November was a month in which entrepreneurship was celebrated around the world. The main event of the month was the Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW), a worldwide campaign promoting entrepreneurship and its positive impact on economies around the world, in over 160 countries. This year, as part of the GEW campaign, YBI has partnered with UNCTAD, WIPO, Politecnico di Milano and Impact Hub Geneva and organised a week of entrepreneurship related events for 10 young entrepreneurs selected to participate from across the world.
The highlight of the week was a pitching competition titled “Startups for SDGs” which took place on the 14th of November 2017, at Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. The innovation brought by the competition was the focus on the impact that the businesses are having on the Sustainable Development Goals. The jury looked at how they are contributing to achieving at least one of the goals, ranging from improvements to health or education, eradication of poverty, protecting the environment or bringing equality for people and communities.
The competition brought into spotlight 10 businesses that are already having a great impact on the SDGs. Out of the 10, two entrepreneurs were selected to receive further support for their business - Jennifer Shigoli from Tanzania, founder of Elea Reusable Sanitary Pads, received USD 15,000 equity capital and Filipa Carreira, with her business Wamina, was awarded a grant of USD 5,000. The prizes came from One Creation, a Geneva-based cooperative firm focusing on impact investment. Jennifer attended Empretec, UNCTAD’s entrepreneurship training programme and launched Elea Pads aiming to provide young girls with affordable, environmentally friendly and locally produced sanitary pads. Her business is producing and selling reusable pads. Filipa’s business is working to tackle the same problem in Mozambique. To start Wamina, Filipa received support from Ideialab, YBI member in Mozambique. Filipa’s business is teaching girls and woman how to manage their menstrual hygiene and providing affordable menstrual hygiene products. She is also one of the two winners of YBI’s Young Entrepreneur Awards 2017 competition.
Thanks to Filipa and her company @WaminaMz fewer girls in Mozambique have to miss school simply because they have their period. #GEW2017 #GlobalGoals #SDG5 https://t.co/yZuOHlEOHS pic.twitter.com/QX8AgHhVIj
Thanks to Filipa and her company @WaminaMz fewer girls in Mozambique have to miss school simply because they have their period. #GEW2017 #GlobalGoals #SDG5 https://t.co/yZuOHlEOHS pic.twitter.com/QX8AgHhVIj— UNCTAD, the UN trade & development body (@UNCTAD) November 18, 2017
While the two women entrepreneurs will now have the chance to use the prize to further expand their business in their countries and region, the experience of the week in Geneva has been greatly beneficial for all 10 entrepreneurs, who meet and connected with likeminded people, sector practitioners and impact investors. The group of entrepreneurs continues to collaborate after the event and there is good reason to believe their interactions are proving fruitful for their businesses development. The 10 entrepreneurs who participated in the Startups for SDGs event are: