Empretec Women in Business Awards 2023

Empretec Women in Business Awards 2023
18 octubre 2023
18:30 - 20:30 hrs.
Abu Dhabi
, United Arab Emirates

The 8th edition of UNCTAD's Women in Business Awards was held on 18 October during the organization's World Investment Forum 2023 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

The awards honoured three women entrepreneurs from Uganda, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia who have not only achieved success but also promoted business models that deliver a positive impact for people and the planet. 

The winners were selected from an initial pool of 88 candidates from 26 countries, which was narrowed down to 18 finalists by an international panel of business leaders, academics and officials from business organizations.



Empretec Award winner: Jovia Kisakye, founder and CEO of Sparkle Agro Brands (Uganda)

Jovia Kisakye, the founder and CEO of Sparkle Agro Brands, won the top Empretec Award for her business that fights malaria while supporting small dairy farmers in her native Uganda.

Named after UNCTAD’s Empretec entrepreneurship programme, the award has been handed out every two years since 2008.

Ms. Kisakye’s business turns spoiled milk into a sustainable mosquito-repellent lotion that doesn’t use harsh chemicals. Since 2019, the company has sold 100,000 lotion units, with one fifth dedicated to refugee areas.

She was selected among 10 finalists for the award.

Empretec Award finalists:

  • Maria Eduarda Franklin da Costa de Paula, CEO and Co-founder, Orby, Brazil
  • Norsavina Kaharudin, CEO of VNI Scientific Sdn Bhd, Malaysia
  • Jovia Kisakye, founder and CEO of Sparkle Agro brands, Uganda
  • Iram Maimuna, CEO of E-waste social, India
  • Dina Abdul Majeed, founder and CEO of 360Moms, Jordan
  • Fatoumata Njie, founder and CEO of Yaxare, The Gambia
  • Marianela Pavicich, co-founder of Robbina Inclusive Design, Argentina
  • Ararat Tamirat, founder of Tuba By Ararat, Ethiopia
  • Selamawit Tomas, owner and CEO of COOL, Ethiopia
  • Laura Villagómez, CEO of DIYCLUB Fashion and Sewing Academy, Ecuador


Technology Award winner: Jessica Anuna, founder and CEO of Klasha (Nigeria)

Jessica Anuna, founder and CEO of Klasha, a digital payments company, won the Technology Award for her business solution to a major e-commerce challenge in Africa: cross-border payments.

The company, based in Lagos, Nigeria and San Francisco, acts as a digital bridge between global businesses and African consumers.

Klasha eliminates the need for companies to handle country-specific payment connections and currency conversions. And it allows Africans to pay in their own currencies using familiar methods, such as M-Pesa for Kenyans and Naira bank cards for Nigerians.

She was selected among eight finalists for the award.

Technology Award finalists:

  • Jessica Anuna, CEO of Klasha, Nigeria
  • Mylene Chua-Magleo, co-founder and CEC of Paynamics, Philippines
  • Amanda Etuk, co-founder of Messenger, Nigeria
  • Afia Fitriati, CEO of Gadjian, Indonesia
  • Nazish Hussain, founder of Secret Stash, Pakistan
  • Anum Kamran, founder of Buyon, Pakistan
  • Nadia Uwamahoro, founder and CEO of Data Systems Ltd, Rwanda
  • Uju Uzo-Ojinnaka, CEO of Traders of Africa, Nigeria


Encouragement Award recipient: Sarah Al Jishi, founder and CER of Sedra (Saudi Arabia)

Sarah Al Jishi from Saudi Arabia won the Encouragement Award for her leadership as the founder and CEO of Sedra.

Her company manufactures ready-to-use microbiological culture media – a source of essential nutrients for the growth of micro-organisms such as bacteria and fungi that are used in industries such as pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and food and beverage.

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