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.
In 2023, the WE Empower Challenge Awardees will participate in events surrounding the 78th UN General Assembly as well as 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.
PROGRAM LEAD PARTNERS
Global Innovation Partner
2023 WE EMPOWER AWARDEES
Susan Blanchet is the CEO and Founder of Origen Air. Origen Air’s mission is to create biophilic rooftop oases that metabolize toxins and purify indoor air, resulting in improved indoor air quality. Their purification process removes harmful airborne toxins, pollutants, and disease-transmitting particles from indoor environments. By collaborating biotechnology with HVAC systems, they enable the recirculation of indoor air, reducing the need for excessive air exchanges for improved ventilation. Origen Air focuses on producing efficient and sustainable living air purifiers using genetically modified plants that are 92x more effective at removing toxins from the air, making a significant impact on indoor air quality restoration and protection.
Sustainable Development Goals 3 (Good Health and Well-being), 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities), 13 (Climate Action).
Karin Sempf is the CEO and Founder of Innova Nation, an educational lab focused on motivating and empowering the upcoming generation of entrepreneurs, innovators, and sustainability advocates. They provide interactive learning opportunities for children and teenagers aged 8-18, helping them foster creativity, critical thinking skills, and problem-solving abilities while simultaneously encouraging them to explore their interests and ideas. By instilling a culture of innovation, sustainability and entrepreneurship in young minds, their programs provide their students with the necessary knowledge, skills, and confidence to turn their ideas into realities. Innova Nation’s programs have impacted the lives of 10,500+ students. With the help of more than 100 alliances with strategic partners, they have reached over 90 schools and have promoted the development of over 500 innovative ideas within the program.
Sustainable Development Goals 4 (Quality Education), 5 (Gender Equality), 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure).
Menna Farouk is the Co-Founder of Dosy, a tech-based scooter and bicycle riding platform for women and girls. With a population of about 100 million, Egypt is one of the most densely populated and polluted countries in the world. Dosy aims to encourage women and girls in Egypt to ride scooters and bicycles by connecting them with riding instructors. Dosy users then have the opportunity to become a riding instructor once they have completed enough training. Not only does Dosy create employment opportunities for women, but it also contributes to reducing traffic congestion and pollution while challenging social stereotypes about women riders of scooters and bicycles.
Sustainable Development Goals 5 (Gender Equality), 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities).
Andrea ‘Andy’ Blair
Andy Blair is a Co-Founder of Upflow, a geothermal, research, and innovation company based in New Zealand. Upflow is dedicated to harnessing the vast potential of geothermal energy to provide intelligent solutions to global industries. With a mission to challenge conventional thinking and inspire the adoption of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics), Upflow assembles expert teams to work on cutting-edge technologies and interdisciplinary approaches to build real-world solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems. Upflow also drives the uptake and smart utilization of all aspects of geothermal energy, including heat, fluid, gasses, minerals, and microbes.
Sustainable Development Goals 2 (Zero Hunger), 5 (Gender Equality), 13 (Climate Action).
Diana Mbogo is the Founder and managing director of Millennium Engineers, a 100 percent women-founded and led social enterprise that specializes in renewable energy. Their primary focus is identifying untapped energy poverty markets across various sectors. They excel in creating tailored and innovative business solutions by analyzing the requirements of specific industries, communities, or business value chains. Currently, Millennium Engineers is implementing the “Sardine Fishing Industry” business project which aims to transition the low-income sardine fishing industry in Lake Victoria, away from pressurized kerosene/LED lead acid-powered batteries lamps and conventional methods of sardine drying towards more climate-friendly solar drying facilities to ensure sustainable fishing practices in the region.
Sustainable Development Goals 5 (Gender Equality), 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy), 13 (Climate Action).