For use of information media - Not an official record

25 April 2010

Her integrated nursery, primary, and secondary school focuses on computers and information technology; women from Chile and Botswana place 2nd and 3rd

Geneva, 26 April 2010 -- Beatrice Ayuru Byaruhanga of Uganda, who founded Lira Integrated School in northern Uganda in 2000, in part because "I got bitter with all the problems around me and especially from my own relatives who never valued girl child education," has won UNCTAD´s 2010 Empretec Women in Business Award.

The announcement came early this evening at a ceremony before UNCTAD´s annual Investment, Enterprise and Development Commission. The 10 finalists for the award are graduates of the UNCTAD-supported Empretec programme, whose centres in 32 countries provide training courses for entrepreneurs.

Ms. Byaruhanga´s school now has 1,500 students, some of whom board at the school, and its integration of nursery, primary, and secondary classes is one of its strengths, she said. She has plans to expand the school to include a university.

She received the award -- a $6,000 study tour offered by the First Lady of the Dominican Republic -- from Luis Piantini Munnigh, Ambassador of the Dominican Republic to the United Nations Office at Geneva. First Lady Margarita Cedeño de Fernández, speaking by video link, congratulated her and the second- and third-place winners and said they "have set an example for women throughout the world."

Accepting the prize, Ms. Byaruhanga told the Investment, Enterprise and Development Commission that she was "grateful, humbled, and also proud. . . to be a woman from a war-ravaged area, struggling to make a difference in the lives of war-ravaged children.

"Men," she went on, "I think will even begin to think that women can out-compete them when it comes to business."

Placing second among the 10 finalists was María de la Luz Osses Klein of Chile, an entrepreneur who established Biotecnologías Antofagasta SA, which creates biotechnology products for the mining industry. She received the prize of a study tour to New York offered by the Spain-US Chamber of Commerce, which was presented by Bisila Bokoko, the Chamber´s Executive Director.

And Joy Simakane of Botswana won the third-place award. Her company, Extramile Express PTY Limited, provides customs-clearing and messenger-delivery services. The prize, consulting services of a value of $US 1,500 offered by the Africa Technology Development Forum (ATDF), was presented by Gerry Elsdon, CEO, Cinnamon Communications, National TB Ambassador, Republic of South Africa, and global TB advocate for the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC).

The winners were chosen by an independent panel of 20 judges, comprising corporate executives, entrepreneurs, academicians and gender specialists.

The first Women in Business Awards were presented in April 2008, in Accra, Ghana, at UNCTAD´s 12th ministerial conference.

"Empretec" is a flagship technical assistance programme of UNCTAD´s aimed at coaching key competences of entrepreneurs and helping them in building and expanding their businesses (www.empretec.net). One of its primary goals is to resolve what economists sometimes call the "missing middle." The world´s poorer nations frequently have large businesses (often connected with the government or with transnational corporations) and very small, informal businesses that are not legally established, do not pay taxes, and do not necessarily abide by laws and safety regulations.

What is missing are standard, legally incorporated medium-sized enterprises and smaller, officially established firms that may grow into midsized firms over time. (Small- and medium-sized enterprises are often called SMEs.) Such firms play a surprisingly vital role in a nation´s economic health. SMEs make up the majority of businesses in industrialized countries, provide the majority of jobs, contribute extensively to manufacturing and exports, and traditionally are breeding grounds for new ideas and products. However, according to the World Bank enterprise surveys, they account for only 40% of employment and 25% of GDP in developing countries.

For reference: http://www.youtube.com/user/UnctadEmpretec

For more information, please contact:
UNCTAD Communications and Information Unit
T: +41 22 917 5828
E: unctadpress@unctad.org
Web: www.unctad.org/press


Please wait....