Women in Business Challenge 2013: Empowering Women Entrepreneurs to Drive Growth.

Amsterdam, December 17 2012 – The Women in Business Challenge 2013, the fourth edition of the online competition that assists women entrepreneurs from Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America, is now open to applications. The competition – organized by BiD Network, in partnership with ING and ICCO – aims to help aspiring women starting and growing their business.

Women entrepreneurs face significant structural and cultural barriers when starting and growing a business. This business plan competition aims to address the problems of underinvestment and increase the number of opportunities for female entrepreneurs in emerging markets. Empowering women entrepreneurs through coaching services, tools and investor connections to progress their business to the next level, is the main focus of The Women in Business Challenge.

The program engages emerging market entrepreneurs by; helping them write their business plan with continual review, access to the BiD Network coaching program, and interaction with a network of over 40,000 like-minded entrepreneurs, coaches and investors. The finalists of the competition will also win a business trip for training, B2B and investor meetings. Kiki Kamanu, one of the 2012 finalists, stated; ‘Thanks to BiD Network, I learnt in one week of training and meetings, more than I would have done in 6 months at business school.”

The winner is awarded tailor-made advisory services worth €5,000 from UnitedSucces, the worldwide network for women business owners. In addition all high quality business plans that are submitted will be eligible for BiD Network’s investor matchmaking services.

The winner of Women in Business Challenge 2012 Ella Peinovich, of the mobile e-commerce platform SasaAfrica, found the opportunity to take part in an international competition and meet high-end-investors extremely useful especially when considering the obstacles she had to overcome; ‘One big hurdle is getting funding. Consider developing the necessary technology and doing market research. Women also have many prejudices to overcome to set up a woman owned and run company. To succeed you really need more than a financial goal, you must have a deeper motive. For me, the economic empowerment of women in Kenya was that incentive.’

Since its creation in 2009, the Women in Business Challenge has provided support, coaching, visibility and finance to 600 women heading business in emerging countries. 15 finalists have been supported and coached, 4 of whom have been awarded as laureates.

The competition is open to women entrepreneurs of emerging countries who have created a business, which fulfills the eligibility and evaluation criteria. To learn more about the competition and to apply visit:www.bidnetwork.org/women

The deadline to apply for coaching services is January 31, 2013. Final deadline for complete business plans is April 30, 2013.