Deadline: April 10, 2022

The WE Empower UN SDG Challenge is the first-of-its-kind global competition for social entrepreneurs who are advancing the UN Sustainable Development Goals and inspiring entire communities to act to create the world we want by 2030. The WE Empower Challenge honors innovative women leaders from around the world who are pushing the SDGs forward through sustainable business practices and inspiring others to follow suit. The opportunity recognizes their innovative work and provides Awardees with capacity-building training sessions and opportunities to connect with an unparalleled global network to advance their enterprises. This program elevates and showcases the valuable contribution women entrepreneurs and business leaders can make toward the SDGs and solving the world’s greatest challenges.


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

Why Women Entrepreneurs?

  • Leadership
    Women business owners have a multiplier impact on their staff, their customers and their broader communities. Global initiatives such as the World Bank’s Women, Business and the Law project support and guide women business owners to help advance gender equality
  • Economic Contribution
    Research from McKinsey demonstrates as much as $12 – $28 Trillion could be added to the global economy by 2025 if all countries bridged the gender gap. Women entrepreneurs play a critical role in global wealth creation.
  • Gender-Based Violence
    Violence against women and girls affects one in three girls and women worldwide, undermining both dignity and potential and inflicting huge costs – including economic cost. The economic cost of violence against women and girls underscores the dire need for commitment and action from all sectors, including the private sector. A 2015 study found that domestic violence against women and children costs the global economy $8 trillion.


  • In 2022, the WE Empower Challenge Awardees will participate in events surrounding the 77th UN General Assembly as well as will connect with renowned business experts from around the world.
  • Awardees will also participate in a dynamic pitch competition, hosted by fashion designer, activist and Vital Voices Board Member Diane von Furstenberg, to present their business for the opportunity to receive a $20,000 grant.


  • A woman entrepreneur with lead decision-making ability in a business or a not-for-profit organization.
  • Your business or organization has been in operation for more than three years.
  • You employ at least three full-time staff (or full-time equivalent).
  • You are proficient in written and spoken English
  • Your business or not-for-profit organization generates at least $100,000 in USD in annual revenue or sales
  • You are available to travel to New York, NY and participate in the Contest events from Saturday, September 17 through Saturday, September 24, 2022 (COVID-19 travel restrictions permitting) OR participate in a virtual program if needed from August through October 2022

Eligible Regions: Open for All

Click Here To Apply

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