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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

CEIBS Celebrates African Women Entrepreneurs

- Graduation Ceremony for WELA Programme Participants

June 13, 2017. Shanghai - It is not often that the majority of students in a business school programme are women, yet today CEIBS celebrated the graduation of an entire cohort of women. The 37 women from Ghana and Nigeria concluded their six-month study journey in the Women Entrepreneurship & Leadership for Africa Programme (WELA) with a ceremony at CEIBS Shanghai Campus that was attended by School leaders, distinguished guests, and even some family members who had come all the way from Africa to join the graduation.

In his address at the ceremony, CEIBS President Prof. Li Mingjun told the graduates that as they begin a new phase in their journey as entrepreneurs, they should remember that not only do women hold up half the sky, “they should design and create their half and make sure it is geared for all the challenges ahead”.

Noting that in many African countries it is still not easy for women to start a business, H.E. Amb. Ali Ocheni, Consul General of the Federal Republic of Nigeria said in his address that he welcomed the CEIBS initiative to create a programme especially for women. He also emphasized the longstanding relations between China and Nigeria and said he hopes the WELA programme will continue to develop and thrive in the future.  As a special honour, he also presented the participants with their programme certificates.

Regarding the ties between China and Africa, Mr. Leslie Maasdorp, Vice President and CFO of the New Development Bank who was born and raised in South Africa, said in his keynote address that it was time to not only think about what Africa can gain from China but also what Africa can give. He encouraged the women to spread their knowledge to help others grow along with them.

The WELA Programme concludes with a week-long China module at the CEIBS Shanghai Campus, which combines classroom lectures with company visits, and also provides a platform for the African women to network with Chinese entrepreneurs. The two WELA class presidents reflected on the value of this module during their graduation addresses.

In his closing remarks Dr. Mathew Tsamenyi, Executive Director of CEIBS Africa, announced plans for the WELA programme to expand to South Africa (Johannesburg) and Morocco (Casablanca) next year.

See here to learn more about this year’s WELA Programme participants.

Claudia Schaefer
Janine Coughlin