Leading Pan African entrepreneurship and innovation non-profit, the Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF), has announced the top finalists in its annual awards to celebrate women leaders and entrepreneurs in Africa.
“Women-owned businesses are a vital part of our African economy and the women of Africa are our most valuable, untapped resource,” commented Irene Ochem, AWIEF Founder and Chief Executive Officer. “Each year the entries to the AWIEF Awards grow in number and this response signifies the importance of recognising and celebrating women in Africa for their achievements and contribution to Africa’s economic and sustainable development.
“Women-owned businesses are growing on the continent and are a vital part of Africa’s future and contributing to the fact that seven out of 10 of the fastest growing economies in the world, are to be found in Africa. Africa is rising and we must make sure the women of the continent, the backbone of our communities and our families, are given the opportunities to rise as well,” said Ochem.
22 women founders and entrepreneurs have been selected as finalists, from different African countries, across 8 different categories. The AWIEF Awards Panel of Judges is made up of high-calibre industry experts and thought leaders spread across the continent.
Birgitta Cederstrom, Frost & Sullivan's Business Development Director for MEA and this year's Head Judge for AWIEF Awards said: "This year's AWIEF Awards programme has offered a host of equally inspirational and terrific female entrepreneurs and innovators, driving growth for Africa”.
"The judging panel has had some very busy weeks where we reviewed over 200 shortlists for consideration and we are delighted to see the high standard and quality of entries coming through to AWIEF. This is one of the most robust and independent jury based Awards programmes that currently is offered in Africa, and we are thrilled to support female entrepreneurs with a worthy recognition as well as good PR and Media exposure,” commented Cederstrom. "We are hoping that investors are signing up for the upcoming Award Programme Subscription that will be launched in 2020 to help identify the best female start-ups in Africa across key industries such as Agri, Tech, FinTech, Chemicals and Healthcare,” said Cederstrom.
The AWIEF Awards winners will be announced at a gala dinner on 30 October, following on from the #AWIEF2019 Conference and Exhibition taking place on 29-30 October at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, Cape Town. The theme this year is: ‘Enhancing impact: digitalisation, investment and intra-Africa trade’.
“AWIEF remains Africa’s number one voice in driving the agenda for women’s leadership in business. The AWIEF brand has grown tremendously over these few years through the sustained support of our trusted partners, local and international, underscoring the great values of AWIEF programmes and projects in accelerating women entrepreneurship as a catalyst of inclusive economic growth,” Ochem added.
“Our finalists were rigorously assessed in terms of the sustainability of their businesses, as well as the documented or prospective impact on community development and the economy,” explained Ochem.
This year a new award has been introduced in partnership with APO Group, the leading media relations consultancy and press release distribution service in Africa and the Middle East, which is also principal media partner and official newswire to the AWIEF Conference this year. In honour of the partnership, APO Group is the founding sponsor of a new award: the African Women in Media Award, to honour and celebrate women journalists who support women’s entrepreneurship across the continent.
“Given the huge number and quality of the nominations received this year for the AWIEF Awards, I must say that female entrepreneurship is strong and thriving all across African countries,” Ochem emphasised, when announcing the finalists.
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The finalists for the 2019 AWIEF Awards are:
YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR AWARD
Beatrice Haule, AfriAgric Products (Tanzania)
Lola Alli, Lagos Executive Cardiovascular Clinic (Nigeria)
Ola (Orekunrin) Brown, Flying Doctors (Nigeria)
SOCIAL ENTREPRENEUR AWARD
Sizani Ngubane, Rural Women’s Movement (South Africa)
Efua Asibon, Dislabelled (Ghana)
Laurence Esteve, Zip Zap (South Africa)
Mary Inzofu, Njia Empowerment Organisation (Kenya)
Nambula Kachumi, WeCreate (Zambia)
Charlot Magayi, Mukuru Clean Stoves (Kenya)
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Kristine Pearson, Lifeline Energy (South Africa)
Oumou Sangaré, Festival International du Wassulu (Mali)
Joke Silva, LUFODO Group (Nigeria)
TECH ENTREPRENEUR AWARD
Caroline Corbett, SmartBlade (South Africa)
Rebecca Enonchong, AppsTech (Cameroon)
Diane Temogne, Engineering Consulting and Services (Cameroon)
AGRI ENTREPRENEUR AWARD
Evelyn Namara, Vouch Digital (Uganda)
Caroline Pomeyie, ProFish (Ghana)
Affiong Williams, ReelFruit (Nigeria)
CREATIVE INDUSTRY AWARD
Kapasa Musonda, Mangishi Doll Co. (Zambia)
Genet Kebede, Paradise Fashion (Ethiopia)
Abby Ikomi, House of Irawo (Nigeria)
GLOBAL BRAND AWARD
Shantelle Booysen, Elim Spa Products (South Africa)