This past February, Cohort 2 member, Colette Ndi, and Live Session Leader, Shelly Lazarus, were featured on Bloomberg TV’s equality segment, “Female Entrepreneurship in Africa.” The two shared insights on the challenges women face as leaders and entrepreneurs and discussed their unique AWEC experiences.
Shelly, who co-leads the AWEC Live Session on Brand Identity explained what makes AWEC entrepreneurs so special: “What struck me was how practical these women were. They were fearless. There was nothing that was going to stop them, and so…they wanted to know what to do vis-a-vis their brand when they got back to their businesses an hour later.”
When asked about the outlook for women entrepreneurs in Africa, Colette responded, “What AWEC does is give us the tools and skills we need to run our businesses more efficiently. By going through this program, women can have more efficient businesses that they can scale and grow and perhaps even go into other fields that have been reserved for men traditionally.”
We were able to catch up with Colette after her Bloomberg TV interview to hear more about the experience and her AWEC takeaways after a year of rigorous business training. Although being thrust on the international stage was a new and exciting experience, she described how the conversation felt very organic and how Shelly’s energy was all she expected “and then some.”
Moreover, the opportunity has generated a lot of interest in her business, Starline Group Ltd. As Colette explained, “This has been instrumental in creating credibility and visibility for my business. Investors have been reaching out and I am now in a position to continue to grow the company in a meaningful way.”
When asked about the highlight of her AWEC experience, Colette couldn’t limit her response to one thing. Of course, the interview was a highlight, but so were the countless connections she has been able to make with other women leaders in real estate and construction through her mentor and AWEC staff. She has also found her business to be more organized and more efficient. To demonstrate this point, Colette analogized building her business to baking a cake: “If a business is like baking a cake, you could be lucky and bake a good cake without a recipe, but if you have a good recipe, you will be sure that every time you bake your cake, it will turn out right. So I felt like I didn’t have the recipe, and I needed AWEC to help me put this recipe together.”
Colette talked about how much she has been able to grow, both personally and professionally, saying “AWEC has been such a gift.”
Before AWEC, her “ecosystem was so narrow,” but now as an alumna, she is “excited about keeping these connections, staying accountable, and continuing to create women-led businesses with world-class standards.” As she transitions to the AWEC Alumnae Network, she is encouraged by “a sisterhood that gets me through the good times and the bad times.”
You can check out Colette and Shelly’s full interview here.