APEC Contest to Promote Women Entrepreneurship amidst Pandemic
Singapore, 11 November 2020
An APEC contest aimed to highlight the region’s best women-owned and women-managed small and medium businesses and promote women’s entrepreneurship will take place 12-13 November.
The annual APEC Business Efficiency and Success Target Award, known as the APEC BEST Award, is an initiative of Russia with China, Japan, Malaysia and Mexico as co-sponsors of this year’s contest. This is the fifth year since the contest was first introduced in 2016 when Peru hosted APEC.
The theme of the contest this year, “Women Business Leadership in Post-Pandemic Recovery,” aims to identify and promote success stories from small and medium business owners and managers for how they are dealing with the impact of COVID-19 pandemic.
“The impact of this crisis is being felt disproportionately by women and girls across the APEC region,” said Carolina Cuevas, Chair of the APEC Policy Partnership on Women and the Economy. “Women face higher levels of economic hardships and income loss and are facing an increase in hours dedicated to unpaid domestic work. We need to step up our efforts to support women in the economy, especially small businesses.”
This year’s contest will feature 20 nominees from 11 APEC economies, which represent varying economic sectors from high-technology and social entrepreneurship to healthy food production.
“All of us live in extremely challenging times now with the lingering negative impact of economic and health crisis brought by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Natalia Strigunova of Russia’s Ministry of Economic Development, which initiated the APEC BEST Award with OPORA, Russia’s non-governmental organization for small and medium businesses. “Women entrepreneurship should play a key role and be a strong driver for post-pandemic recovery.”
A panel of judges, comprised of entrepreneurs, investors, mentors, government officials, academia and civil society representing nine APEC economies will determine the winner of the APEC BEST Award. Each participant needs to present and pitch their business model as well as answer questions from the panel of judges.
Besides the grand prize of 2020 APEC BEST Award, the contest will also award six winners in different categories namely: 1) best growth potential, 2) international attractiveness, 3) best business sustainability in tackling pandemic, 4) fourth industrial revolution project, 5) best family business support and 6) best top manager.
“The goal of the APEC BEST Award is not only to promote women leadership and best practices amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, but also to provide support to female entrepreneurs, replicate best business models and expand their networks beyond their home economies to encourage more women to establish their own businesses,” added Irina Saltykova, who leads the APEC BEST Award project.
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