Themed Equity, impact and inclusive growth towards Agenda 2030 and a sustainable African future, the Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Conference (AWIEF 2017) has its sights firmly set on the economic empowerment of women, who have historically been side-lined and disregarded in predominantly patriarchal and tribal societies.
Set to be held in Cape Town on the 5th and 6th October, the third annual AWIEF 2017 is expected to bring together the entire entrepreneurship ecosystem, including business experts, stakeholders and policy makers.
The 2017 AWIEF edition will feature the AWIEF Awards on 6 October to honour and celebrate excellence and outstanding women entrepreneurs in seven different categories. The Awards will feature Norwegian Ambassador Trine Skymoen as Keynote Speaker, popular TV and Radio Personality ShadoTwala as MC, and multi award-winning musician LoyisoBala in entertainment.
Partners and sponsors for AWIEF 2017 include: the African Development Bank, Shell South Africa, City of Cape Town, Old Mutual, South African Tourism, Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), WESGRO, Mbekani Group, Shimansky, Ethiopian Airlines, Embassy of Sweden in Pretoria, Mazars and UN Women.
The programme covers the whole business and industry spectrum, from education to innovation and technology, from e-commerce to agriculture and food security, and from infrastructure to finance, procurement and the “creative economy”, which embraces such sectors as fashion and design.
“It is naive to think that we can transform Africa leaving the women behind,” states Irene Ochem, AWIEF Founder and Director. “You cannot ignore over 50% of the population of a continent and hope to harness and exploit its full potential. It is imperative that we overturn traditional mindsets and customs to promote inclusivity in business and industry, tapping into the immense untapped resources offered by women. We need to turn women from being job-seekers into job creators, becoming entrepreneurs and businesswomen.”
Confirmed Ministers and Dignitaries participating in the event include: Esperance Nyirasafari, Minister of Gender and Family Promotion of Rwanda; Jean A. N. Kalilani, Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare of Malawi;Nyasha Chikwinya, Minister of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development of Zimbabwe; Elizabeth Thabethe, Deputy Minister, Department of Tourism of South Africa and several listed here.
As a build-up to the conference, the AWIEF launched a Growth Accelerator Programme in August, sponsored by Mazars, to assist 15 female entrepreneurs from South Africa with business modelling and growth strategy required to scale and to get their businesses “investment ready”.