The UNCTAD Empretec Women in Business Awards are given every two years and celebrate exceptional women entrepreneurs who have benefited from the UNCTAD' Empretec training programme. A maximum of three nominations are received from each of the 36 national Empretec centres across the world.
The three final winners will be announced at a gala event in room XX at the Palais des Nations, Geneva, on the evening of 15 October (6.30–7.30 p.m.) during the UNCTAD World Investment Forum 2014, to be followed by a cocktail reception at the Bar Serpent.
The finalists are individuals who have overcome obstacles and persevered to establish and grow successful companies. They come from Africa, Latin America and the Middle East and work in a variety of sectors ranging from education, martial arts and security services.
- Lorena María Eugenia Picasso, Somno, Argentina:
Manufactures innovative educational games to stimulate the development of cognitive, motor, emotional and social abilities as well as therapeutic products which specialize in rehabilitation.
- Lara Cookey, Contextplay Matrix Ltd., Nigeria:
Designs educational toys and recreational tools for early child development, including learning materials, playground equipment and furniture.
- Kelly Dantas de Vasconcelos, Universidad da Crianca, Brazil:
Provides educational services for children, focusing on a teaching methodology which highlights innovation and technology.
Manufacturing and distribution sector:
- Maya Sewnath, SSS Furniture, Mauritius:
Manufactures tailor-made wooden furniture using local raw materials and specializes in the wedding and children’s market.
- Thiane Diagne, Jour J Couture, Senegal:
Creates ready-to-wear luxury clothing lines which combine traditional Senegalese culture with innovative, high-quality designs.
- Tracy Antoinette Green Douglas, Pandama Retreat, Guyana:
Produces a range of fruit wines, fruit soaps and art products using all local resources. It is a place of retreat where the local community and tourists can connect with nature.
- Angelica M. Runsey, Angel Bites Ltd., Zambia:
Manages the packaging and trading of dried foods that are a delicacy in Zambia and focuses on high hygiene and quality standards.
- Divine Ndhlukula, Securico Security Services, Zimbabwe:
A leading supplier of security solutions in Zimbabwe, including electronic security system installation, guarding, cash management and private investigation services.
- Renay van der Berg, Procomm, South Africa:
Specializes in a range of integrated business services to allow enterprises to be sustainable, including brand management.
- Lina Jalil Khalifeh, Shefighter, Jordan:
Established the first defence studio for women and girls in the Middle East and has a mission to generate awareness and decrease violence towards women
In line with the UNCTAD World Investment Forum theme of investing in sustainable development, the following two entrepreneurs have been selected from among the Empretec nominations to receive a special award for their work in social and green entrepreneurship respectively:
- Leena A. Irshaid (Jordan): Established the only pickling factory in Jordan that is founded, owned and managed by women. It brings unemployed female agricultural engineers back into the work force by training and hiring them.
- Pabla Anabela Torres (Argentina): The start-up company researches, develops, produces and markets organic products designed for crop protection and pest control, including a biopesticide.
Empretec, a pioneering programme in the United Nations effort to develop entrepreneurship, teaches behavioural skills to a select group of promising entrepreneurs. The programme started in 1988 in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme. Under the leadership of UNCTAD and its public and private partners and donors, including the Governments of Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain, the Empretec programme has engaged more than 600 local certified trainers to train over 340,000 entrepreneurs in 36 developing countries and economies in transition.
Empretec provides a one-stop-shop for information and business training. By stimulating public–private sector partnerships and developing institutions with forward-looking advisory boards, Empretec plays a major role in connecting entrepreneurs with institutions. Wherever they are implemented, the training workshops create lifelong bonds that are essential to future business growth as they form a critical mass of successful, committed entrepreneurs who become the driving force of the project.