The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in collaboration with the Women Entrepreneurship Accelerator (WEA) and Mary Kay Global, has launched the 2022 WEA Digital Innovation Challenge with the theme of Building enabling ecosystems for women entrepreneurs.
This challenge supports the commitment of WEA to empower 5 million women entrepreneurs by 2030 and is aligned with the 2023 Commission on the Status of Women (CSW67) Priority theme of “Innovation and technological change, and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.”.
WEA is a multi-partnership initiative on women’s entrepreneurship convening the 6 United Nations agencies (ITU, International Labour Organization (ILO), International Trade Centre (ITC), UN Development Programme (UNDP) , UN Global Compact (UNGC) and UN Women).
More than ever, it is crucial to maximize women’s entrepreneurship impact in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by creating an enabling digital innovation ecosystem for women entrepreneurs worldwide.
Call for Applications
The Challenge will help identify scalable, innovative digital solutions that enable countries, societies, communities, institutions and individuals to develop a more gender-inclusive digital entrepreneurship ecosystem promoting an environment that supports the creation and growth of women-owned and women-led enterprises.
The Challenge objective is to build vibrant and inclusive digital innovation ecosystems that empower women entrepreneurs by supporting existing digital solutions developed by women-owned companies or with a minimum of one female founder or by women acting as micro-entrepreneurs or innovative change makers working towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
> capacity-building training, attending a virtual boot camp to refine further their plans and milestones (e.g. market entry, deployment, impact traction),
> a specialised mentorship scheme,
> access to a network of change-makers,
> a publication of the case in a Best Practice Report,
> and the possibility to attend the sixty-seventh session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW67), New York, USA.
> The 2022 WEA Digital Innovation Challenge will bring resources and expertise from various industries and sectors to support mentoring and capacity development for the selected innovators.
Timeline of Events
> 7 December 2022 – 2022 WEA Digital Innovation Challenge Launch20 January 2023 – End of 2022 WEA Digital Innovation Challenge 2022
27 January 2023 – Shortlisted Candidates Announcement
> 1 February 2023 – Pitch Competition Session and 2022 WEA Digital Innovation Challenge winners announcement
> 7 -10 February 2023 – Bootcamp
> 13 February 2023 – Mentorship Programme starts
> 6 March 2023 – CSW67/ Best Practice Report release
> 28 April 2023 – End of Programme
> The Challenge is open to governments, international organizations, NGOs, private sector companies and start-ups, research institutions, academia and civil society organizations (CSOs) (collectively, the “the Participants” and each a “Participant”).
Only legal entities which are legally registered in an ITU Member State and have at least one female member in the leadership team (e.g. founder, chief executive, or similar) are eligible to participate in the Challenge.
Only one submission per Participant will be permitted. Multiple submissions from the same Participant who submit multiple entries will be disqualified.
> Participants must have an existing project or minimum viable product (MVP) that:
a.has already been implemented or tested
b.promotes and supports female entrepreneurship within digital innovation ecosystems
c.demonstrates a new innovative project/prototype, outlining its potential for scaling up
d.is a digital solution
> Participants must have availability from the 7th to the 10th of February 2023 to participate in a four-day virtual boot camp for a two (2)-hour session per day and availability to meet their mentor and programme team until the end of April 2023.
> Representatives of Participants warrant that all information submitted is true, complete, and up-to-date and that they are authorized to participate in the Challenge on behalf of their respective institution/organization. ITU reserves the right to verify eligibility for participation in the Challenge as well as the accuracy of submitted information.
Application Deadline – 20 January 2023, 17h00 Central Eastern Time
Click here to apply