November 6, 2016


For Immediate Release  

BRUSSELS — The Brussels Enterprise Commerce & Industry will welcome a group of successful women entrepreneurs from Africa, Asia, Europe, Middle East Australia and North and South America to celebrate the Ninth Annual International Women’s Entrepreneurial Challenge Conference (IWEC) on November 6-9th.  Every year, IWEC recognizes the breakthroughs, achievements and thought leadership of women business owners from across the globe, and this year they will present awards to 42 successful women entrepreneurs from 21 countries.

The industries represented by the awardees include computer software, manufacturing, agricultural business, waste management, engineering, health services, skin care, travel, shipping and freight forwarding, education and many other enterprises.  The firms led by these women and past IWEC awardees account for over US$25 billion dollars in combined revenue, with over 125,000 employees worldwide.  During the conference, they will engage other business women, chambers and past awardees for trade, networking and business opportunities.

This year’s honorees hail from The Netherlands, Peru, Spain, South Africa, the United States, India, Turkey, Iran, Jordan, Pakistan, Zimbabwe, Azerbaijan, Taiwan, Canada, Colombia, Nigeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, The Philippines, Sweden and Belgium.

IWEC’s mission is to develop a global business network for successful women business owners, helping them gain and expand access to international markets by presenting a platform for the exchange of knowledge, experience, connectivity and to promote dialogue among women entrepreneurs and business leaders throughout the world.

This year’s conference theme is “Connecting Women Businesses Globally: Building a Viable Future”. The conference will feature welcome remarks by BECI and IWEC’s leadership, several keynote speakers including Cristina Gallach, UN Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, panel discussions on the challenges facing global women’s entrepreneurship and ways to influence and increase growth in women’s business, and corporate social responsibility, among other key topics. The conference will end with an extended tour of Brussels and Bruges, to showcase the many attractions and beauty of the country.

“We at the WEConnect International are very excited to be a part of IWEC and thrilled to have woman business owner Dr. Ibilola Amao from our Nigeria network participate in this annual conference,” states Liz Whitehead, Director of Programs at WEConnect International. “Our commitment to the growth of women-owned businesses globally is extended through our IWEC engagement.”

The International Women’s Entrepreneurial Challenge Foundation (IWEC) is a 501c(3) registered nonprofit organization based in New York City. As a global initiative, it provides networking, educational and mentoring opportunities for successful female business owners helping them gain and expand access to international markets. IWEC’s work is supported by the U.S. Department of State.

IWEC understands that providing access, resources, and support to help enable the success of female entrepreneurs is key to ensuring women’s economic participation, driving global economic growth, and closing the gender gap. Therefore, it presents a worldwide forum for the exchange of knowledge, experience, and connectivity among women business owners, setting the stage for new opportunities and joint ventures, and promoting social dialog among women entrepreneurs and business leaders.

More information on IWEC can be found online at www.iwecawards.com. Follow IWEC on Twitter: @iwecawards.

Learn more about The Brussels Commerce and Industry (BECI) at http://www.beci.be/.

Media enquiries: Nancy Ploeger, Executive Director, IWEC. Email: np@iwecawards.com  Phone: (917) 796-4201