WEA Digital Innovation Challenge: Building Enabling Ecosystems for Women Entrepreneurs

WEA Digital Innovation Challenge: Building Enabling Ecosystems for Women Entrepreneurs
March 31

Last submission: 21 February 2023, 17h00 Central Eastern Time

Developing a more gender-inclusive digital innovation ecosystem can elevate the economy and society by creating more jobs and accelerating innovation which is critical for countries to thrive and recover from the socioeconomic impact of COVID-19.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in collaboration with the Women Entrepreneurship Accelerator  (WEA) and Mary Kay Global, has launched the WEA Digital Innovation Challenge with the theme of Building enabling ecosystems for women entrepreneurs.  This challenge supports the commitment of WEA to empower 5 million women entrepreneurs by 2030 and is aligned with the 2023 Commission on the Status of Women (CSW67) Priority theme of “Innovation and technological change, and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.”. WEA is a multi-partnership initiative on women’s entrepreneurship convening the 6 United Nations agencies (ITU, International Labour Organization (ILO)International Trade Centre (ITC)UN Development Programme (UNDP) UN Global Compact (UNGC) and UN Women).

More than ever, it is crucial to maximize women’s entrepreneurship impact in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by creating an enabling digital innovation ecosystem for women entrepreneurs worldwide.


To increase the potential/ capabilities of the selected proposals/teams, the Challenge will open access to the Digital Innovation Challenge Acceleration Programme (“the Programme”), providing:

  • capacity-building training, attending a virtual boot camp to refine further their plans and milestones (e.g. market entry, deployment, impact traction),
  • a specialised mentorship scheme,
  •  access to a network of change-makers,
  • a publication of the case in a Best Practice Report

The WEA Digital Innovation Challenge will bring resources and expertise from various industries and sectors to support mentoring and capacity development for the selected innovators.


Key Dates

7 December 2022
2022 WEA Digital Innovation Challenge Launch

21 February 2023
End of WEA Digital Innovation Challenge Submissions

2 March 2023
Shortlisted Candidates Announcement

6 -17 March 2023
(exact dates to be disclosed closer to the time)
Pitch Competition Session and WEA Digital Innovation Challenge winners announcement

28 to 31 March 2023
Capacity Building Training Virtual Bootcamp

31 March 2023
Mentorship Programme starts

22 June 2023
Mentorship Programme ends

To be confirmed
Certification Ceremony