What We Have Done

CAWEE served as a Country Focal Office for a program called “ACCESS! for African Business Women in International Trade,” program financed by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and executed by the International Trade Center (ITC), 2005-2011, that involved two project phases. The Executive Director of CAWEE served as the ACCESS! Focal Point.   In this ACCESS! Program, over 400 companies, women owned and managed were able to benefit (http://www.womenexporters.com/access/Exporters-Profiles/) where some of the beneficiaries profiles is posted in ACCESS! Website and had also news coverage on Ethiopian companies’ participation: (www.womenexporters.com/access/News)

  The Major Activities In The ACCESS! Program Included:  
  • Accreditation of international trainers and certified business councilors, that built the national in-house capacity,
  • Providing trainnings in international trade
  • Providing business counseling services
  • Providing product development services
  • Companies participation in international trade shows
  • Establishing market linkages through Business to Business (B2B) meetings.

CAWEE was also involved in capacity building of Ethiopian women exporters through product development, market promotion, preparation of marketing materials and participation in international trade shows. In a program called “PACT: Program for building African Capacity for Trade”, a country program implemented by the Ministry of Trade & Industry, where CAWEE was a joint partner, six handloom companies, all owned & managed by women, went through processes of product development, market promotion and preparations of marketing materials, for ten consecutive months, and the companies participated in trade shows in Montreal and Toronto, Canada, in May 2007, which was an entry point for the companies into the Canadian market.


CAWEE also organized business award event. The event was special because it happened in the year, when Ethiopia was celebrating its Millennium and it was after that, the event was named as a “Millennium Award” for women exporters in the hand loom sub-sector. The Millennium Award was unique in that the companies were recognized and were awarded at the National Palace, by the President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, in February 2008.

CAWEE participated in conducting action oriented researches on challenges encountered by women in business, 2008-2009. The research paper is titled “Researches and Consultative Forums Findings on Challenges Women Face in Business” by Nigest Haile and Yared Fekade published on December 2009.   The research findings are compiled in a booklet and disseminated to all the concerned stakeholders, including policy makers, policy executing organizations and research centers and universities, serving as reference materials. The soft copy of the document is also posted on CAWEE’s website: www.cawee-ethiopia.org. The Study Focused On The Following Five Focus Areas:  
  • Challenges Facing Small and Medium Enterprises Owned by Women Entrepreneurs in Selection and Acquisition of Commercial and Industrial Premise
  • Women Entrepreneurs Associations in Ethiopia: Opportunities and Challenges
  • Challenges in Financing Women’s Businesses
  • Barriers Faced by Women Entrepreneurs in Developing Products and Establishing Services for Export Marketing and
  • The Perspective of Women Business Owners in Trade in Services.
CAWEE was able to secure grant funding from the following two EU institutions in the years between 2010 to 2012, where major activities of those fundings focused mainly in complementing the initiatives of the ITC ACCESS! Program.

In this funding CAWEE worked with partners of two other countries: Tanzania – Small Enterprises Development Organization (SIDO) and Uganda – Uganda Women Entrepreneurs Association Limited (UWEAL). The Major Tasks Accomplished In This Project Included:
  • Capacity building of women exporters (existing, potential or emerging exporters) through the provision of trainings in international trade and business counseling services
  • Exporting companies took part at different international trade shows
  • Trade missions were organized into different countries, in Africa and Europe, for exposure visits and experience sharing
  • Award event was organized for women exporters with outstanding export performance, where this happened at the Ethiopian Presidential Palace, the President of Ethiopia awarding six companies at the time Ethiopia was celebrating its millennium, the award named after it “Millennium Award of Women Entrepreneurs of Ethiopia”
  • TThis project’s accomplishment was evaluated by an external consultant, which proved the excellent accomplishment of the project.
In this EU Pro-invest Program, over 150 companies, women owned and managed SMEs and associations of women entrepreneurs benefited.

This was a grant fund secured from the Center for Development of Enterprises (CDE) to complement the initiatives of the ITC ACCESS! Program, 2011-2012. The Major Tasks Accomplished In This Project Included:
  • Capacity building of women exporters (existing, potential or emerging exporters) through the provision of trainings in international trade and business counseling services,
  • Exporting companies took part at different international trade shows,
  • Trade mission was organized with in Africa, for exposure visit and experience sharing.
In this EU CDE Program, over 90 companies, women owned and managed SMEs, and associations of women entrepreneurs benefited.

With financial support secured from USAID/COMPETE (Competiveness and Trade Expansion Program), 2012-2013, CAWEE was able to successfully accomplish a project “Connecting 100 Traditional Weavers to the Export Market”


Major Tasks Accomplished In This Project


  • Provided marketable technical skills training in hand weaving to the traditional hand – weavers, out of which 32 were young women. Most of the trainees are employed in exporting companies and some of them are working in groups receiving continuous product orders from exporting companies
  • This project was a breakthrough for CAWEE in building its capacity to plan for a huge project of empowering fifteen hundred women and young girls.