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Global WE Empower Awardees announced

Global WE Empower Awardees announced

The global business challenge honors women who are advancing the UN Sustainable Development Goals and inspiring entire communities to act to create the world we want by 2030

This year, 6 women entrepreneurs have been selected as awardees for the 2020 we empower United Nations SDG challenge. Each year, women entrepreneurs are selected on the basis that they lead an enterprise committed to advancing one or more of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and leverage their businesses to push for progress in their communities.

The opportunity recognizes entrepreneurs for their ground-breaking work and is a global business challenge led in partnership by Vital Voices Global Partnership and Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory at ASU.  Amanda Ellis, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory at ASU and former UN Ambassador highlighted the breadth of this year's talent. 


The WE Empower UN SDG Challenge aims to invest in the most inspiring and transformational women entrepreneurs – providing access to seed capital, unique trainings, capacity building, a network of their peers, visibility and credibility for their work – and ignite awareness of the valuable contribution women entrepreneurs can make to the SDGs and the world’s greatest challenges. 

The six 2020 WE Empower Awardees are:

Mavis Nduchwa, Founder and CEO of Kalahari Honey (Botswana)

Kalahari Honey are using beekeeping to mitigate human and wildlife conflict, build sustainable communities while addressing six of the SDGs. Botswana is home to the world’s largest Elephant population. 70% of the country is a desert, only 30% is habitable for both human and wildlife. Every year farmers lose their crops and their lives due to elephants. Kalahari Honey uses beehives as living fences around the farms to keep elephants away from the farms.

The beehives create jobs for more than 500 women, contribute to the food security as farmers are able to harvest their crops and not shoot elephants, alongside wildlife conservation and land restoration through plant pollination. The project has also contributed demonstrably to a decline in the numbers of gender based violence cases. 

Alison Price, Founder and Managing Director of SoilCyclers (Australia)

SoilCyclers are environmental and sustainable soil recyclers who have developed extensive techniques to ameliorate and remediate soil sustainably across a matrix of measures. SoilCyclers remediate PFAS, acid sulphate and asbestos contaminated soils, separate waste and mine landfills as well as making geotechnical soil amendments for dam walls and landfill liners. They work on highways & road, land developments, defence projects, infrastructure projects and mining sites.

Their unique approach is setting new standards in the industry - across Australia and around the world, offering practical, working solutions to solve problems responsibly and with a genuine, measureable, scientific environmental impact.

Sarah El Battouty, Founder of ECOnsult (Egypt)

ECOnsult is Egypt’s leader in green building and sustainability, transforming how businesses operate their buildings and efficiency. ECOnsult works with business to reduce energy, water and material waste in existing buildings as well as design green new architecture that achieves certifications.

ECOnsult has now the largest portfolio of environmental and green transition for Egypt’s largest corporations as well as the highest number of Green Buildings awarded by Egyptian architects. ECOnsult is aiming to challenge how the design and construction sector approach climate action and provide design and build services and training that uses local and affordable supply chains while promoting innovation. 

Danielle Sharaf, Founder of Switch (Pakistan)

Switch is a mobile solutions company that develops content rich SMS, IVR and digital solutions for cellphone users in low-literate developing countries. Their mission of Mobile For Change, creates services that has enabled 17 million people make smarter, healthier and progressive life decisions. 

Switch services through Mobile for Change support youth counselling, live counselling, Zoya, career portals, education portals, women's hubs and infotainment. 

Valrie Grant, Founder of GeoTechVision (Jamaica)

GeoTechVision uses Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to deliver sustainable solutions that positively impact communities. The business uses innovative spatial technologies to support smart city solutions while also enabling and developing underserved and underrepresented students with technology tools to bridge the digital divide.

GeoTechVision work with and educate women entrepreneurs, Girls in Technology and Caribbean Governments as to how to use location information to implement solutions that impact the SDGs. GeoTechVision exposes them to STEM through various initiatives such as technology camps, mentorship and girls in ICT and GIS day functions

Bessie Schwarz, Co-Founder of Cloud to Street (USA)

Cloud to Street are the leading flood mapping platform designed to protect the world’s most climate-vulnerable communities. By harnessing global satellites, advanced science, and community intelligence, they monitor worldwide floods in near real-time and remotely analyze local flood exposure.

Their mission is to ensure that all vulnerable governments access the high quality information they need to prepare for and respond to increasing catastrophes. Cloud to Street is or has been used by governments across 15 countries and is on track to enable new flood protection and insurance for 10 million people in the next 5 years.  

Images from the individual businesses

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What truely incredible women doing unbelievable things. They embody the miracle the world needs! Thursday, 6 August 2020