Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator Partners with the WE Empower UN SDG Challenge to Maximize the Development Impact of Women Entrepreneurs
The WE Empower Challenge, a Programme co-led by Vital Voices & the Global Futures Laboratory at Arizona State University, is a First-of-its-Kind Competition for Women Social Entrepreneurs
The Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator (WEA), a strategic multi-partnership convening five United Nations agencies and Mary Kay, Inc., in support of last week Global Entrepreneurship Week and Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, announced a partnership with WE Empower UN SDG challenge, a first-of-its-kind competition for women social entrepreneurs across the world.
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WEA is designed to maximize the development impact of women entrepreneurship in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by creating an enabling ecosystem for women entrepreneurs that fosters growth, sustainability, and resilience. UN Partners of WEA include International Labour Organization (ILO), International Trade Centre (ITC), UN Global Compact (UNGC), UN Development Programme (UNDP), and UN Women.
The WE Empower UN SDG Challenge is a global business competition for women entrepreneurs who are advancing the UN Sustainable Development Goals and inspiring entire communities to act to create the world they want by 2030. The WE Empower UN SDG Challenge honors women entrepreneurs who are advancing the SDGs through their business practices. The opportunity recognizes their innovative work, ignites awareness about the valuable contribution women entrepreneurs can make toward the SDGs, and provides awardees with capacity-building training sessions and connections with business experts around the world.
The programme elevates and showcases the valuable contributions women entrepreneurs and business leaders can make toward the SDGs and solving the world’s greatest challenges. WE Empower is co-led by Vital Voices and Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory at ASU and supported by partners at Bank of Montréal (BMO), Diane von Furstenberg, the G5 Collective, GroYourBiz, Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, Mary Kay, Inc., Oxford University Said Business School, Procter & Gamble, Salesforce, UN Foundation, and the World Bank.
“The WE Empower SDG Challenge powerfully showcases women entrepreneurs as ideal role models demonstrating positive business, social and environmental performance,” said Deborah Gibbins, Chief Operating Officer at Mary Kay, Inc. “The Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator is honored to partner with WE Empower, a consortium of over 70 partners joining forces for an even greater multiplied impact.”
“We are thrilled to celebrate our partnership with the Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator, co-founded by WE Empower lead partner Mary Kay, Inc.,” said WE Empower UN SDG Challenge co-chair & ASU Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory’s Amanda Ellis. “Women entrepreneurs are valuable solutionaries for the UN SDGs and the global 2030 agenda, and WEA unlocks a suite of valuable support tools to help amplify positive impact.”
Globally, women already comprise one-third of all business owners, making critical economic and social contributions, despite the systemic barriers they face. Only five percent of countries legislate for full gender equality, making the support tools provided by the Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator even more important. In June 2021, WEA joined the Generation Equality Forum in Paris as well as the Action Coalition on Economic Justice and Rights, and committed to empower five million women entrepreneurs around the world by 2030 to accelerate progress for gender equality.
During UN General Assembly (UNGA 76), WEA announced the launch of a series of impactful initiatives and knowledge products - all shaped through a gender lens. WEA’s impact work includes digital capacity building tools and training, entrepreneurship and policy research, and gender-responsive procurement (GRP) advocacy and training. In October, WEA also announced a milestone partnership with the Commonwealth Businesswomen’s Network (CBWN) aiming at advancing women entrepreneurship in 54 countries of the Commonwealth.