The Growing SMEs Conference in The Hague witnessed the culmination for many of the challenges run throughout the year. After a long and arduous competition, the Women in Business Challenge reached its final stage at the conference.
This was the third edition of the Women in Business Challenge, a competition that since 2009 has provided support, coaching, visibility and finance to over 600 women entrepreneurs in emerging markets. This year the jury and sponsors noted a surge in the quality of business plans being submitted, making their task of selecting the finalists alone harder than ever. Selected from almost 300 applicants, the five finalists were chosen on account of their potential for growth and the overall quality of their business plans.
While all five finalists did fantastically getting this far, there could only be one winner. Special congratulations should be awarded to the other four finalists – Kiki Kamanu and her eponymously named fashion label, Kosi Yankey and her company Nuba Foods, Stela Maris da Silva and BioPro, and Lois Gicheru and Solafrique. The winner of this competitive challenge, selected by our panel of expert judges mainly due to the potential societal impact her product could have, was Ella Peinovich and her innovative and empowering e-commerce platform, SasaAfrica. Ella Peinovich received a check for EUR 5,000 as reward for winning the Challenge as well as tailor-made advisory services worth €5,000 from UnitedSucces.
Peinovich went on to state: “Sasa Africa is by and for women. According to some estimates, women represent 70 percent of the poor in the world. But at Sasa Africa we tend to look at their cultural richness, which is huge. That is our strength.”