We’re Launching A New Way to Learn: AWEC Business Academy

October 9, 2019

As the world becomes more connected on the internet, online courses can be attractive options to deliver knowledge equitably, without needing to physically show up for a lecture. But what about the need to mentally show up? 

While completion rates for MOOCs (massively open online courses) hover in the single percentages, the completion rate for AWEC’s first cohort was 78 percent and we’re on track for similar rates for our second cohort. Clearly, we’re doing something unique. 

As we seek to increase our impact, we have asked ourselves: Can we apply some of the magic from our core program to enable us to serve more women entrepreneurs across the continent?

Launching the AWEC Business Academy

Every year, the African Women’s Entrepreneurship Cooperative (AWEC) turns away more than one thousand applicants seeking to upskill their knowledge and develop their network.

In response to this demand for high-quality applied and cooperative learning experiences, we are pleased to announce that the AWEC Business Academy will launch on November 1st, 2019 with a pilot course focused on Cultivating an Entrepreneurial Culture.

The AWEC Business Academy is a cooperative learning experience designed for African women entrepreneurs seeking to develop specific business management skills in just one month.

While AWEC Business Academy courses are delivered digitally, they are not typical online courses. Our courses provide the opportunity to learn through a combination of watching, doing, discussing, and reflecting.

  • Watch concise, actionale webinars delivered by international experts in their fields, learning from their wealth of experience on the topic
  • Do practical assignments and activities, learning by immediately applying new concepts to your own business or business concept
  • Discuss key concepts with peers, learning about yourself and your growing network in the process
  • Reflect on learnings via a thoughtful peer review process, learning through giving and receiving feedback

What are the core components of an AWEC Business Academy course?

AWEC Business Academy courses deliver a practical, interactive, applied, and collaborative learning experience across four weeks.

  • Practical: Activities allow learners to turn theoretical content into actionable guidance, developing a toolkit of skills to tackle the challenges presented in the road ahead with confidence
  • Interactive: Live Q&A with the Session Leader and support from a team of Teaching Assistants provides a personal touch, ensuring that learners feel directly connected to both the content and the course
  • Applied: Assignment push learners to immediately apply key concepts to their businesses or business concepts, resulting in a roadmap for business growth upon completion of the course
  • Collaborative: Peer Sessions and Peer Reviews build a community amongst learners, emphasizing the importance of peer to peer learning and support in an effort to build a strong, diverse network of fellow women entrepreneurs

How is the AWEC Business Academy Different from the AWEC Flagship Program? 

Business Academy courses are designed to meet the needs of entrepreneurs seeking to develop specific skill sets, rather than the comprehensive business management capacity building curriculum of the flagship AWEC program. The 4-week duration of a Business Academy course is also markedly shorter, providing a flexibility that is not available in the 12-month flagship program. Additionally, while the flagship program is offered at no cost to the top 200 women who apply to AWEC, Business Academy courses will be available for $150 per course, and registration is first come, first served. 

What Courses Will Be Offered?

The pilot course titled Cultivating an Entrepreneurial Culture launches on November 1st and will maintain the same level of rigor and quality that the flagship AWEC year-long program has delivered to 400 African women entrepreneurs to date. 

In this four-week program, current and aspiring entrepreneurs will learn how to cultivate an entrepreneurial mindset through a set of expert webinars with Dr. Sherif Kamel, Founding Dean and Professor of Management at the School of Business at the American University in Cairo (AUC) and a series of practical activities, applied assignments, and collaborative peer interactions designed to turn business theory into an actionable plan for growth.

Learning objectives include:

  • Prepare for your entrepreneurial journey by defining the entrepreneurial mindset and planning for imminent challenges
  • Define the skills needed to bring your idea to action by identifying your vision and analyzing your market
  • Build your ecosystem by understanding the stakeholders involved and processes needed to successfully execute your vision

This course runs from 1-30 November and is available exclusively online.

A second course on Establishing a Brand Identity will be offered in January. As the program grows, we will continue to add a variety of new courses to address the pressing challenges that women entrepreneurs in Africa face to run successful and sustainable businesses. 


Source: AWEC Business Academy Logo

Who Can Register for the AWEC Business Academy?

Women who currently run or aspire to start a business or non-profit in Africa can register for AWEC Business Academy courses, irrespective of the stage of their business or their industry. Registration for the first course of the Academy will begin on October 14, 2019 and will accept the first 150 learners. When the course is full, we will no longer be able to accept new registrants, but we anticipate re-offering popular topics. Similar to our flagship AWEC program, the Business Academy also accepts women entrepreneurs who are members of the African diaspora, provided that their business or NGO is tightly tied to having an impact on Africa. 

This course runs from 1-30 November and is available exclusively online. For a limited time, AWEC is offering the course at a 37% savings. Interested learners can use the code AWEC95 at checkout to receive this discount, but need to hurry – it expires on Friday, 18 October at 11:59pm UTC.

Visit https://www.thecge.net/awec/business-academy/ to learn more about the AWEC Business Academy and get started. 

Cover Image Source: The Professional Woman’s Mentor

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