The International/WiRE Connections Hub
- Empowering Connections -

The main aim of the International Connections Hub is to facilitate connections across borders between Australian and International women (Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka) entrepreneurs. 

USQ has conducted a major international capacity building program (Australian Awards Fellowships - AAF) during May - August 2017 funded by the Australian Federal Government through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

The program was designed to empower women, promote business participation and digital inclusion, enhance gender equality in a business context and improve the success of women entrepreneurs across different industries in Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka. The program brought together individuals who have an impact on women entrepreneurial development to foster a global community of innovative entrepreneurial leaders. The aim was to build participants’ own knowledge and skills in practice and policy as well as their capacity to more effectively foster women entrepreneurship and innovation in their countries. Building on the learnings of similar recent successful fellowship programs delivered by the USQ project team and consultation with partner organisations, a three-week intensive program was conducted to provide international fellows with a ‘toolkit’ of Australian best practices, policies, research and advancement initiatives. Underpinned by the values of women empowerment, capacity building, knowledge sharing and digital inclusion, the program covered topics including: best practices of successful women entrepreneurs, digital business innovation for competitive advantage and sustainable business practices. Action plans and project frameworks were developed to support the sustainability of the learnings in the program. 

To promote and facilitate connections across international borders, an International Connections Forum was held on 24 May 2017.

This forum brought together over 25 women across rural, regional and remote  Queensland and 15 international delegates to:

  • Experience a World Cafe

  • Share and grow your experience and knowledge as a WiRE Woman

  • Meet, learn and share with women in business from different backgrounds

  • Learn about trends and patterns from where international women entrepreneurs operate

  • Grow your understanding of their unique experiences and how as a collective their experiences are very similar to ours

  • Learn about universal tools and tricks, shared resources and experiences

  • Potentially develop joint projects that transcend borders

  • Learn about critical and practical steps in creating an international entrepreneurial mindset.

A video of the International Connections Forum in Toowoomba on 24 May 2017 can be viewed below. 


To learn more about the 2017 USQ Australian Awards fellowship program, funded by the Australian Government through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, watch the journey below:


As part of the Australian Fellows Awards Program funded by DFAT, WiRE Program Director and Project Leader of the AFF program, Professor Retha Wiesner  interviewed the international fellows about their experiences in the AAF program.  Please feel free to contact Retha Wiesner at if you wish to learn more about the program. 

Watch the individual interviews with the Australian Awards Fellows below:

Interview with Rezwana Khan.  Her expertise includes strategic planning & growth, technology upgrade, team building and change management.

•        Entrepreneurial, Association & Forum Involvement

•        Focused area of specialization in managing enterprise level projects in various industries.

•        Run her company which provides services of Enterprise Software Development, System Integration (SAP), Web/Mobile Application & Training.

•        Leadership position to run a CMMi level 3 and ISO 9001:2008 Company since 2004

•        One of the leading Training Service Provider of Bangladesh for World Bank, ADB, IDB, Bangladesh Government, MNC to train more than 14000 high-end certified Human Resources for the Global Market.

•        Founder Member & Secretary General of Bangladesh Women in Technology, BWIT (

Interview with Shamima Yasmin - Bangladesh Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BWCCI) SUMI Chief Executive Officer of First-rate. 

Shamima obtained her master’s degree in management from the University of Dhaka (Bangladesh) and MBA degree (major being Finance) from a well reputed foreign university. She earned the experience of agency advertising and business promotion. Having served a period of eighteen years in well reported Swedish, Canadian, American, German and Bangladeshi companies, and her area is Finance and administration. Currently running a start-up business firm named First-Rate to conduct the business of Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) including media planning. The firm aims at adopting a holistic approach of the IMC to explore the opportunities in the growing corporate sector in Bangladesh; but at the moment the firm commenced its business in a limited scale covering only the advertisement (Electronic Media, Print Media, designing and Bill Boards) and event management, part of it. However, the firm aims at achieving a long-term goal of ensuring its presence in all industries of manufacturing as well as services sectors through its creative marketing communications services covering all components of the IMC.

The WiRE program is funded by the Australian Government through the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.