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The Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women Entrepreneurship and Leadership Program Celebrates the Graduation of its Seventh Cohort

The Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women Entrepreneurship and Leadership Program (WEL) is a five-year investment by Goldman Sachs and aims to provide 10,000 underserved women around the world with business and management education. The program, which is in partnership with the Wharton School of Business of the University of Pennsylvania, has graduated a total of 235 entrepreneurs since its inception in 2008.

In addition to classroom training, the program also provides post-graduation business advising, mentoring, and networking services to entrepreneurs . Qualified graduates are provided with access to finance through the Social Fund for Development and are equipped with hands-on training for developing their own business plants to help facilitate business growth. The program’s curriculum incorporates a wide range of entrepreneurial subjects delivered by world-renowned AUC and international faculty instructors, as well as industry experts.

Classroom experiences involve discussions about the challenges and opportunities women entrepreneurs face in the developing their business. Workshops, field visits, and networking events also provide women with practical business information that complements what they learn in the classroom. 

The Spring 2011 cohort consisted of 34 entrepreneurs, owners of small and medium enterprises, who hailed from rural and urban hometowns across Egypt. The program culminated with an entrepreneurial graduation fair, during which the scholars presented their products or services and business ideas to stakeholder groups within the community. The scholars also celebrated with a closing session and a graduation ceremony, during which they were awarded certificates of completion for successful completion of the educational experience. This was followed by a reception, a group photograph, and a celebration.

Since the program was launched at AUC, graduates consistently report improvement for their lives and the lives of their families. “I really never imagined that learning could make such a huge difference to my work. I learned how to restructure my business to be a successful sustainable one”, said Shaymaa El Malt, WEL graduate owner of Fresh Food business in Ismailia. “I was really impressed when I found out how much the program is keen to empower women and teach them how to be successful business leaders,” said Wafaa Ragab, owner of Magic Sport in Port-Said.

Maha ElShinnawy, WEL program director at AUC and professor in the Department of Management, said that “the program remains committed to enhancing the personal and professional lives of women entrepreneurs across Egypt and the Middle East region by providing them with the tools and knowledge to manage their business, as well as mentoring and networking opportunities – especially in an era where Egyptians are working to positively transform Egypt and the region.”