According to estimates, women run between a third and a quarter of all enterprises worldwide. For many women in developing countries, their own enterprises are their major source of income.
For their ventures to succeed, it is crucial that these women receive adequate training, encouragement and recognition. Towards this goal, the UNCTAD Empretec Programme
, established in 1988, has to date trained more than 240,000 aspiring entrepreneurs through its network of training centres in 33 developing countries.
UNCTAD created the Empretec Women in Business Award in 2008 as an acknowledgment of the great achievements of women entrepreneurs trained by the Programme. The award, granted every two years, has made a real impact on the lives of past recipients. It has increased their access to education and resources, and boosted their motivation to continue growing their enterprises. It has also helped these women become role models in their communities.
This year, the finalists are women from 10 different countries - Brazil, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Jordan, Nigeria, Panama, Uganda, Viet Nam and Zimbabwe. These women stand out for their innovative business ideas for sustainable development in a wide range of sectors, spanning from handicrafts production and primary education to construction and waste management. The first-, second- and third-place winners will be determined by a distinguished panel of judges.
The award ceremony this year will take place in Doha, Qatar, during UNCTAD XIII
and the World Investment Forum
at the gala dinner that will conclude the Women in Development event
on 23 April 2012 - an event that will provide an opportunity to discuss the crucial role that women can play in building more equitable, inclusive, prosperous and democratic societies.