Supporting female entrepreneurs across Africa
The training provided through the programme develops entrepreneurial skills during an intensive 6-day course (created by UNCTAD and Harvard University). After completing the course entrepreneurs take part in a 10 month after-care support programme, testing and applying their newly learnt skills.
WCW launched in South Africa earlier this year, redesigned and digitised in response to COVID-19. The programme’s new digital approach has transformed the offering, which now includes webinars, training modules, and an online information hub with access to learning materials and assignment submission.
Select WCW alumni have become guest speakers and facilitators in the programme – helping leverage local skills and expertise. “As the Graça Machel Trust embarks on this journey into the digital world, we find ourselves both embracing the opportunities brought forth by the use of technology, and learning to address new obstacles as we go,“ said Korkor Cudjoe from The Graça Machel Trust.
Many entrepreneurs are already celebrating the new platform and praising both the digital training elements and networking opportunities. “We've used technology to market our business for years and have been comfortable doing so, but now we are finding new ways to innovate,” said Karen Longley, a WCW participant.
The focus of WCW continues to be around supporting female entrepreneurs as they build relationships, local business networks, and create inclusive and diverse work spaces. The new digital offering has allowed this work to continue during such a difficult year.
The Graça Machel team are working to ensure the programme is available to as many women as possible and are actively addressing new digital hurdles, such as data costs and access to the required hardware and software. "We are committed to supporting female entrepreneurs and will continue to explore new ways to help them clear additional obstacles presented with COVID-19. When you empower a woman and help them thrive – you empower a community and indeed a nation," The Graça Machel Trust.
Virgin Unite has been supporting Graça Machel and her Trust since its inception in 2010 – most recently focusing on funding programmes centred around empowering and developing female entrepreneurs in Southern Africa.