Experiences of Women in SMEs in Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda and South Africa in Overcoming the Covid-19 Pandemic
Covid-19 pandemic has severely affected the operations of SMEs in the world. With a focus on Africa, in briefly assessing how it has impacted women in SMEs, this webinar focuses on the experiences of four countries: Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, and South Africa. The speakers at this webinar are leaders of women entrepreneurs associations in their respective countries, the speakers will share the experiences of the women in SMEs in overcoming the Covid-19 pandemic.
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The host and panelists
Founder and Executive Director of the Center for Accelerated Women’s Economic Empowerment
(CAWEE). Read more
Founder and Executive Director of the Center for Accelerated Women’s Economic Empowerment
(CAWEE). Nigest received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology (Major) and Sociology (Minor) from the Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia and her Post Graduate Diploma in Globalization and Development, from the Institute of Social Studies (ISS), The Hague, Netherlands. She also was able to get trained in women’s entrepreneurship development and other relevant areas of enterprise development and export promotion in different countries and has different diplomas and certificates. Nigest is an activist in the promotion of women entrepreneurs, with particular focus to women exporters. She has 23 years experience working in the Ethiopian Ministry of Trade and Industry, at different capacities. In 2004, she founded CAWEE, a pioneer trade promotion organization working in the country, providing promotional and capacity building support service targeting women exporters. In facilitating export market, in bring buyers to Ethiopia as well as taking trade missions of women entrepreneurs to different counties, Nigest has played crucial role, where in the past years, she was able to organize trade missions to – Canada, USA, China, Mexico, UK, Germany, Turkey, South Africa, Egypt, Rwanda, Kenya, Mongolia, Brazil, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark. Nigest is actively involved in conducting different kinds of action oriented researches, focusing on women in business and was able to publish a book compiling the findings of five different researches on ‘Challenges Affecting Women in Business’. In the research ‘Strengthening Women-to-Women Business Market Linkages: Lessons from Experience’ which this time is at its dissemination stage, Nigest has led the research team. Nigest received award from the Department of State, USA, in recognition of her extraordinary contributions to the development of women-led businesses, she was also selected by The International Alliance for Women (TIAW), Canada, as a TIAW Award Winner for the Year 2012, for all the great works she does to economically empower women. Nigest Haile has also received a Pan-African Award in 2012, by the UN Women and ILO, in recognition of her participation and support of Women’s Entrepreneurship Development in the African continent.She was also the 2015 award winner of the AWiB (Association of Women in Business) Women of Excellence Award in Ethiopia. In September 2017, Nigest received the “Enabler of Vision” award in New York from the Center for Economic and Leadership Development during the International Conference on Gender & Sustainability. In 2017, Nigest also started serving as Global Ambassador for the Vital Voices, USA mentorship program. Starting April 2017, Nigest served as the Executive Committee member of the African Community of Practice (AfCoP). In March 2018, Nigest received the “Women Stop Hunger Award”, in Paris, France. In September 2019, Nigest received Global Woman Leadership Award in Jabalpur, India. And in September 2019, she received the Hamlin Award in in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Nigest is one of the promoters and founders of the first women’s commercial bank, named as “ENAT Bank” in Ethiopia and currently serving as the board member of the bank, her third term serving at the Bank Board. Nigest is member of other different boards, jury (Ex: jury member at the Sub-Saharan Africa Jury of the Cartier Women’s Initiate Awards: 2010 - 2017), platforms and networks, both locally, regionally and internationally (ex: member of the African Women Leaders Network, Executive Council member of the African Community of Practice, member of Sisters in Charge International – SiCi, based in Helsinki, Finland), Focal Person for Ethiopia, 2005-2013, for the ACCESS! Program (Access for African Business Women in International Trade), International Trade Center executed program. She is also the Advisory Board Member of the Global Economic Forum for Women in Africa. Nigest also serves as Board member in the Healing Hands of Joy, an international NGO that works on Fistula.
Comfort Aku Adjahoe-Jennings, Ghana
Comfort Aku Adjahoe-Jennings is Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Ele AgbeCompany Ltd, a Shea butter and local beads Jewelry production and exportcompany ... Read more
Comfort Aku Adjahoe-Jennings is Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Ele AgbeCompany Ltd, a Shea butter and local beads Jewelry production and exportcompany in Ghana. Ele Agbe produces a variety of body creams, soaps, lotion bars,body oils and lip balms from Shea butter that are exported to the US, UK, Canadianand Japanese markets. Adjahoe-Jennings has run Ele Agbe for 23 years. During this time, she hasparticipated in several trade shows in the US and Japanese markets. She has alsoorganized rural Ghanaian women into cooperatives to enable them to produce andsupply products to her company. Adjahoe-Jennings has built Ele Agbe into a high qualityShea butter cosmetics company that exports internationally but still works with a network ofwomen Shea nut pickers and processors in northern Ghana. As to her experiences and expertise, Adjahoe-Jennings has rich expertise inlivelihoods (responsible supply chains and sustainability) and in markets, onwomen’s and girls’ education and youth employment skills. Adjahoe-Jennings is the co-founder of the Godhead Foundation that currentlyfocuses on the health and education of women and young children. She is thefounding member and past President of the Africa Women’s EntrepreneurshipProgram (AWEP) Ghana Chapter. This time, she is the President of AWEP West Africa Region, which consists of 13countries (Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Senegal, Niger,Cote D’voire, Gambia, Liberia and Sierra Leone). Adjahoe-Jennings is a verycommitted leader and fully engaged in economically empower women and younggirls in her country Ghana, in the West African Region as well as in the Continenet.
Gloria KAMANZI UWIZERA, Rwanda
Gloria KAMANZI UWIZERA is the founder and C.E.O of Glo Creations ltd. Uwizera is a textile designer and artist, she has been working on textile design and ... Read more
Gloria KAMANZI UWIZERA is the founder and C.E.O of Glo Creations ltd. Uwizera is a textile designer and artist, she has been working on textile design and textile printing for more than 10 years in Rwanda. Tapping into the growing global interest in African design, Gloria Kamanzi Uwizera is building an award-winning company, Glo Creations, celebrating traditional batik printing techniques with a contemporary twist. Glo Creations is a Rwandan based textile design and printing company, specializing in creating African inspired quality patterns for garments and home interiors. The company's work is to design, print on textile with hand techniques. The major portion of the Glo Creations product range is textile-based and includes printed fabrics, ready-to-wear garments, home interior fabrics, and products. Uwizera as a passionate designer and entrepreneur, has a creative eye, combined with a strong aptitude for business, has a real passion, dedication, and determination for traditional printing techniques but brought up to date with a contemporary edge. Gloria KAMANZI UWIZERA is part of a network of women entrepreneurs across the African continent known as the “African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program”AWEP, she is the Chairperson of AWEP Rwanda Chapter.
Zohra Baraka, Kenya
Zohra Baraka is Founder and Managing Director of Mohazo Ex Impo Ltd, a Kenyan company which,since the late 80s, has achieved several milestones in ... Read more
Zohra Baraka is Founder and Managing Director of Mohazo Ex Impo Ltd, a Kenyan company which,since the late 80s, has achieved several milestones in successful trading authentic handicrafts in localand global markets. Zohra’s company has given Kenya and Africa, a platform to showcase the richethnic culture that the continent has to offer to the global marketplace. With timely and much-needed technical assistance from International Finance Corporation (IFC), Mohazo has re-brandedand documented its systems and procedures in pursuit of ISO 9001-2008 certification, which will goa long way in improving access to markets for Mohazo products.
Zohra manages several producer groups and micro-enterprises at the grassroots level which her company mobilizes to facilitate the process of selecting products suitable for the marketplace. Currently, the company's products are both decorative and fashionable and can be found in renowned chain stores in the US and Europe. Beyond managing Mohazo, Zohra serves on boards of various organizations that promote gender equality, women’s leadership and cross-cultural exchange in education and micro-enterprise development. She also promotes progressive dialogue between communities in conflict.
Zohra sits on the Board of the Kenya Micro and Small Enterprise Authority (MSEA) as an appointed Director, NEVA-cooperation between Colorado State University and USIU, and Kenya’s National Committee on AGOA.In her educational background, Zohra has MA in Social Enterprise Development and BA in business administration.
Zohra was able to get different awards and recognitions within Kenya as well as a broad winning different international awards, like: in 2011, nominated as African Women’sEntrepreneurship Program (AWEP) Ambassador for Kenya and currently serving on the board of AWEP Kenya Chapter as Chairperson; recognized and appreciated by the then Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, for supplying high quality and standardized products to global markets; nominated by the UK Based organization for International Register ‘Achievements-2019, TOP-100, Excellence in Quality and Management’ register and much more.Zohra is member of different organizations, like: Chair Person of AWEP Kenya Chapter,member of Export Promotion Council of Kenya, member of Kenya Association of WomenBusiness Owners and member of the Federation of Women Entrepreneurs Association of Kenya.
Bea Hackula, South Africa
Bea Hackula, founder and President of Africa for Africa Women Empowerment is a globally-respected leader, strategist, and public speaker. She is a ... Read more
Bea Hackula, founder and President of Africa for Africa Women Empowerment is a globally-respected leader, strategist, and public speaker. She is a transformational leader in action and a champion of women and youth empowerment. She has been recognized locally and internationally for her transformational leadership.
Bea is the recipient of many prestigious awards and accolades for her contribution as a leader and a champion of women empowerment: Business Woman of the Year Award from the Business Women’s Association of South Africa. The Women Super Achievers Award at the 26thWorld HRD Congress in India, as a thought leader and a contributor of value on Women inLeadership, the Inspiring Woman Leadership Award at the Africa Economy Builders Forum in Abidjan, Cote’ D’Ivoire and the Inspired Leader award by Enspire Magazine in South Africa, to name a few.
Bea Hackula successfully initiated the establishment of a Women’s Cooperative Bank, in SouthAfrica called Women Building our Africa Cooperative Financial Institution (WBoA) with representation of women across South Africa. She is also a Co-founder and Director of theInstitute of Transformational Leadership which focuses on leadership development, coachingand mentorship across the African Continent. Recently, in response to the advent of COVID 19, she launched Women of Africa Arise forum for African Women with representation from over 25 AU Member States supported by 4 UNMember States, with a mission to ensure that African women are not further marginalized by COVID 19Bea is a Forte University and Harvard Business School Alumnus and has served in various boardsboth in NGOs and private organizations. HER MOTTO: Be the Woman you wanna be - Don’t carry other people’s monkeys