WISE Women Innovation Challenge Launched



The WISE Challenge is now open for online applications at http://challenge.wisevietnam.org/  

Ha Noi, Viet Nam (March 28th 2018) – the WISE Women Innovation Challenge (WISE Challenge) is now accepting applications at www.challenge.wisevietnam.org until May 31st 2018. Women – owned and led startups from Mekong Region (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Viet Nam) can now access a holistic support package to boost their startup businesses to a new level.

“While women made enormous strides and successes in the past decades, they still face greater challenges than men in starting up and especially in raising capital for business. They have strong potential for innovation but need a strong push to materialize ideas into business and comprehensive support to grow the business. That’s reason why the WISE Challenge is launched” – said Tu Thu Hien, WISE Founder & CEO.

“By supporting women startups addressing unique difficulties, we hope the WISE Challenge will have a significant impact on women’s economic empowerment, help create jobs, and build economies in the region” – said Dominic Mellor, ADB Senior Country Economist, MBI Project Lead.

As the first-ever Mekong Region startup and innovation competition exclusively for women, that provides intensive, tailor-made support to the finalists, the WISE Challenge was launched with the goal of encouraging and supporting women-led businesses. Early stage startups with female founders and co-founders with innovative and scalable business models in the four countries are offered the opportunity to showcase their innovations, compete for prizes, gain valuable mentorship, access investments and markets, and widen their professional networks.

The challenge will help women-led startups to accelerate their innovative solutions with the following:

·         Promoting visibility, networks, coaching and financing

·          Facilitating cross-border business development in the Mekong Region

·         Connecting startups with local, regional and international funds, investors, mentors and coach

·         Supporting and steering resources to all applicants beyond the Challenge’s timeframe

The WISE Challenge is part of a series of innovation accelerators by the Mekong Business Initiative (MBI) which also runs the Mekong Agritech Accelerator (MATCh), The Mekong Innovative Startups in Tourism (MIST) accelerator, the SMART City Innovation Challenge Vietnam, and the Fintech Challenge Vietnam. The WISE Challenge was launched with funding and support from the Australian Government, the Asian Development Bank, the Swiss Entrepreneurship Program, and the Sai Gon Innovation Hub (SIHUB). The WISE Challenge will be powered by the WISE Alliance, consisting of key regional and local partners supporting women startups and entrepreneurship.

We are interested in investing in women-owned and led startups, because evidence has pointed to the fact that women-led startups out-perform their male peers in terms of creating value for investors. Women entrepreneurs not only care about solving problems but also about ensuring efficacy and efficiency in doing business” – Said Jan Lederman, President of Valhalla Private Capital.