The 50th UNCTAD’s Empretec Women in Business Award (WBA) to elevate global young entrepreneurs in Geneva, Switzerland

New York, NYC — On April 28th, 2014 high-level policy makers from Africa highlighted their experiences supporting young entrepreneurs in an effort to defuse what UNCTAD Secretary-General Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi called an “employment time bomb” in developing countries as their populations grow and get younger.

Coming up is the UNCTAD’s Empretec Women in Business Award Ceremony which is set to take place on October 15th in the Human Rights Council Room XX (3rd Floor from 18:30 – 19:45) in Geneva, Switzerland.

For the fiftieth consecutive year, audiences around the world will have the best seat in the house when they witness the progress that UNCTAD has made over the years and the challenges that lie ahead.

The Finalists are living testimony of the impact that initiatives that support entrepreneurship can have. These include job creation, innovation, increasing the quality of life of the women and their communities and giving them a voice and an outlet to inspire others.

One of the highlights of the commission was, last April, the announcement of the 10 finalists for the UNCTAD’s Empretec Women in Business Award (WBA). The awards have been presented every two years since 2008. This year was particularly competitive, as more than 100 nominations were received.

The 2014 finalists of the 50th UNCTAD’s Empretec Women in Business Award (WBA)

The 2014 finalists (in alphabetical order by country) are:

Lorena Maria Eugenia Picasso, (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.

Kelly Dantas de Vasconcelos, Universidad da Crianca, (Brazil): provides educational services for children, focusing on a teaching methodology which highlights innovation and technology.

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.

Lina Jalil Khalifeh, SheFighter, (Jordan): established the first self-defense studio for women and girls in the Middle East and has a mission to generate awareness and decrease violence towards women.

Maya Sewnath, SSS Furntiure, (Mauritius): manufactures tailor-made wooden furniture using local raw materials and specializes in the wedding and children’s market.

Lara Cookey, Contextplay Matrix Ltd., (Nigeria): designs educational toys and recreational tools for early child development, including learning materials, playground equipment and furniture.

Thiane Diagne, JOUR J Couture, (Senegal): creates prêt-a-porter luxury clothing lines, which combine traditional Senegalese culture with innovative, high-quality designs.

Renay van der Berg, ProComm, (South Africa): specializes in a range of integrated business services, including brand management, to allow enterprises to be sustainable.

Angelica M Rumsey, 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): is a leading supplier of security solutions in Zimbabwe, including electronic security system installation, guarding, cash management and private investigation services.

The final three winners will be announced during UNCTAD’s World Investment Forum which will take place from 13 to 16 October 2014 in Geneva, Switzerland. To mark the theme of this year’s Forum – “Investing in Sustainable Development” – two additional candidates were announced, who will receive a special recognition for their work as social and green entrepreneurs, respectively:


Special Recognition, Social entrepreneurship:

Leena A. Irshaid, Renas Women Association, (Jordan): established the only pickling factory in Jordan that is founded, owned and managed by women. It mobilizes unemployed female agricultural engineers by training and hiring them.


Special Recognition, Green entrepreneurship:

Pabla Anabela Torres, BioPro, (Argentina): start-up company which researches, develops, produces and markets organic products designed for crop protection and pest control, including a bio-pesticide.


Masters of the UNCTAD 2014 Ceremony, Mrs. Bisila Bokoko & Mr. Olivier Dominik.


The Masters of Ceremony of this year’s event are Mr. Olivier Dominik from Radio Suisse Television and, Mrs. Bisila Bokoko, Founder of the “Bisila Bokoko African Literacy Program” and Global Brand Ambassador for international brands such as Agatha Ruiz de la Prada, Pikolinos, Carmencita, Liceu Barcelona Opera House US Foundation etc. who will  be the pannel Moderator on “Integrating Women into Global Value Chains” and will also be the host at the awards ceremony for Empretec in Geneva on the 15th of October 2014.


Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi
UNCTAD Secretary-General Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi

UNCTAD Secretary-General Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi said, “I wish to congratulate all the finalists and hope that UNCTAD’s Empretec Women in Business Awards will highlight both the challenges faced by women in entrepreneurship and the positive multiplier effect that women’s entrepreneurship can have in society.”

The UNCTAD will continue its work strengthening the local capacity in developing countries in transition through entrepreneurship promotion.



To get more details about the event, the finalists and the hosts, please see below:

For UNCTAD’s Empretec Women in Business Award (WBA), please visit

For Mrs. Bisila Bokoko, please visit or email for all press and media related inquiries.



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