AWEC Business Academy Offers Free Design Thinking Course

June 8, 2020

As the effects of COVID-19 continue to be felt across the globe, businesses worldwide are facing unprecedented challenges, none more so than small and medium-sized enterprises (SME’s) owned by female entrepreneurs in Africa. The AWEC Business Academy, created to support the overwhelming demand for AWEC’s flagship 12-month program, comes at an opportune time to empower women entrepreneurs in Africa. 

Thanks to the generous donations from our supporters, we will be offering a new course, Applying Design Thinking to Satisfy Changing Customer Needs, on a pay-what-you can basis for African women entrepreneurs. Enrollment is free and upon completion, learners will have the opportunity to make a donation to AWEC (a nonprofit program) aligned with the value that they received from the course.

Our unique blended learning model is practical and collaborative, offering learners the opportunity to grow their networks as they immediately apply key takeaways to their business and business concepts. By increasing access to AWEC programming, we are recommitting to our mission to empower African women entrepreneurs with the knowledge and network necessary to grow resilient businesses. 

August 2020: Innovating with Design Thinking 

AWEC Business Academy courses are practical, applied, interactive, and collaborative. We recognize the importance of continuing to plan and upskill to adequately prepare small businesses for the challenges imminent in a pandemic environment, and while our courses are delivered digitally, they are not typical online courses. Our courses provide the opportunity to learn by watching, doing, discussing, and reflecting.

In this course led by Dr. Gordon Adomdza, Associate Professor of Business Administration at Ashesi University in Ghana and founder of Design Thinking Ghana Hub, learners will have the opportunity to develop their empathy and abductive reasoning skills, learn how to better understand customers and rapidly experiment with and prototype processes and products or services to meet changing customer needs – tools that are increasingly important in the COVID era. The course will be offered exclusively online to current and aspiring women entrepreneurs in Africa and the diaspora and will run from 1-31 August.

Lessons from the Pilot Course

During the pilot course in November 2019, we encouraged learners to think outside the box and develop an entrepreneurial mindset as they grew their businesses. With support from their Teaching Assistant, course assignments pushed learners to go beyond their comfort zones, solicit feedback to better understand their customers, and seek out mentors in their industries or communities. Learners rose to the challenge of the accelerated pace of the Business Academy, with 91% receiving a certificate of completion at the end of the four-week course. 

Lestina from Malawi shared this feedback about her experience with an AWEC Business Academy course: “The motivation and assistance was very helpful. It kept me wanting to do more. The course made me think outside the box. I am going to be a different entrepreneur: more focused and willing to learn from others.”

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