The UNCTAD EMPRETEC programme has launched the First Women in Business Award. The Award will be granted to women-owned businesses that have benefited from the business development services of the EMPRETEC programme - a pioneering UN vehicle for the promotion of entrepreneurship that operates in 27 developing countries.
The participating women entrepreneurs own highly productive and innovative businesses in diverse industries, including small handicrafts, industrial food processing, garments and hotel or web portal ownership. They are also role models for other women, spearheading a process of cultural change in their communities. In short, women entrepreneurs in developing countries are overcoming the traditional obstacles that small businesses usually encounter.
The finalists will be evaluated according to selected criteria by a panel of experts in the fields of entrepreneurship and private sector development. The winner and the second and third-place runners-up will be invited to the Award Ceremony to be held on Monday, 21 April 2008 in Accra, Ghana on the occasion of the Twelfth Ministerial Conference of UNCTAD.
When casting their vote, the panellists will take into consideration country-specific circumstances that may have an impact on the respective businesses, such as access to finance and technology, infrastructure and market size. The selection criteria include:
Innovation: Has the candidate demonstrated a proven (for existing business) or potential ability (for start-ups) to create, grow and develop innovative processes, products or services that substantially improve the commercial performance or prospects of the company? Does the business show uniqueness setting it apart from the rest of the pack (strong brand, service, customer care, community development and innovative products)?
Entrepreneurial Talent: Has the candidate demonstrated exceptional vision and leadership in establishing and developing an owner-led business? Has the candidate successfully overcome obstacles and business challenges?
Outcomes and Achievements: Is the business commercially and technically viable? Can it compete on non-price factors (e.g. quality, service, functionality)?
UNCTAD gratefully acknowledges the technical support provided by Genilem, the International Entrepreneurship Academy and the Africa Technology Development Forum (ATDF).