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.

AWIEF is convening key players in the African entrepreneurial ecosystem to engage in impactful dialogue around the theme Future For All: Collaborate For Growth. Solve Inequity. Act on Climate.

We invite you to join us at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) on 28 and 29 November as we set the stage for speakers, exhibitors and delegates to share good practices and foster collaboration in promoting inclusive, equitable and sustainable growth through entrepreneurship.

AWIEF is thrilled to announce the launch of the Growth Accelerator Programme in Nigeria, in partnership with iconic global brand Victoria’s Secret & Co

AWIEF is implementing the programme as part of The Tour Impact Fund, a Victoria’s Secret initiative dedicated to advancing gender equality, empowering women across the globe and amplifying their voices.

AWIEF’s partnership with Victoria’s Secret will provide twenty (20) women founders and/or leaders of innovative, growth-stage businesses based in Nigeria with the opportunity to participate in the seven-month, high-impact, investment readiness programme.

AWIEF Growth Accelerator for South Africa in Partnership with Nedbank

AWIEF calls for applications for the 2024 cohort AWIEF Growth Accelerator for South Africa, in partnership with Nedbank.

The 2024 AWIEF-Nedbank South Africa programme seeks to enhance the readiness of women to access funding opportunities and scale-up their businesses in the agriculture and green economy sectors through the provision of tailored business development services, tools, mentoring and skills development.

For the 2024 cohort, applications are invited from WSMEs operating in agribusiness, agro-processing, green energy, and climate-smart solutions. Technology-based and tech-enabled businesses are highly encouraged to apply.

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. 

2024 Awief Awards

Nominations are now open for the 2024 edition of the prestigious AWIEF Awards, which recognise, honour and celebrate women founders and entrepreneurs in Africa, across

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