05 Different Competitions To Promote Women’s Entrepreneurship



Women have been and are constantly the victims of many social stereotypes and prejudices: a woman’s place is in the kitchen; or it is difficult for a woman to run a business. And often the image of the typical entrepreneur? A man, mid-40s, active. However, numerous studies have shown that companies run by women systematically perform better than those run by men.

If you are a woman and you are reading these lines, you might agree with me, if I say that your place is not only in the kitchen: you are a woman? Then believe me, you are strong.  You are full of innovative ideas and more. You have a lot of potential that is just waiting for the necessary means to be deployed. Do you believe it? I’m sure you do. And you are not alone in believing it.

Some organizations and platforms are aware of this and want to be at the side of women entrepreneurs to make it easier for them to create their own business and to help them break the glass ceiling through several competitions. Competitions to promote female entrepreneurship that you will discover in the next lines of this article:

1-The Woman In Africa Program (WIA 54)

What is it?

Launched in 2017, the WIA54 program aims to encourage female entrepreneurship in Africa. To support this dynamic, the initiative aims to support 10,000 women entrepreneurs and indirectly participate in the creation of 100,000 jobs by 2030.

Participation criteria

The first criterion is quite obvious and easy to find: we are talking about female entrepreneurship, so yes, you have to be a woman. But not just any woman: an entrepreneur who has a business or belongs to a business run by an African woman. This startup must be less than 5 years old. And applicants can only compete in a category that is their main business category. For example, if you produce jams sold exclusively on a website, your category is “Agriculture” not “Digital.” Similarly if you offer digital training, your main category is “Education” and your second category is “Digital”.

What do we gain from it?

Mentoring: WIA54 is made up of a very large community of highly experienced professionals including business leaders and entrepreneurs, corporate executives, staff members of WIA’s sponsors and partners. You will be put in touch with these experienced professionals so that you can aim further, faster.

A two-pronged training programme: face-to-face training with the target countries of its partners and virtually with other members, to equip participants with the technical and soft skills they need to develop their businesses and careers.

A Network: To be a member of Women In Africa is to be part of a global community with Africa at its heart. And to give yourself the means to learn and meet those who are shaping the Africa of today and tomorrow.

2-The 100% female competition, the “Business O Féminin Award”.

What is it?

Last year, the magazine Business O Féminin launched the “Business O Féminin Award”. This competition aims to reward start-ups founded or co-founded by women.

Participation criteria

We’re talking about female entrepreneurship so…you guessed it being a female entrepreneur. It comes, you start to get the hang of it.

We continue

What do we gain from it?

To be accompanied in its project by a consulting firm as well as a coaching in order to obtain a fund raising.

3-Association de l’Entrepreneuriat Féminin(APEF): business creation competition

What is it?

This first competition of the APEF association launched during the period from July to September 2021, enabled women to bounce back from the health crisis. This association already has a mixed objective: to support women through mentoring and e-learning training and then to promote female entrepreneurship among young people (secondary schools and universities).

Participation criteria

Remember the first criterion but this time you must be over 18 years old, live in France with a current entrepreneurial project or a registration since 01/01/2021, with a majority of women in the project or be alone, and have a valid email address (yes, this is very important!)

What do we gain from it?

To be trained and accompanied on the creation and launch of their project with 1 year of mentoring with one of their member entrepreneurs.

Come on, let’s go! Are you tempted? Can’t wait for the next edition!

4-“Madame Artisanat” Award (France)

What is it?

Organized by CMA France, the national competition “Madame Artisanat” aims to highlight the role of women heads of craft businesses, employees and apprentices for their contribution to the local economy, to promote entrepreneurship and to encourage vocations!

For this new edition of “Madame Artisanat”, heads of craft enterprises, employees and apprentices will be able to apply, with the help of their CMA, in the following three categories: The “Madame Artisanat” trophy, the “Madame Apprentice” trophy, – the “Madame Engagée” trophy.

Applications are open until 31 January 2022. After the jury’s deliberation in February, the awards ceremony will take place on 1 March 2022.

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What do we gain from it?

The winners will receive 3500€ (all categories)

5-Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards

What is it?

The programme is open to women-led businesses in all countries and sectors that are striving to create a significant social and/or environmental impact. In addition to the existing 7 Regional Awards, the initiative has launched the Science & Technology Pioneer Award, a new thematic category for the 2021 edition that aims to support impactful women entrepreneurs at the forefront of science and technology innovation.

What do we gain from it?

Regional Awards: Each year, the Regional Awards recognize 21 talented women entrepreneurs from seven regions of the world. According to their criteria, if you are one of the 7 winners selected for the second round, you receive a grant of USD 100,000 while each of the remaining 14 finalists (second and third finalists for each region) receives a grant of USD 30,000.

Science & Technology Pioneer Award: The winner will receive a grant of USD 100,000 while each of the two remaining finalists will receive a grant of USD 30,000.

Please note that the next call for applications for the 2022 edition is exceptionally postponed to spring 2022.

Some of the above-mentioned competitions have already been launched or are still in the process of being launched. This list of competitions will be subject to change following future updates of the site. But in the meantime, if you have already participated in these different competitions or know of other competitions promoting women entrepreneurship, please share them in the comments.

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