The US Embassy in South Africa and the Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF) are once again partnering to implement the 2021 Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) South Africa programme.
Currently, in its third year, another 125 participants will be selected nationwide for the 2021 cohort. This brings total participation in the program to 300 young South African female entrepreneurs, who have received training and mentorship in what has become a highly competitive entrepreneurship program.
The Academy for Women Entrepreneurs is an initiative of the US State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) as part of the White House-led Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative, which aims to empower 50 million women worldwide by 2025 to fulfil their economic potential, with the goal of creating conditions for increased stability, security, and prosperity for all.
Currently implemented in more than 50 countries, AWE supports the growth of women entrepreneurs by equipping them with the practical skills, resources, mentorship, and networks needed to create sustainable businesses and enterprises. AWE is centred around DreamBuilder, an online training platform for women’s entrepreneurship developed by the Arizona State University’s Thunderbird School of Global Management in partnership with the global copper mining company Freeport-McMoRan.
Minister Counsellor for Public Affairs at the US Embassy, Frank Whitaker, notes “We firmly believe that women entrepreneurs are key to our shared prosperity, both now and in the future. Women who take action to affect positive change can and must play a role in leading the way to a more sustainable and economically inclusive future.”
Irene Ochem, founder and CEO of AWIEF, said “The AWE South Africa program has been a huge success, empowering young women not only with requisite knowledge and skills they need to own and manage successful businesses of their own, but also personal development and growth. Last year in 2020, we implemented AWE during what I would describe as an unprecedented crisis and challenging time of our existence as human beings, at the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic. We saw many inspiring young women move from just having a business idea to owning and operating a business of their own, overcoming all challenges.”
AWE 2021 will take place as a virtual program from August to December, with participants selected and grouped according to five South African cities: Bloemfontein, Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, and Pretoria. South African women entrepreneurs are invited to apply until 11 July 2021.
Call for applications
Applications are invited from motivated and self-driven female entrepreneurs for the AWE program. Application is of no cost to the applicant at any stage. Selected candidates will receive no-cost entry to the programme, which includes:
- Enrolment in the DreamBuilder platform and expert facilitated virtual business management training and mentorship sessions
- Networking and peer learning opportunities with like-minded entrepreneurs
- A collaboratively developed and refined draft of your business plan
- A DreamBuilder certificate after completing the program
- Membership to the AWIEF Community
- Free attendance to the AWIEF 2021 Virtual Conference, 2-3 December 2021
- Participants who graduate from the program gain automatic membership to the US government-funded Exchange Alumni network which provides access to a robust network of support, including follow-on business opportunities, potential seed funding, and a vast network of like-minded and highly regarded entrepreneurs across the country.
- Women between 21 and 35 years of age and fluent in English
- Resident in one of the five AWE South Africa cities: Bloemfontein, Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, and Pretoria
- Must either have a feasible business idea or have been in business for no more than two years
- Not in full-time employment (please note, this excludes self-employment)
- Ability to participate in weekly group sessions and must be able to commit 5+ hours weekly to accomplish designated tasks
- Computer literacy and access to a computer
To submit your application for the AWE South Africa 2021 program, go to https://bit.ly/3xCwJ2GAWESouthAfrica2021