Kenya’s Purple Network launches Women in Enterprise Award

A new award to recognise women entrepreneurs has been launched by Purple Network, a Nairobi-based economic empowerment organisation.

The inaugural Women in Enterprise Award, dubbed She.BusinessAward, will celebrate Kenyan women who have built successful businesses.

 “Celebrating and supporting women to grow their businesses is a sure way to stimulate major shift in the economy in solving the unemployment problem in Kenya,” said Purple Network CEO Ms Nyambia Gatahi during the launch. This is the first award in Kenya that specifically celebrates women in enterprise in Kenya.

The She.BusinessAward runs until December this year. Ms Gatahi said the competition is aimed at stimulating gender equality in economic empowerment, noting that gender inequality in business had contributed to low confidence among women entrepreneurs. Consequently, she said a majority of women have focused on smaller enterprises normally associated with traditional women roles like hairdressing, retail, restaurants and agriculture. “Celebrating women who have overcome difficult financial systems and business environments to grow their businesses, will encourage other women to take their place in economic development,’’ said Ms. Gatahi.

The competition is open to women who have been in business for at least one year and have a minimum of three employees. The most enterprising women will benefit from one-year professional support to grow their businesses.  “The award will be rolled out in three phases; nomination, selection process and grand finale, which will include the women in enterprise conference and an award ceremony,” she said. “The She.BusinessAward will accept submissions from women who have a story that can inspire others and form a basis of influencing systems and processes in the financial and capacity building sectors.”

“Many women owned businesses have not embraced ICT for business efficiency, they lack flexible financing solutions, and a majority does not take up business insurance or favourable retirement schemes for their businesses and employees. “The end to end process of the She.BusinessAward will influence the landscape for women entrepreneurs by encouraging organizations to come up with favourable products that promote women entrepreneurship in Kenya,’’ said Ms Gatahi.

To enter the She.BusinessAward, an enterprising woman can nominate herself or be nominated by submitting her name and contacts to the award on twitter @SheBizAward or facebook on She.Business Award or completing a form on the award website www.purplenetwork.co.ke.

She.BusinessAward will focus on 12 categories among them; Agriculture and ICT. The award will also recognize a chama (investment group) that has invested in a successful business. Social entrepreneurship is also a key sector that will feature in the She.BusinessAward because women are always keen on tackling numerous social challenges.

Nominations will close on November 7, 2013. The selection process will follow thereafter and shortlisted women entrepreneurs will be announced on November 11. Winners will be awarded at a ceremony on December 6 2013.

Ms Gatahi added that She.BusinessAward is in line with government effort to support the growth of enterprise. The government has established the Sh6 billion UWEZO fund to benefit more women and youth in the counties, demonstrating its commitment to job creation, growth of industry, economic empowerment and gender equality for women. 

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