unctad.org | EMPRETEC Women in Business Award winner from Panama pushes on to new heights
EMPRETEC Women in Business Award winner from Panama pushes on to new heights
15 août 2012
Melissa De León, founder of Panama Gourmet,a company which produces gluten-free foods, was the winner of the 2012 EMPRETEC Women in Business Award presented at the UNCTAD XIII Conference in Doha, Qatar in April this year. Since then, she has become a celebrity in her own country and a much sought-after participant at international events elsewhere.

Melissa De León
 Melissa De León, winner the EMPRETEC Women in Business Award 2012
After winning the award, Melissa has featured extensively in local media and continues to actively support UNCTAD's EMPRETEC programme in Panama.


She was featured at the launch in May of the New Entrepreneurship Center of the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (AMPYME), which was attended by the President of Panama, H.E. Mr. Ricardo Alberto Martinelli, and the Minister of AMPYME, H.E. Ms. Giselle Burillo Saiz. UNCTAD was represented by Ms. Fiorina Mugione, Chief of the Entrepreneurship Section.

Melissa is now a regular on a popular television cooking show which is broadcast across Latin America and features female chefs from across the region, focusing on traditional and innovative desserts.

The show is called "La Pasteleria" (The bakery) and a video of Melissa on the show is available on YouTube.

    President Martinelli and Minister Burillo at launch of New Entrepreneurship Center
This week, from 13-17th of August, Melissa is taking part in a study tour and intensive course "All about Baking" at the American Institute of Baking in Manhattan, Kansas.


​This study tour, which was Melissa's choice, was offered by UNCTAD as part of her prize for winning the EMPRETEC Women in Business Award.

The Award honours businesswomen from developing countries who have founded successful firms, created jobs, and become role models in their communities.

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