Commonwealth Women’s Entrepreneurship Summit
Women from diverse backgrounds can be such a key part of the innovation ecosystem and how governments and industry can help to make this happen. [ PHOTO / worldlabs.org ]

On the first joint International Women’s Day and Commonwealth Day for several years, the inaugural Commonwealth Women’s Entrepreneurship Summit is launched. Held while the UK is Commonwealth Chair and G7 President, it will be a two-day online conference focusing on women’s entrepreneurship across emerging tech sectors.

Targeting policy makers, entrepreneurs, government agencies, entrepreneurship support organisations, funders, and educational institutions, Commonwealth Women’s Entrepreneurship Summit aims to frame and feed into key international meetings including CHOGM and the G7 which will be held within about 100 days of the Summit and the G20 and UNCTAD 15 later in 2021.

As WTO Director General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said at her recent appointment, ‘ecommerce will help us to be more inclusive of women’ and as the G20 said in December 2020, there is ‘a missed opportunity – to tackle the gap that needs immediate action, which is the representation of women in emerging fields.’ The Commonwealth Women’s Entrepreneurship Summit will address that need.

The event is being convened by the world’s largest entrepreneurship community (Global Entrepreneurship Network) which supports entrepreneurship ecosystems across 180 countries; the Commonwealth Businesswomen’s Network (directly recognised by all 54 Commonwealth governments); the UK Government (Women in Innovation Network); and Africa’s largest network of women entrepreneurs (AWEP: African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program) which was established and supported during and by the Obama-Biden Administration.

The Summit will focus on how business is being transformed by emerging tech areas such as fintech, createch, edtech, biotech, cleantech and agritech; how women from diverse backgrounds are and can be such a key part of this innovation ecosystem and how governments and industry can help to make this happen. Three of the partners already host their communities on the WorldLabs innovation ecosystem platform which we aim to leverage to drive involvement before, during and after the event.

Women entrepreneurs from across the Commonwealth are being invited to create a short 60-second video sharing their experiences as entrepreneurs providing inspiring and challenging on the ground accounts. The campaign called Heroine Stories will be shown during the Summit and made available to worldwide audiences through social media. This is the most innovative project involving women entrepreneurs, schools and universities in the Commonwealth’s history and will be a powerful legacy of the Summit.

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The Summit will feature some of the world’s leading experts on women’s entrepreneurship and fast-growing tech sectors of Fintech to Edtech, Healthtech to Agritech. Details of speakers and sessions will be released soon. The Summit registration site is live and will provide the latest updates regarding the programme and activities.

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