African Women Entrepreneurship Cooperative

Frequently Asked Questions

General FAQs

  • What is AWEC?
  • The African Women Entrepreneurship Cooperative (AWEC) is a one-of-a-kind, high-touch business and management development and learning program. Referred to as “a jewel of a program” by a global business school expert, AWEC focuses on applied learning and collaborative experiences to ensure immediate business impact and the creation of a pan-African network of entrepreneurs, experts and allies. AWEC was created by the Center for Global Enterprise (CGE).
  • How is AWEC different?
  • CGE developed AWEC in response to feedback from African alumni of our online learning courses who requested more in-depth training on critical management topics, longer program engagement, mentorship, and a sustained peer network. Unlike other business training programs that exist for African women entrepreneurs, AWEC is unique in its inclusiveness, innovative learning approach, and content:
    • AWEC is open to women entrepreneurs and business owners from any country in Africa and its diaspora, representing any industry.
    • The program is open to individuals who have a company in startup or growth mode and aspiring entrepreneurs with business experience, a solid idea, and demonstrated passion for entrepreneurship.
    • AWEC is designed to build a community of collaboration and mutual support amongst participants.
    • AWEC provides sustained skills training and mentorship for one year. Participants who successfully complete the program are part of an ongoing network of alumni.
    • AWEC is modeled as a blended learning program. Every month content is delivered in an applied online learning approach that leverages proven, leading-edge technology and collaborative tools. Additionally, participants meet in person every six months to continue learning face-to-face.
  • What is the core progam?
  • The five core components of AWEC are:
    • Monthly live learning sessions
    • Monthly individual applied learning assignments and quarterly team projects
    • Mentoring from business professionals
    • Peer network and feedback
    • Bi-annual in-person Leadership Summits
  • Who is AWEC for?
  • AWEC is designed for:
    • AWEC is open to women entrepreneurs and business owners from any country in Africa and its diaspora, representing any industry
    • Individuals who have a company in startup or growth mode OR aspiring entrepreneurs with business experience, a solid idea, and demonstrated passion for entrepreneurship
    • Those interested in advancing their business and management skills, as well as growing their companies and their leadership capabilities
    • Self-starters who demonstrate passion, resilience, leadership, collaboration, and empathy
    • Individuals proficient in written and spoken English
  • Is it only open to African women?
  • Participants in AWEC must have been born on the African continent. Members of the African diaspora are eligible to apply. It is highly desirable that participants’ businesses primarily serve African customers, clients and communities. The program is limited to women only.
  • What will participants gain from the program?
  • Upon successful completion of the 12-month program, participants will:

    • Form connections with a diverse network of African women entrepreneurs
    • Establish relationship with at least one senior business mentor
    • Strengthen strategy, leadership and business management skills
    • Apply their AWEC learning to their business with an eye toward sustainable growth
    • Gain skills needed to grow and scale their enterprise
    • Develop a toolkit of soft skills, including self-confidence, resilience, collaboration, and cross-cultural communications
  • What language is the program conducted in?
  • The program will be conducted in English and participants are expected to complete all program elements, including small group conversations and written assignments, in English.
  • Does it cost anything to participate?
  • While there is no monetary cost to participants, they are required to commit their time (4 to 6 hours per week for one year), hard work and energy to being an active learner and participant in the AWEC community.

Applicant FAQs

  • How do I apply?
  • The application for the 2019-2020 year of AWEC will available on the Apply Page on 5 December 2018. If you would like updates about the current program and upcoming application, we encourage you to follow us on Twitter and Instagram or send a message to [email protected] with “Subscribe” in the subject line to be added to our outreach updates.
  • How long is the program?
  • AWEC is a 12-month program. The second year of AWEC will run from April 2019 to March 2020 and will include a 2 week online orientation period in March 2019.
  • When does it start?
  • The 2019-2020 AWEC program will begin with orientation on Monday, 18 March 2019. The first live lecture will be held on Wednesday, 3 April 2019.
  • How many people will be accepted for the 2019-2020 program year?
  • AWEC will enroll 200 women for the 2019-2020 program year.
  • What is the time commitment?
  • Participants should expect to spend an average of 4 to 6 hours per week participating in AWEC activities (primarily online), for one year. Participants are expected to participate in at least one AWEC activity per week over the course of 12 months. Please seriously consider this time commitment before applying and/or accepting an offer to participate in AWEC.
  • Do I need to travel to participate?
  • Participants are not required to travel. Most of the AWEC program activities are conducted online and can be completed from anywhere a participant has an Internet connection. However, there are some opportunities to connect in-person, including two Leadership Summits that provide in-person learning and networking opportunities. Some participants who are located in the same city choose to meet face-to-face in addition to taking part in the regular online AWEC curriculum; this is optional and not part of the official program.
  • Do I need access to the Internet?
  • All participants must have reliable access to a strong Internet connection, at least once per week. Most of the AWEC program activities are conducted online and can be completed from anywhere a participant has an Internet connection, including a university, Internet café, shared workspace, their home, or other locations. AWEC requires participants to participate in video conference calls, which generally requires more bandwidth than typical Internet browsing.
  • What kind of device do I need to participate in the program?
  • Program participants will need access to a tablet, laptop or desktop to complete most of the work. Smartphones can be used to engage in the Live Sessions and for messaging with peers and teammates, but are not sufficient for all course activities.
  • Will I work alone or as part of a team?
  • Collaboration is a core element of the AWEC program. While most assignments will be completed individually and focus on one’s own business, the program provides numerous opportunities to work in teams and to peer review each other’s work.
  • What if I miss some of the program?
  • While participants who consistently engage in the program will gain the most benefit, we understand that managing careers, businesses, families, and other commitments will occasionally prevent participants from engaging in AWEC activities. All monthly Live Sessions and Peer Sessions are recorded and can be viewed later. If a participant experiences a major, life-changing event that impacts active participation for a period of time, the AWEC staff will support them as much as possible in successfully completing the program.

Supporter FAQs

  • How can an individual, foundation, or corporation get involved with AWEC?
  • Foundations, corporations and individuals are valued partners and can support AWEC in the following ways:
    • Financial: Financial contributions allow us to continue to deliver high caliber content and program operations. Financial support also enables our Leadership Summits, which gather our participants in-person to network and continue to develop their skills and businesses.
    • In-Kind: In-kind support can take many forms, which enable the further development of the program. This includes mentoring, leading Live Sessions, delivering workshops at a Leadership Summit, providing discounted travel or accommodations for a Summit and much more.
  • Who are your current supporters?
  • Our supporters include Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Ernst & Young, Ogilvy, and the Equatorial Coca-Cola Bottling Company. They, and others, provide a combination of financial and in-kind contributions to AWEC.
       
    We have also built a pan-African network of outreach supporters who leverage their communities and connections to enable AWEC to reach a broad cross-section of women entrepreneurs from across Africa and the diaspora.
  • Who do I contact to get involved?
  • If you would like to learn more about the program and how to get involved, please reach out at [email protected].