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The WE Empower UN SDG Challenge

The WE Empower Challenge is a global business competition for women entrepreneurs who are advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and inspiring entire communities to create the world we want by 2030.

Five awardees, one from each UN region, will be chosen from those who apply by 12 May 2019. The successful awardees will be notified by 15 July 2019 and will receive an all-expenses paid trip to New York City, NY (NY) during the UN Global Goals week (22 – 29 September 2019) to participate in a series of tailored trainings contributed by leading and supporting partners and engage in high profile events with UN Officials.

Register and apply today!

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Our Objectives


Honor innovative women entrepreneurs who are supporting and achieving the SDGs through sustainable business practices and inspiration for others to follow suit.


Invest in the most inspiring and transformational women entrepreneurs – providing access to seed capital, unique trainings, capacity building, a network of their peers, visibility and credibility for their work.


Ignite awareness among a global community of stakeholders of the valuable contribution women entrepreneurs can make in contributing to the SDGs and the obstacles they still face.

Our Partners

A special thank you to WE Empower lead partners for generous support of the UN SDG Challenge!

  • ASU
  • BMO
  • G5 Collective
  • GroYourBiz
  • Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden
  • Ladol
  • P&G
  • Saїd Business School,
    University of Oxford
  • Salesforce
  • UN Foundation
  • Vital Voices
  • World Bank

View All Partners »

WE Empower at Global Goals Week

Alyse Nelson, President and CEO of Vital Voices Global Partnership, and Amanda Ellis, Executive Director for Hawaii and Asia-Pacific with ASU’s Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability and former UN Ambassador for New Zealand, welcome the 2018 winners of the WE Empower Challenge to New York City for United Nations Global Goals Week.

2018 Awardees at Global Goals Week

Meet the 2018 Awardees

Habiba Ali

“For me the WE Empower challenge has been a door opener. We struggled a lot prior to this year, but now it’s easier to reach out to collaborators. Upon winning the prize amount, this has helped us impact on the lives of over 5000 people.”

Ali founded Nigerian company Sosai, which brings renewable energy technologies to the most rural of users, improving access to clean, affordable energy and providing clean water and better health outcomes.

Marta Del Rio

“The WE Empower Award exceeded my expectations in all aspects; from the incredible inspiring women we met, to the depth of the intense week we had in NY. It was empowering and it was the beginning of a journey. It is a life changing experience that has made me grow personally and as a business leader.”

Del Rio co-founded organic snack company MAIA to fight poverty and transform Peruvian agriculture, providing training and technical assistance to smallholder farmers and sourcing ingredients from them at a fair price.

Shimrit Finkel

“WE Empower was an extraordinary experience for me. Apart from meeting an amazing array of powerful inspirational women, it gave me a new mission: To take action beyond my specific ocean presentation task, to seek a broader vision, and use my strength and that of other women out there to make an impact on our globe.”

Finkel co-founded ECOncrete® in 2012. The Israeli company’s durable and environmentally sensitive concretes harness natural processes to enhance growth of carbon-absorbing marine life on coastal infrastructure.

Marijana Savić

“It was a wonderful experience-one of a kind! Thanks to the We Empower Award, and the whole process, I realized how much we achieved. More importantly, how many things we can improve. Meeting and exchanging with all the bold and extraordinary women made me more determined in our feminist fight for justice and equality for all.”

Savić founded Serbian NGO Atina to combat human trafficking and all forms of violence against women. Atina’s Bagel store provides financing, skills training and professional education to help victims in transition.

Hadeel Anabtawi

“It was one of my best experiences. The value of the WE Empower award was beyond the one week meetings in NY and beyond my expectations. The full program, including mentorship and the support, was of a great value for my business growth.”

Anabtawi founded The Alchemist Lab, whose educational programs, including Go Girls!, have reached more than 25,000 children in Jordan’s largest city, Amman, as well as remote villages and refugee camps.

We Empower Challenge Partners