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Published On: Fri, Aug 15th, 2014

Nigerian entrepreneur qualifies for UN women ‘Project Inspire’ 2014

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un-logoBy Chris Alu

The Singapore Committee for UN Women and MasterCard has named a Nigerian that specialize in training women in the country on entrepreneurship and business expansion via mobile platforms as one of the finalists in this year’s Project Inspire: 5 minutes to change the world.

This year’s campaign attracted over 500 submissions from 70 countries around the world.

Applicants aged 18-35 were asked to submit a sustainable idea to improve the lives of women and girls in Asia/Pacific, the Middle East and Africa, for the chance to win a US$25,000 grant to help implement their project in the field. Launched in 2011, Project Inspire: 5 Minutes to Change the World is a joint initiative between Singapore Committee for UN Women and MasterCard, supported by global consulting firm Bain & Company and academic partner INSEAD.

Other finalists showcased a range of innovative ideas, including a pumpkin-farming enterprise targeting single mothers in Uganda, a menstrual hygiene initiative in rural India, an Australian project providing financial support to female refugees, a Cambodian-Singaporean venture which helps sex workers transition out of the sex industry and run a small business, and a food-processing plant which funds a homeless refuge in Zimbabwe.

“2014’s entry guidelines were significantly more stringent than in previous years but that didn’t deter potential applicants.

With this year garnering the highest calibre of submissions we’ve ever received, we couldn’t be prouder of the incredible work that is being done by youth around the world to empower women and girls,” said Trina Liang-Lin, president, Singapore Committee for UN Women. Georgette Tan, Group Head, Communications, Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa, MasterCard, said: “Each year we’ve seen the quality of entries for Project Inspire improve from strength to strength.

The program continues to gain awareness, participation and impact. What’s even better is that Project Inspire’s success has spread quickly, inspiring more organizations to step up to support young people and their drive to change the world.”

With the announcement of the Project Inspire 2014 finalists, Singapore Committee for UN Women and MasterCard announce a brand new prize of $10,000 to be awarded to the Runner-Up courtesy of new partner Hilton Worldwide. With the total prize pool now increased to US$35,000, the 2014 finalists are one step closer to seeing their ideas realised. Brendan Toomey, vice president, Human Resources, Asia Pacific, Hilton Worldwide, said:

“It is a privilege to collaborate with likeminded partners such as Singapore Committee for UN Women and MasterCard to invest in young change-makers who in turn enable sustainable impact and improvement to our communities.

Project Inspire truly brings to life our Travel with Purpose strategy to create shared value for our business and communities around the globe. It also reinforces two key announcements we made earlier this year one, our pledge to impact at least one million young people by 2019, and two, our commitment to UN Women’s Empowerment Principles.”

Each finalist receives an all-expenses-paid trip to Singapore, where they will participate in a week-long social business boot camp. The camp includes workshops run by global consulting firm Bain & Company and academic partner INSEAD.

The week culminates in the Project Inspire Grand Final on Saturday, 30th August 2014 at INSEAD’s Asia Campus, where a winner will be chosen by an esteemed panel of judges.


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