Africa Women Innovation
& Entrepreneurship Forum

AWIEF is an award-winning pan-African women economic empowerment organisation, that has been granted a Special Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). AWIEF works to close the gender gap by driving women’s business leadership and entrepreneurship in Africa. 


AWIEF is an award-winning women economic empowerment organisation that supports women entrepreneurs in Africa to grow their business and fulfil their potential.

Our mission is to foster women’s economic inclusion, advancement and empowerment through entrepreneurship support and development. Our vision is an inclusive and thriving Africa where women-owned businesses are empowered to create and grow high-impact and sustainable businesses, contributing to increasing Africa’s GDP and economic growth.

Year Founded
Conference Participants to date
Africa countries represented
AWIEF Programmes alumni​

Our work aligns with the Sustainable Development Goals

We are a high-level Signatory to the IFC Principles for Learning.

We have been granted Special Consultative Status to the United Nations ECOSOC.

We are an award-winning Organisation.

The AWIEF2023 Conference, Exhibition and Awards, took place on 9 & 10 November 2023, at the Kigali Convention Centre, Kigali, Rwanda.

The 9th edition of Africa’s leading entrepreneurship, innovation and technology platform, brought together entrepreneurs, industry experts, thought leaders, policy drivers and change-makers from more than 50 countries for impactful dialogue on new ideas, initiatives, strategies and solutions to drive innovation, entrepreneurship, digitization, intra-Africa trade, investing and sustainability.

WITH: Boosting Women Entrepreneurship Education in Tourism and Hospitality in Sub-Saharan Africa

AWIEF has partnered with six organisations from Africa and Europe to form a consortium and launch the project, WITH: Boosting Women Entrepreneurship Education in Tourism and Hospitality in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Co-funded by the European Union, WITH is a two-year initiative that aims to skill and empower a new generation of climate and sustainability conscious women intrapreneurs, entrepreneurs and business owners to succeed in the tourism and hospitality industry in Sub-Saharan Africa.  

Solutions Catalysing Increased Access to Capital for the Success of Women Entrepreneurs

AWIEF and the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) initiative of the African Development Bank  (AfDB) have joined forces to drive increased access to finance and markets for women-owned and women-led small and medium enterprises (WSMEs) across Southern, East and West Africa.

The new AfDB funded AWIEF programme “Solutions Catalysing Increased Access to Capital for the Success of Women Entrepreneurs” aims to accelerate efforts to address gender inequality to drive inclusive economic transformation. More than 500 growth-oriented WSMEs across 8 African countries will be supported for scale, access to markets and investment readiness.

SMEs Investment and Export Readiness program

AWIEF partnered with USAID Southern Africa Trade and Investment Hub (USAID TradeHub) on the program, ‘Enhanced Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Investment and Export Readiness Through a Digital Platform’.

The USAID-funded program aims to increase the investor, export readiness, and competitiveness of 100 SMEs in nine Southern African countries: Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zambia.

The objectives of the program are to increase exports from the Southern African countries to South Africa and increase exports from the nine targeted Southern African countries to the United States, leveraging AGOA.

Digital Skills Training for Unemployed and Underemployed Young Females in South Africa

AWIEF partnered with GIZ and Amazon Web Services (AWS) to launch a Digital Skills Training program for 60 young women in South Africa.

This new AWIEF program, based on AWS re/Start,  enhanced the skills levels and employability of unemployed and under-employed young females in South Africa, raising their digital literacy and skills to increase their level of employability and work readiness.

The digital skills development and training program included a one-week Bootcamp and 12-week full-time Virtual Learning, Monday through to Friday, and led to two AWS Certifications (Foundation and Associate levels). Getting AWS Certified helps you showcase in-demand job skills, builds your credibility and confidence.

Academy for Women Entrepreneurs Lesotho, Eswatini and South Africa

The U.S. Mission to South Africa and the Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF) are once again partnering to implement the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) program in South Africa. To expand the reach of this successful program, the U.S. Mission has extended participation to Lesotho and Eswatini for the first time.

The Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) is an initiative of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. It supports the U.S. National Strategy on Gender, Equity and Equality. Implemented in nearly 100 countries since 2019, the program has enabled about 25,000 women entrepreneurs to explore the fundamentals of business and learn new skills, including how to create business plans and raise capital. 

AWIEF Growth Accelerator Programme in partnership with Nedbank

AWIEF’s flagship AWIEF Growth Accelerator, sponsored by Nedbank, is designed to support the unique needs of early-stage and high growth-oriented women-led ventures with business modelling, growth strategy training, corporate advisory, mentorship, networks, and access to strategic partnerships.

The AWIEF Growth Accelerator program provides capital-raising support for growth, scale and sustainability.

It builds women’s entrepreneurial leadership capacity, connects them with appropriate sources of capital and helps them scale.

FemBioBiz Accelerator Programme

FemBioBiz enables female entrepreneurs and leaders in bioscience-based businesses to grow their business through an accelerator programme, gain regional exposure and access international markets. The programme is implemented in partnership with NEPAD-SANBio.

Now in Season 4, the FemBioBiz Accelerator Programme will focus on training for resilience and imparting skills and knowledge to enterprises, academics, students, government and civil society on how to use technology to support their enterprises for scale and impact. It aims to provide training to Fem-led enterprises on how to reach new markets using digital platforms.

LeadTech Incubation Program

AWIEF partnered with Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P), Morocco  to launch LEADTECH INCUBATION PROGRAM.  Despite Africa being one of the fastest growing technology markets in the world, women’s participation in the technology sector remains considerably low. LeadTech is a continental program to support promising and innovative women-owned or women-led digital startups in Agriculture, Biotech, Education, Environment, Finance, and Health.

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