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2020 African Women Entrepreneurship Cooperative (AWEC) Cohort 3 Program for African Women

Deadline: December 17, 2019.

The African Women Entrepreneurship Cooperative (AWEC) is a 12-month, high-touch leadership and management capacity building program. AWEC empowers women from across Africa and the diaspora with the knowledge and network needed to build resilient and scalable businesses.

We use applied and collaborative learning models, enabling immediate business impact and cultivating a pan-African cooperative of entrepreneurs, experts, and allies. Our mission and impact are aligned with the UN’s SDGs focused on gender equality, economic empowerment, and high-quality learning opportunities. AWEC is a program created through the Center for Global Enterprise (CGE), a nonprofit and nonpartisan research institute focused on developing insights that help current and future business leaders build resilient enterprises.

AWEC was created to meet an expressed need for more equal access to sustained, high-quality leadership and business management learning opportunities, mentorship, and a pan-African peer network. AWEC is unique in its inclusiveness, innovative learning approach, and content.

  • Technology-enabled Blended Learning: Innovative technology and program design allows us to serve women in real-time from across the continent and diaspora, both online and offline

  • Quality and Rigor: Fast-paced, 12-month program dives deeply on business, leadership, and management skills taught by global thought-leaders

  • Applied Learning: Learning topics are immediately applicable, not theoretical

  • Diverse Industries and Countries: Exposes cohort to an array of experiences and viewpoints

  • Women-only Cooperative: Supportive give-and-take learning and networking environment


Women who meet the following criteria are encouraged to apply:

  • Current or aspiring entrepreneurs working in any industry and in any country

  • Citizens of any African country, currently living on the continent or in the diaspora

  • Founders of for-profit or non-profit/NGO ventures

  • Comfortable with remote teamwork and collaboration, especially using digital tools

  • Proficient in verbal and written English

  • Regular (at least weekly) access to the Internet through a computer or tablet


Upon successful completion of the 12-month program, participants will:

  • Form connections with a diverse network of African women entrepreneurs

  • Establish a 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

AWEC seeks to build diverse cohorts, successful applicants tend to share the following traits:

  • Resilience as individuals and entrepreneurs

  • Passion for building a scalable and sustainable business

  • Strong interest in building business, management and leadership skills

  • Collaborative spirit

  • Desire to build a pan-African network of peers

  • Empathetic leaders

  • Clear communicators


Participants should expect to spend an average of 4 to 6 hours per week participating in AWEC activities (primarily online), for one year. When considering whether or not to apply, please keep in mind that this program is fast-paced and requires a firm commitment to active learning and engagement. Participants are expected to engage in one AWEC activity every week. While generous philanthropic donations enable AWEC to offer the 12-month learning experience without charging a program fee, participants may wish to plan for some travel expenses related to attending optional in-person events. Additional details will be provided to accepted members of the cohort.



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