North Carolina Women Business Owners Mentor Rwandan Woman Entrepreneur in IEEW Program

Monica Smiley and Diane Chen Mentor and Host Monica Umwari in IEEW PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® Program July 21-26.

Raleigh, NC, July 24, 2014 --( PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS®, part of the Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women (IEEW), an Oklahoma City-based nonprofit, brings 27 women entrepreneurs from Afghanistan and Rwanda to the United States for global mentorship. Monica Smiley, publisher and CEO of Cary, North Carolina-based Enterprising Women Magazine; Diane Chen, president of Raleigh-based CESI; and Sharon Gale, principal of Unique Batik, a fair-trade, socially responsible company based in Raleigh, will be hosting and mentoring Monica Umwari of Rwanda during the week of Monday, July 21 through Saturday, July 26.

Umwari is the owner of a textile business in Kigali, Rwanda that produces tote bags, wallets and other items from recycled materials. She will be visiting several Raleigh and Cary, North Carolina-based businesses next week to strengthen her business skills.

Smiley serves on the IEEW board of directors and traveled to Rwanda in March to attend a graduation ceremony for PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® students and help select the 2014 class of students who would travel to the United States this summer. She has mentored both Rwandan and Afghan women as a part of this program for the past seven years. Chen volunteered as a mentor last year and co-hosted an Afghan woman entrepreneur as part of this program last summer.

For more information about the PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® program, visit

"The women of Afghanistan and Rwanda have endured struggles of war and oppression throughout their lives," said Dr. Terry Neese, IEEW founder and CEO. "This program offers participating women an opportunity to overcome challenges, embrace their full potential and realize that they are not alone on their journey."

“My involvement with the PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® program has been among the most rewarding work of my life,” said Smiley. “The women who are a part of this program are smart, driven, accomplished entrepreneurs who are leading and shaping the future of their countries. It is an honor to work with them and serve as a mentor in this program.”

“As a woman entrepreneur from China, which was a developing nation at the time of my participation in PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS®, I fully appreciate the challenges that women face in starting businesses and competing in today’s global economic landscape,” said Chen. “Personally, I am so grateful for the mentors who assisted me on my journey, and I am honored to be able to participate and help mentor women and give back just a small portion of all that I have received.”

"I am looking forward to meeting and working with Ms. Umwari to see if we can help take her business to the next level," said Gale. “Her drive and determination will be essential to her success, and I fully believe she will serve as a role model for other Rwandan women entrepreneurs seeking economic and social change.”

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About Enterprising Women Magazine:
Enterprising Women, with headquarters in Cary, North Carolina, is the nation’s only women-owned magazine published exclusively for women business owners that chronicles the growing political, economic and social influence and power of entrepreneurial women. The magazine provides a friendly meeting place, a public forum and a national stage for the critical issues confronting women’s businesses and daily lives from the unique perspectives and experiences of entrepreneurial women. Published in both print and digital editions, the online edition of the magazine reaches nearly one million readers in 185 countries. For more information, please visit or call (919) 362-1551.

About CESI
CESI is a non-profit organization that helps consumers achieve financial freedom by offering a complete life cycle of services: debt management, student loan counseling, housing counseling, credit counseling, services for employees, caregivers, and other groups, and financial education and benefits counseling. For more information, please visit or call 1-855-716-2451.

About IEEW
Established in 2006, the Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women (IEEW), based in Oklahoma City, is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that encourages the empowerment of women economically, socially, and politically by focusing on their education and mentorship. The IEEW strives to help women in the United States and abroad who want to gain entrepreneurial skills that will help them start and grow a business, which will in turn help them to become more active and effective public policy advocates. Working on the forefront of these efforts, the IEEW believes in the power of women as a driving force in the development and stability of businesses in emerging economies. Through its dedication, hard work and PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® program, the IEEW helps provide women with a voice in their fight to establish peace and free market economies. For more information, visit
Enterprising Women
Robert Buhler