A Global Mandate to Support African Female Entrepreneurs Amid COVID-19

June 1, 2020
As COVID-19 continues to spread across the globe, businesses worldwide are facing unprecedented challenges. None more so than small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) owned by female entrepreneurs in Africa.  According to the World Bank, women-owned businesses across Africa have historically been disadvantaged in accessing support to grow their businesses. These disadvantages are further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, with women entrepreneurs across the continent struggling to stay in business in the midst of shutdowns in various sectors. It is estimated that this will worsen as employment and revenues decline. “I cannot afford to stay at home and not... Read More

Alumna Spotlight: Colette Ndi

April 9, 2020
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... Read More

AWEC Welcomes Members of Cohort 3

April 9, 2020
Learning new management skills. Understanding how to scale their businesses. Expanding their networks. These are just some of the reasons AWEC Fellows cited as their reasons for applying to join Cohort 3. We are thrilled to welcome 200 African women entrepreneurs into the Cooperative this month and look forward to learning more about their businesses, fostering connection and collaboration, and equipping them with the skills necessary to grow resilient businesses over the course of the next twelve months.  AWEC Cohort 3 Fellows hail from 41 African countries, representing a variety of industries and experience levels. Approximately one-half of Fellows are... Read More

Socially Distant and Successfully Virtual

April 9, 2020
“AWEC is a game changer.” This was a common refrain in the Zoom chat box during the AWEC Virtual General Assembly, held during the week of March 16.  A Virtual Pivot The inaugural AWEC General Assembly was initially designed as an opportunity to convene current and former participants to deepen their connections and develop their business skills in practical and applied ways.  However, to ensure the health and safety of our community during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we transitioned to a virtual event facilitated by video conferencing.  Already accustomed to video meetings and remote collaboration AWEC... Read More

AWEC’s Guide to Remote Collaboration

April 9, 2020
As the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic creates a new normal for how many of us work, learn, connect, and collaborate, we wanted to provide an inside look at how we have been able to deliver engaging online content over the past two years.  At AWEC, we foster many of the values that we look for in our entrepreneurs – passion, resilience, teamwork, self-starting – within our own team, and we have implemented systems that allow us to work together from anywhere in the world. As many of you transition to remote working, we hope some of these tips and tricks are... Read More

AWEC General Assembly Transitions to Virtual Event

March 3, 2020
Twice a year, we look forward to convening the AWEC community for in-person opportunities to deepen online connections, learn practical and applied skills, and network with a pan-African group of business experts, entrepreneurs, and industry leaders.  Like many companies and organizations, we have been closely monitoring the global impact of the COVID-19 virus and continuously reviewing the recommendations of international health organizations. In light of recent developments in the progress and spread of the virus, AWEC has decided to cancel its in-person General Assembly event scheduled to take place in Lagos, Nigeria on 16-17 March and will reformat it an... Read More


February 11, 2020
The year 2019 marked numerous milestones for AWEC – graduating the first cohort of entrepreneurs, connecting with the African diplomatic community, growing our Board of Stewards, doubling our roster of Mentors, and expanding our reach to all 54 African countries.  Another 2019 milestone, however, began right at the end of the year. This past December, AWEC launched its inaugural end-of-year giving campaign, a one month fundraising period to support AWEC programming in 2020 and beyond.  The campaign kicked off on December 3 with #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving, and culminated at the end of the calendar year on... Read More


February 11, 2020
This past December, AWEC opened its application to current and aspiring African women entrepreneurs seeking the knowledge and network necessary to grow their businesses. This year, over 2,600 applications were submitted from 49 African countries!  In just three application cycles, we have received applications from all 54 countries on the continent. This reach not only demonstrates the strong demand for the kind of innovative business and management training that AWEC offers, but also speaks to the power of the AWEC network.  Over half of the Year 3 applications were the result of word of mouth referrals from the AWEC... Read More


February 11, 2020
Year 2 participant Rehema prepared herself to address the audience at the Dar es Salaam Leadership Summit. She looked out at the crowd and felt her nerves kick into high gear. Desiree, a fellow AWEC entrepreneur, grasped her by the arm and said to her, “What would Aya say?!” before the two shared a smile. She was talking about Aya El Meteiny, who mentors both women throughout their program year.  Aya El Meteiny is an Egyptian expat currently living in Ireland. Over the course of her career as an engineer, she has had such a passion for encouraging women... Read More


February 11, 2020
Many AWEC participants will say, “AWEC was a game changer,” but for Elishiba Ngugi, being a member of AWEC’s first cohort was a truly transformational experience. Elishiba is the Director of Yahrohk Social Innovations, a social enterprise tackling the challenges of youth unemployment in Kenya. Her passion for the issue stems from her own experiences: she herself had lost a job after building a 15 year career. She described this period in her life saying, “It was a very painful moment for me.”  These experiences were a major part of why Elishiba applied to AWEC – she wanted to... Read More


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