Entrepreneurs or AWE, a dynamic network focused on advancing women high-growth entrepreneurs in the MidAtlantic Region. Elle Stang, incoming AWE president, is founder and CEO of Progeny Health. She says the insights she gained through AWE's seasoned business leaders helped her take her company to the next level. "This is an incredible group of women who understand the challenges in founding a company, proving your concept and then putting the framework of the company together to help you successfully scale," she says. "AWE is the connector and the hub for women entrepreneurs to find the resources and the network they need to be successful in growing their businesses."
AWE's powerful network includes access to funding, legal and accounting expertise, academic partners and powerful role models. Its members have founded innovative ventures that have resulted in significant growth and positive economic impact on their communities. Vicki Burkhart is the Executive Director of AWE: "When I got involved in 2001, I found AWE to be one of the stellar women's organizations in Philadelphia and the organization remains true to that vision," she says. "In the future, we will see many more women-founded businesses achieving the heights that the founders of AWE originally intended." Maria Maccecchini, another AWE founder and a serial entrepreneur, echoes Burkhart's excitement for the future. "I really do believe in AWE. We have done a fantastic job and we will be fantastic going forward."