Monaco to Dakar – Business Women Helping their Counterparts in Africa

Mr Badia with Joel Baccialon, Hilde Heye & Francien ConradLast Monday, members of AFCEM (Association of Women Entrepreneurs of Monaco) held a Press Conference at the Columbus Hotel in the presence of Mr Jose Badia, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Monaco, to report on the progress of new businesses that had been set up in Dakar resulting from a contest they had initiated the previous year. Mr Badia gave a brief presentation where he warmly congratulated the members of AFCEM for their creative initiative that empowers women in another continent. As FCEM World President Francoise Foning says, “Alone we are invisibletogether we are invincible.”

Joel, Jose Badia, HIlde & Francine

It had been back in November 2012 when the AFCEM launched the first digital company creation contest in collaboration with the Town Hall, the Chamber of Commerce of Dakar and the Association of Women Entrepreneurs of Senegal, with the invaluable and vital partnership of the Cuomo Foundation, Mercure International, Ascoma, Sococim Foundation, Microsoft, Sonatel, Rasef and Axxend. The main objective was to encourage women to pursue their entrepreneurial aspirations and provide them with the best conditions for success, with an emphasis on the use of digital world channels.

Dakar, SenegalOn June 12, 2013, representatives of AFCEM travelled back to Dakar for the prize ceremony. There was standing room only at the Chamber of Commerce of Dakar and the colourful audience was buzzing with anticipation to meet the lucky winners, who proudly accepted the prizes that would enable them to pursue their business and create employment in their respective villages. Out of the 70 candidates registered, 21 were retained and16 were nominated. At the end of the presentations in front of a jury composed of partners 6 candidates were awarded prizes. The projects were selected according to their relevance, de quality of the presenters and their motivation. But event those women who did not receive a prize, benefited from contacts established during the contest, so everybody was a winner in the end.

In the category “New company creation”

  • The Mercure International of Monaco prize was awarded to the project Cybercafe in Pikine
  • The Ascoma prize was awarded to a project for the creation of an electronic filing company in Dakar.
  • The Sococim Foundation prize was awarded to the project Riz 2arc launched in Rufisque.

In the category “Complementary activities linked to digital business”

The Cuomo Foundation prize and the International Cooperation of Monaco prizes were awarded to the following projects:

  • Extension of GIE Infonet services in Guediawaye
  • Sale on line of fruits and vegetables in the Rawane Services company in Dakar
  • Maintenance and training of the Satec Data Processing company in Dakar

The winners received a prize of a value of Euro 10,000 for the first category and Euro 3,000 for the second one in the form of material, equipment, software, training, enabling them to create their own companies or complement their activity linked to data processing. Microsof and Orange/Sonatel awarded a prize to the 6 winners consisting of software, training, Internet connections, that will allow them to benefit from the latest technologies for the launching of their businesses. The winners will also benefit from close assistance provided by AFCEM and coordinated by the Group Ascoma to increase their chances to succeed.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, “Women are the largest untapped reservoir of talent in the world.”

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