04 May 2021

1st Commonwealth Women’s Entrepreneurship summit to be held 19 – 20 May in countdown to Commonwealth heads of government meeting

Submitted by Monica Steyn
1st Commonwealth Women’s Entrepreneurship summit to be held 19 – 20 May in countdown to Commonwealth heads of government meeting

The inaugural Commonwealth Women’s Entrepreneurship Summit is the first global event to focus on women in emerging tech sectors.  Taking place from the 19th to 20th May 2021, it is a 2 day online conference focusing on women’s entrepreneurship featuring 50 speakers, 20 talks and 12 panel sessions.

Targeting policy-makers, entrepreneurs, government agencies, entrepreneurship support organisations, funders and educational institutions, it aims to frame and feed into key international meetings including the G7 and CHOGM in June and the G20, UNCTAD and the Global Entrepreneurship Congress 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 Commonwealth Businesswomen’s Network (directly recognised by all 54 Commonwealth governments); the world’s largest entrepreneurship community (Global Entrepreneurship Network) which supports entrepreneurship ecosystems across 180 countries; 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, healthtech, fashiontech, 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 especially as we build back better in the wake of COVID-19.

Three of the partners already host their communities on the WorldLabs innovation ecosystem platform which has is free to join and has grown to 15,000 members during the pandemic, adding 200+ every day and is being leveraged to drive involvement before, during and after the event.

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

The Summit will feature some of the world’s leading experts on women’s entrepreneurship and fast-growing tech sectors. Details of speakers and sessions can be found on the Summit registration site.  The Summit is open to all and free to attend. It will include the launch of the first digital marketplace in the Commonwealth’s history from women for women: the Commonwealth e-marketplace which has successfully run as a pilot.