Applications Open for Cohort 5 of the African Women Entrepreneurship Cooperative

AWEC is the accelerant behind hundreds of African female entrepreneurs who have transformed and grown their businesses. We are seeking the next 200 women who are ready to join our cohort for a high-impact applied learning experience. 

The African Women Entrepreneurship Cooperative is an innovative 12-month, leadership and business management capacity building program that empowers 200 female entrepreneurs annually.19

From 17 January 2022 – 30 January 2022, AWEC will accept applications for its highly selective leadership and business management capacity building program. This program is designed for African women entrepreneurs seeking to expand their knowledge, increase their skills, broaden their network, and make lifelong connections.

Who Should Apply

Women who are:

  • Founders of businesses that have been in operation for at least two years in any industry and have at least two employees (either full time or part time) OR women who have a strong business concept and plan to launch their business within the next year
  • Founders of social enterprises are encouraged to apply; founders of NGOs or nonprofit organizations are no longer eligible for the 12-month program
  • Citizens of any African country, currently living on the continent or in the diaspora
  • Comfortable with remote teamwork and collaboration, especially using digital tools
  • Proficient in verbal and written English
  • Able to regularly (at least weekly) access the Internet through a computer or tablet

AWEC admissions do not discriminate based on race, religion, age, disability, marital status, education, business revenue, or geographic location.

Please note: For those living in the diaspora, your business must clearly impact Africa through the creation or delivery of its products or services, or based on where its customers reside.

What We Look For

AWEC seeks to build diverse cohorts in which Fellows share some consistent characteristics:

  • Vision and resiliency
  • Business clarity and market knowledge
  • Commitment to building their businesses
  • Motivation to be part of a yearlong learning experience
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 What to Expect

This program is rigorous and time intensive. Fellows should expect to:

  • Spend an average of 4 to 6 hours per week participating in AWEC activities, primarily online
  • Participate in at least one AWEC activity per week throughout the program, including Zoom-enabled meetings
  • Be challenged, stretched, and inspired as they acquire new knowledge 
  • Develop skills, build their peer network, and transform their businesses
  • Be matched with a mentor and to take ownership of their mentor/mentee relationship
  • Be introduced to a peer group, and actively contribute to group discussions and activities
  • Gain access to a program advisor from whom they can seek support when needed
  • Respond to periodic surveys to improve the overall experience

Please seriously consider these commitments before applying and/or accepting an offer to participate in AWEC.

All AWEC Fellows must have reliable access to the Internet, at least once per week. AWEC requires Fellows to participate in video conference calls, which generally requires more bandwidth than typical Internet browsing.

Please see our FAQ page for more information. 

How You Will Benefit

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

  • Form connections with a diverse network of African women entrepreneurs
  • Establish a relationship with a senior business mentor
  • Strengthen strategy, leadership and business management skills
  • Gain skills in finance, marketing, and strategy needed to grow and scale their enterprise
  • Develop a toolkit of soft skills, including self-confidence, resilience, collaboration, and cross-cultural communications

AWEC Fellow, Emilly O. from Kenya says it best:  

I enjoy the practicability of the content. I am able to apply literally everything that I learn, I have seen a huge potential of my business and so far, I have expanded my market reach, especially online.

Important Dates

Cohort 5 will run from June 2022 to May 2023. There is a four-week online orientation period during the month of May 2022. 

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We typically host two events during the program – at the halfway mark and at the end. Given the ongoing impact and uncertainties of COVID-19, it is unknown at this time if these events will be in-person or virtual for Cohort 5. While these experiences provide valuable learning and networking opportunities, participation is not mandatory.


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