Empretec WBA Ceremony 2020

Session Type
10 December 2020
14:00 - 15:30 Europe/Zurich

The 7th edition of the Empretec Women in Business Awards will be held virtually to recognize the contributions of inspiring women entrepreneurs trained by the Empretec programme and to celebrate their success. As UNCTAD actively contributes to raising awareness on social and environmental pillars of the 2030 Agenda and promoting inclusive and sustainable businesses to attain the Sustainable Development Goals, UNCTAD also introduced three special categories to highlight the contributions of women entrepreneurs in (i) circular economy, (ii) sustainable agriculture and (iii) inclusive business in addition to the overall WBA 1st prize winner.

Key Messages
COVID-19 pandemic has had strong negative impact on women entrepreneurs given their overrepresentation in sectors particularly affected by lockdowns, i.e. retail trade, hotels and restaurants and education, and by existing structural inequalities including limited access to finance, technology, markets, networks and social protection and informality. The increased care burden during the lockdown was a major impediment on women entrepreneurs unlike their male peers. As such. firms managed by women were 27% more likely to file for insolvency or bankruptcy during the peak of the pandemic. The theme of this 7th edition is “Resilience” with an aim to recognize the contributions of women entrepreneurs in all three pillars of SDGs with their inclusive business models and operations in circular economy and sustainable agriculture.

Key Statistics
In 2010-2019, on average 68% of firms across the world did not have any women in ownership while only 16% of firms on average were owned by women. There are significant economic and social costs associated with women’s underrepresentation in business including lower economic growth and fewer decent employment. Losses of income from women’s inactivity can reach up to 30% of gross domestic production in countries with high gender inequalities.

[1] UNCTAD estimates based on follow-up Enterprise Surveys collected by World Bank in 2020 across 11 countries.


Special prize

  • Entrepreneurship in Circular Economy
  • Entrepreneurship in Sustainable Agriculture
  • Women Entrepreneurs Empowering Women through Inclusive Business


The 2020 finalists (click on the name to watch the video)



Head of Enterprise Branch, UNCTAD
Deputy Secretary-General of UNCTAD
Bisila Bokoko Embassy International
Founder, One Creation Cooperative
Chief Institutional Relations Officer, Lavazza
Executive Director, iBAN/GIZ
Director, Division on Investment and Enterprise, UNCTAD
Empretec WBA Winner 2010
Entrepreneurs’ Organization
Grenoble Ecole de Management