The WISE Women Innovation Challenge (WISE Challenge) is now accepting applications at www.challenge.wisevietnam.org until May 31, 2018.
With this programme, women-owned and women-led start-ups from the Mekong Region (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Viet Nam) can get support to boost their start-ups to a new level.
“While women have made enormous strides and achieved successes in the past decades, they face greater challenges than men in starting up, especially in raising capital for business. They have a strong potential for innovation but need a strong push to materialise their ideas into business and comprehensive support to grow the business. That is why we have launched the WISE Challenge,” said Tu Thu Hien, WISE Founder and CEO at the launching ceremony in Ha Noi on March 28.
“By supporting women’s start-ups that address unique problems, 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 and MBI (Mekong Business Initiative) Project Lead.
As the first-ever Mekong Region start-up and innovation competition exclusively for women, WISE Challenge provides intensive, tailor-made support to the finalists in an effort to encourage and support women-led businesses. Early-stage start-ups with female founders and co-founders with innovative and scalable business models in the four countries will be offered opportunities 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 start-ups to accelerate their innovative solutions through promoting visibility, networks, coaching and financing as well as facilitating cross-border business development in the Mekong Region. It will also help to connect start-ups with local, regional and international funds, investors, mentors and coaches, besides supporting and steering resources to all applicants beyond the Challenge’s timeframe.
The WISE Challenge is part of a series of innovation accelerators by MBI, which also runs the Mekong Agritech Accelerator, Mekong Innovative Start-ups in Tourism accelerator, SMART City Innovation Challenge Vietnam and Fintech Challenge Vietnam.
“We are interested in investing in women-owned and women-led start-ups because evidence shows that women outperform 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. — VNS