SDG Challenge 2020
  • September 18 - 27, 2020
  • Fully Funded
  • New York City

The WE Empower UN SDG Challenge is the first of its kind, a global business competition to honor, support and celebrate women entrepreneurs who are advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and inspiring entire communities to create the world we want by 2030.

Five awardees, one from each of five UN Regional Blocks, will be chosen to receive an all-expenses-paid trip to New York during the UN Global Goals week to participate in a series of tailored training and events.

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  • Honor: Honor innovative women entrepreneurs who are supporting and achieving the SDGs through sustainable business practices and inspiration for others to follow suit.
  • Invest: Invest in the most inspiring and transformational women entrepreneurs – providing access to seed capital, unique training, capacity building, a network of their peers, visibility, and credibility for their work.
  • Ignite: Ignite awareness among a global community of stakeholders of the valuable contribution women entrepreneurs can make in contributing to the SDGs and the obstacles they still face.

Why Women Entrepreneurs?

  • Leadership: Women business owners have a multiplier impact on their staff, their customers and their broader communities. Global initiatives such as the World Bank’s Women, Business and the Law project support and guide women business owners to help advance gender equality
  • Economic Contribution: Research from McKinsey demonstrates as much as $12 – $28 Trillion could be added to the global economy by 2025 if all countries bridged the gender gap. Women entrepreneurs play a critical role in global wealth creation.
  • Gender-Based Violence:  Violence against women and girls affects one in three girls and women worldwide, undermining both dignity and potential and inflicting huge costs – including economic cost. The economic cost of violence against women and girls underscores the dire need for commitment and action from all sectors, including the private sector. A 2015 study found that domestic violence against women and children costs the global economy $8 trillion.


United States


  • All flights, accommodations, and incidentals while in New York.
  • A special curated week-long agenda in New York with individualized training, high-level dialogues at the UN, and coaching on communications and speech prep in preparation for the pitch evening night.
  • Participation in an evening event hosted by Diane von Furstenberg that brings together top business leaders, celebrities and the media for a dynamic pitch competition where each Regional Awardee presents her business to pitch for a $20,000 cash grant.
  • Attendance at a high-level dialogue with senior UN Officials, the Council of Women World Leaders and the Women Political Leaders Global Forum
  • Featured as speakers in a panel discussion at an intimate high-level dinner reception hosted by the G5 Collective and Vital Voices. The G5 Collective is a coalition of high-level leaders across sectors all dedicated to jump-starting progress around UN SDG Goal #5 and the women related targets across the other 16 Goals.
  • Participation in Global Citizen week events including attending the Global Citizen Festival in Central Park on Saturday, September 26.
  • Additional opportunities: For each Regional Awardee, there may be an opportunity to be reimbursed for a portion of travel-related expenses associated with one of the following activities up to $1,000 per awardee.


To be eligible to enter this competition, applicants must meet all of the following criteria. Finalists will be required to provide evidence of sales (i.e. tax returns and/or audited financial records).

  • A woman entrepreneur with lead decision-making ability in a business or organization
  • Your business/organization has been in operation for more than three years
  • You employ at least three full-time staff (or full-time equivalent)
  • Your business/organization generates at least $100,000 USD in annual sales or revenue
  • Proficient in spoken and written English
  • At least 21 years old
  • Available to travel to NYC between 18 September – 27 September 2020
Eligible Regions: Open for all

Application Process

Apply through the given link.

Looking for fully-funded opportunities, install the Youth Opportunities Android or iOS App here.

Application Deadline: April 15, 2020

Application ClosedOfficial link

For Further Queries

For further details: [email protected]
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