What is Academy for Women Entrepreneurs?
Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) is a business training, coaching and collaboration platform for women solopreneurs and micro-business owners. We offer accessible, applicable and affordable business training, ensuring all micro-business owners or solopreneurs have the skill set and knowledge to create a successful business that works for them and their lives.
To date, we have used a combination of social media, networking, word of mouth, partners and big sister organisations, as well as interviews like this one, to try to ensure that women entrepreneurs know who we are and can turn to us for support and guidance. With over 1,200 subscribers to our platform, it seems that approach is working well.
To be honest, our vision for the future of AWE is pretty big. I really want AWE to become an international excellence centre for women entrepreneurship. This might be ten years away, but we are doing everything we can to realise that vision.
How did you come up with the idea?
My background is in business strategy and marketing. When I decided to reshuffle my career, I studied coaching in Cambridge and then took the leap into working as a coach after my maternity leave.
The more I coached, the more I noticed an immense gap between the needs of female micro-business owners and solopreneurs and what was available to support them. Much of the content that existed was too theoretical, largely irrelevant, often impractical, and very expensive for these female business owners.
AWE was born with this in mind. I just asked myself, how can I bring a type of business coaching and training that makes sense for this ‘under the radar’ audience? I wanted to offer them something simple, applicable and affordable to help them transform their businesses into a life ally.
How does the platform today compare to that initial idea?
We are doing everything the ‘lean startup way’, so the platform today is at least ten steps away from our dream platform but the basics are covered, operating and proving successful.
We’ve taken a lot of time to create the content on the platform and our subscribers can easily find all the business enablers we have developed.
Additionally, we’ve got really well-utilised community channels that allow for and encourage collaboration among the members. This has proved a really vital and valued tool for many of our members.
As a result of COVID, we could no longer organise in-person events, which were a significant part of what we had planned for Academy for Women Entrepreneurs. Instead, we took everything – including our training and workshop events – online. Whilst we had planned to offer all this online in time to allow for accessibility to as many women entrepreneurs as possible, the pandemic has meant that move has come much sooner than we had planned.