What a year it’s been! AWIEF’s highlights of 2022

What a year it’s been! We’re taking a break and will come back ready to make an even bigger impact in the new year. But first, here’s a quick round-up of AWIEF’s highlights of 2022 and what you can look forward to in 2023!

Through key partnerships with high-level corporate and development organisations and our community of industry experts, business leaders and mentors, we were able to upskill hundreds of entrepreneurs in start-up and SME investor and export readiness, growth, scale, impact and sustainability as well as train unemployed young women in cloud computing, a fast-growing technology sector.

Our 2022 Enterprise Development Programmes included:

  • Digital Skills Training: Presented in partnership with GIZ and Amazon Web Services (AWS), 60 unemployed and under-employed female youth in South Africa trained in high-demand digital skills, were matched and linked to job opportunities, and were provided with access to further skills development.
  • Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) South Africa: Run in partnership with the United States Diplomatic Mission to South Africa, 110 participants received business and management training, mentorship and support which will help them grow their businesses and impact their communities, as well as an opportunity of USD20,000 grant funding from USADF.
  • Enhanced Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Investment and Export Readiness Through a Digital Platform program: Presented in partnership with USAID Southern Africa Trade and Investment Hub (USAID TradeHub), 100 SMEs from nine Southern African countries trained on export readiness to drive exports to the US and other markets.
  • AWIEF Growth Accelerator: In partnership with Nedbank: 25 early and growth stage entrepreneurs were supported with business modelling, growth strategy training, corporate advisory, mentorship, networks, and access to finance and strategic partnerships.
  • The fourth cohort of FemBioBiz, in partnership with NEPAD-SANBio, focused on e-commerce training for 20 enterprises.

In January 2023, our prestigious partnership with the African Development Bank Group’s Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) initiative as one of their Women Entrepreneurship Enablers will see us continue working with over 500 women entrepreneurs across 8 African countries. The programme “Solutions Catalysing Increased Access to Capital for the Success of Women Entrepreneurs” will greatly accelerate efforts to address gender inequality and drive inclusive economic transformation.

Fuelled by the powerful testimonies of our #AWIEFClassof2022 graduates, we will continue to strive to make a positive impact in the lives of African entrepreneurs.

The SMEs Investment and Export Readiness program has exposed my business to clients I never thought I would get at this point. Because of this program, our team is now beginning to understand how business beyond the local space is done.” – Victoria Mwafulirwa, Founder & MD, Homes Industries Ltd, Malawi

What an honour to be part of the AWE Class of 2022. I can now confidently pitch my business, the problem I solve, and my value proposition! I can also confidently call myself an entrepreneur.” – Felicity Maduna, Managing Director, Shift180

Are you a Female Entrepreneur? Join our AWIEF Community now and be the first to receive alerts for all the great opportunities coming next year.


It was very exciting to take our award-winning annual conference to North Africa for the first time, as we partnered with Egypt’s Ministry of International Cooperation and the Egyptian Businessmen’s Association.

Thank you to everyone for joining us in Cairo and online as over 60 global speakers shared extensive and stimulating dialogue and insights on how to drive the promotion and acceleration of MSMEs and SMEs growth across the continent.

A special thank you to our sponsors: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Afreximbank, Africa-Europe Foundation, Nedbank and Sparkle Nigeria, and to all our other partners and supporters, in particular, APO Group and EdVentures.

Save the date and join us for AWIEF2023 on 2 & 3 November as we journey to Kigali, Rwanda, one of the most exciting cities in Africa right now and a significant hub for business, technology and innovation on the continent. 

To find out more about #AWIEF2023 sponsorship and partnership opportunities, contact us at info@awieforum.org.

Congratulations once again to our AWIEF Awards 2022 winners: Gisèla Van Houcke, Sahar Salama, Korka Diaw, Mona Al Adawy, Abai Schulze, Lumbie Mlambo, Martha Alade and Manal Amin. We continue to be inspired by them and celebrate their success.

Our Founder and CEO, Irene Ochem, continues to be a strong advocate and leading voice on the continent for gender equality and women economic empowerment, speaking at the prestigious MEDays 2022 Forum, hosted by the Amadeus Institute in Morocco, as well as the EU-Africa Business Forum 2022, co-organised by the European Commission and the African Union Commission.

In 2022, Irene Ochem was named one of Nigeria’s 100 Most Inspiring Women and one of Africa’s Most Influential Women & Everyday Heroes.

Thank you to all our supporters and partners who make it possible for us to continue to make an impact and transform the lives of women through our different programs,” she said.

We wish you a peaceful and restful festive season with your loved ones. We look forward to learning from, connecting with and inspiring you in 2023!

All the Best,

The AWIEF Team

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *