Student Women Economic Empowerment Programme (SWEEP)

The Student Women Economic Empowerment Programme (SWEEP) serves a special purpose aimed at equipping student women for entrepreneurial activity in the context of gender-based violence and the under-representation of student women in entrepreneurship.

SWEEP and British Council Collaboration

In a dynamic collaboration between the British Council and the Entrepreneurship Development in Higher Education (EDHE) Programme, a transformative initiative known as the Student Women Economic Empowerment Programme (SWEEP) has been born. With roots stretching back to 2018, this partnership has been committed to fostering entrepreneurship in South Africa’s higher education sector. Now, as we stride into 2024, our resolve is stronger than ever, driven by a shared vision of empowering women entrepreneurs and combating gender inequality.
Since its inception, the British Council and USAf have worked tirelessly to address the pressing issue of graduate unemployment while nurturing a culture of entrepreneurship within universities. Recognizing the vital role women play in shaping economies and societies, the EDHE-SWEEP programme emerged as a beacon of hope, aligned with international strategies for empowering women and girls.

The SWEEP programme is not just a project; it’s a movement aimed at catalysing change. Our objectives are clear:

  • Raise awareness of entrepreneurship among female students and graduates.
  • Foster a culture of entrepreneurship that creates businesses with positive societal impacts.
  • Connect women with mentors from the UK and South Africa to guide them on their entrepreneurial journey.

At the heart of the SWEEP programme lies a commitment to empower women through education, mentorship, and opportunity. Through workshops, knowledge exchanges, and online resources, we aim to equip women with the skills and knowledge they need to thrive in the entrepreneurial landscape. Our vision extends beyond short-term outcomes; we envision a future where women are not just participants but leaders in entrepreneurship, driving economic growth and social change.

As we embark on this journey together, let us remember that the empowerment of women is not just a goal; it’s a responsibility we all share. Together, let’s pave the way for a brighter, more inclusive future.

Join us as we empower women entrepreneurs through the SWEEP programme. Together, we can build a world where every woman has the opportunity to succeed.

Unlocking Opportunities: The UK Residential Programme

In an era of global connectivity, the British Council continues to spearhead initiatives that bridge cultural divides and foster international collaboration. As we look towards the future, the UK Residential Programme stands as a testament to our commitment to empowering students through transformative experiences.

The UK Residential Programme, brought to you by the British Council, is a unique opportunity for students and coordinators from South African universities to embark on a journey of learning and discovery in the heart of London. This exciting initiative aims to provide participants with invaluable insights into entrepreneurship, innovation, and cross-cultural exchange.

The decision to host workshops in London, UK, stems from our belief in the power of international exposure to broaden perspectives and cultivate new ideas. By immersing participants in the vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem of London, we aim to:

  • Expose students to global best practices in entrepreneurship and innovation.
  • Facilitate networking opportunities with industry experts and thought leaders.
  • Foster cross-cultural exchange and collaboration among students from diverse backgrounds.
  • Provide a platform for participants to showcase their ideas and projects on an international stage.
The UK Residential Programme will see 20 students, accompanied by their coordinators, embark on a week-long journey of discovery from 25th April to 1st May. During their time in London, participants will engage in a series of workshops, site visits, and networking events designed to inspire and empower.
This initiative represents more than just a trip abroad; it’s an opportunity to build bridges between nations, cultivate lifelong friendships, and ignite a passion for entrepreneurship and innovation. We look forward to welcoming participants to London and witnessing the transformative impact of this experience.

Join us as we embark on this exciting journey together. Together, let’s unlock new opportunities and build a brighter future for generations to come.

SWEEP Information Session – 20 March 2024

Download the EDHE SWEEP Information Session Presentation here:

  • Date: 20 March 2024

  • Target Audience: SWEEP Members

  • Format of the workshop: Online

  • Theme: Empowering Student Women through SWEEP: A Path to Economic Participation


We are thrilled to announce an upcoming information session scheduled to take place on the 20th of March. This session serves as an opportunity for us to come together and delve deeper into the transformative initiatives of the Student Women Economic Empowerment Programme (SWEEP). As we embark on the journey of 2024, let us reaffirm our commitment to empowering women entrepreneurs and driving positive change within our communities.

Reiterating SWEEP Objectives

At the heart of SWEEP lies a steadfast commitment to empowering women through entrepreneurship. During the information session, we will reiterate our core objectives, including:

  • Raising awareness of entrepreneurship among female students and graduates.
  • Promoting gender equity in entrepreneurship and fostering businesses with positive societal impacts.
  • Providing mentorship and support to women entrepreneurs, connecting them with valuable resources and opportunities.

Membership and Student Chapters

We will also discuss the benefits of SWEEP membership and the opportunity to establish student chapters within your university. Membership in SWEEP opens doors to a wealth of resources, networking opportunities, and support systems designed to nurture your entrepreneurial journey. By establishing a student chapter, you can play a pivotal role in driving change within your university community and beyond.

Benefits of SWEEP Membership

During the information session, we will highlight the myriad benefits of SWEEP membership, including:

  • Access to workshops, seminars, and networking events focused on entrepreneurship and leadership development.
  • Mentorship opportunities with experienced entrepreneurs and industry professionals.
  • Funding and resources to support the development of entrepreneurial ventures.
  • Recognition and support for initiatives that promote gender equity and social impact.

Establishing Your University Student Chapter

Interested in establishing a SWEEP student chapter at your university? Our information session will provide valuable insights and guidance on how to get started. From defining your chapter’s mission and goals to mobilizing support within your university community, we will equip you with the tools and resources needed to launch a successful chapter.

Project’s timeline

Upcoming Events for SWEEP 2024

As we look ahead to the year ahead, we are thrilled to announce a lineup of exciting events and initiatives:

  • The SWEEP Annual 3-Day Workshop: Join us from July 24th to 26th for a transformative event focused on empowering student women through entrepreneurship. This year’s theme, “A Path to Economic Participation,” promises engaging discussions, interactive sessions, and networking opportunities.
  • Information Session: Mark your calendars for March 20th as we host an information session highlighting the benefits of SWEEP membership, establishing student chapters, and upcoming events for the year.
  • UK Residential Programme: Experience international collaboration and cross-cultural exchange with our UK Residential Programme, offering students the opportunity to engage with entrepreneurship experts and industry leaders in London from 25 April – 1 May.

Contact Details

Upcoming Events for SWEEP 2024

Finally, we will provide a sneak peek into the exciting events and initiatives planned for SWEEP in 2024. From workshops and seminars to networking opportunities and competitions, there are countless ways to get involved and make a difference. Join us as we chart a course for an empowering and impactful year ahead.

As we prepare to gather for the upcoming information session, let us embrace the spirit of empowerment and collaboration that defines SWEEP. Together, we can break down barriers, unleash potential, and create a future where every woman has the opportunity to thrive as an entrepreneur and leader. We look forward to seeing you on the 20th of March as we embark on this inspiring journey together.

Upcoming SWEEP Annual 3-day Workshop 2024

We are thrilled to announce the return of our highly anticipated annual 3-day workshop, set to take place from July 24th to 26th, under the theme: “Empowering Student Women through SWEEP: A Path to Economic Participation”. Following the resounding success of our previous workshop-themed “A Vehicle for Social Justice” in 2023, we are excited to embark on another exhilarating journey towards empowerment and economic activation.

Theme: Empowering Student Women through SWEEP: A Path to Economic Participation

Building upon the momentum of our past endeavours, this year’s workshop will delve deeper into the transformative power of entrepreneurship in empowering student women. Our theme reflects our commitment to providing a pathway for women to not only enter but thrive in the economic landscape, thereby fostering greater social justice and equality.

Exciting Updates

As we prepare for this year’s workshop, we are eager to introduce new elements aimed at making the experience even more interactive, informative, and exhilarating. From dynamic panel discussions and hands-on workshops to inspiring keynote addresses and networking opportunities, we provide a platform that ignites passion and drives meaningful change.

Journey Towards Economic Activation

For three days, participants will embark on a journey of self-discovery, empowerment, and skill-building as they navigate the entrepreneurial landscape. Through engaging activities and insightful sessions, we aim to equip participants with the knowledge, tools, and confidence needed to pursue their entrepreneurial aspirations and become active contributors to society’s economic fabric.

Join Us

We invite all aspiring and established women entrepreneurs, mentors, educators, and advocates to join us for this transformative event. Together, let us harness the power of entrepreneurship to create a future where every woman can thrive and succeed.

Save the Date

Mark your calendars for July 24th to 26th, as we come together for three days of empowerment, enlightenment, and celebration. Stay tuned for further updates and registration details. Together, let’s embark on a journey towards economic participation and societal impact through SWEEP.

As we look forward to another exciting year of SWEEP, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to all our supporters, partners, and participants who continue to champion our mission of empowering women entrepreneurs. Together, let’s make 2024 a year of empowerment, growth, and transformation. We can’t wait to see you at the workshop!

Reflecting on the Success of the SWEEP Chapter Executives Workshop: A Vehicle for Social Justice

The SWEEP Chapter Executives Workshop, a dynamic 3-day event aimed at empowering young women in higher education, has left a lasting impression on all who attended. Held recently, the workshop garnered widespread acclaim for its engaging discussions, interactive group sessions, and expert speakers.

Attended by an impressive 55 delegates from 8 universities, including Nelson Mandela University, Walter Sisulu University, University of Venda, Sol Plaatje University, University of Kwa-Zulu Natal, University of Limpopo, University of Mpumalanga, and Mangosuthu University of Technology, the workshop served as a beacon of empowerment and inspiration.

  • Day 1 of the workshop focused on laying the foundation for understanding the essence of SWEEP and its potential for driving social change. Participants engaged in thought-provoking discussions and gained valuable insights into the role they can play in creating a more equitable society.
  • Day 2 was dedicated to the practicalities of establishing SWEEP chapters, with a particular emphasis on defining mission, values, and strategies for resource mobilization. Participants left feeling empowered and equipped with the tools they need to make a tangible impact within their university communities.
  • Day 3 rounded out the workshop by focusing on leadership development, with sessions designed to cultivate servant leadership qualities and enhance communication skills. Participants embraced the opportunity to hone their leadership abilities and left feeling inspired to lead with purpose and conviction.

This was an exciting month as we saw 3 more universitiesofficially launch their own SWEEP chapters, further expanding the reach and impact of this empowering program.

In summary, the SWEEP Chapter Executives Workshop was a resounding success, instilling resilience, self-sustainability, and leadership values in all who participated. As we look to the future, SWEEP continues to be a driving force for social impact, empowering confident young women to be change-makers within their communities and beyond.

The SWEEP Constitution

To the SWEEP Community,

We are pleased to introduce the SWEEP Constitution Draft, a foundational document designed to guide each SWEEP Chapter in creating a constitution tailored to your specific university’s society processes and procedures.

The SWEEP Constitution Draft serves as a flexible framework, offering guidelines and principles that chapters can adapt to their unique needs. It is not a one-size-fits-all document; rather, it is a resource intended to assist you in crafting a constitution that aligns with your university’s culture, regulations, and the specific goals of your SWEEP Chapter.

This draft document outlines the essential elements to consider when creating your chapter’s constitution. It covers areas such as the chapter’s mission, objectives, leadership structure, membership requirements, and decision-making processes. It is our hope that by providing this framework, we can streamline the process of constitution drafting and help you focus on the core mission of empowering female students within your university.

Remember that the SWEEP Constitution Draft is a starting point and a source of inspiration. Feel free to adapt, modify, and expand upon the content to ensure that it best suits your chapter’s unique needs and aspirations. We encourage you to engage with your chapter members, incorporate their ideas, and create a constitution that empowers you to realize your shared vision of promoting women’s economic empowerment.

Thank you for your commitment to the SWEEP program, and we look forward to seeing the incredible impact your unique SWEEP Chapter will make on your campus and in the lives of female students.

Friends of SWEEP


Dr Christina Bonnet

Dr Christa Bonnet

Founder and Senior Managing Partner
The Difference Makers

Dr Christina Bonnet

Elona Hlatshwayo

Legacy Strategist

Dr Christina Bonnet

Kgaladi Thema Sethoga

Indiza Foods

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Lize Moldenhauer

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Omni HR Consulting

Dr Christina Bonnet

Marieke Hinrichs

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Expert and Impact Investor

Kamvalethu Consulting

Dr Christina Bonnet

Ms Mbali Bhengu

Chief Executive Officer
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Ms Chimene Chetty

Ms Chimene Chetty

Entrepreneurship Development in Higher Education

Dr Christina Bonnet

Zazi Makapela

RareRabbit Consulting