21 August 2018
UN Foundation, Partners Announce Winners of SDG Challenge for Female Entrepreneurs
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The inaugural competition recognized female entrepreneurs from each of the five UN regions for their efforts to advance the SDGs.

The winners are working to deliver clean energy, provide educational opportunities, tackle violence against women, reduce poverty and support smallholder farmers, and produce environmentally sensitive infrastructure.

10 August 2018: The UN Foundation, the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability of Arizona State University (ASU) and Vital Voices announced five winners of the WE Empower UN SDG Challenge, also on behalf of several other partners. The Challenge is a global business competition for female entrepreneurs working to advance the SDGs.

The five female entrepreneurs who won the inaugural WE Empower UN SDG Challenge are:

  • Habiba Ali, Africa: Ali’s Nigerian company, Sosai, delivers renewable energy technology to rural users, helping to improve access to clean, affordable energy (SDG 7), provide clean water (SDG 6) and improve health outcomes (SDG 3).
  • Hadeel Anabtawi, Asia-Pacific: Anabtawi’s Alchemist Lab provides educational programs to over 25,000 children in Amman, Jordan, as well as remote villages and refugee camps (SDG 4).
  • Marijana Savić, Eastern Europe: Savić’s Serbian NGO Atina works to combat all forms of violence against women and to tackle human trafficking (SDGs 5, 8, 16). Atina provides professional education, financing and skills training to support victims in transition.
  • Marta Del Rio, Latin America and the Caribbean: Del Rio started an organic snack company, MAIA, that aims to reduce poverty (SDG 1) and transform Peruvian agriculture (SDG 2), including by providing technical assistance to smallholder farmers and purchasing products from them at fair prices.
  • Shimrit Finkel, Western Europe and Other: Finkel’s Israeli company, ECOncrete, harnesses natural processes to enhance the growth of carbon-absorbing marine life on coastal infrastructure (SDGs 9, 13, 14). The company provides durable, environmentally sensitive concrete.

Winners receive access to a network of peers, capacity building and training. They will attend the 2018 UN Global Goals week, during which they will participate in tailored training and events, including the UN Private Sector Forum event and a pitch event hosted by Diane von Furstenberg that brings together venture capital, business, media and tech leaders to award one grantee a US$20,000 grant to advance their business. [WE Empower Website] [ASU Press Release]

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