Press Release: Women’s Entrepreneurship Expo to boost hundreds of businesses across Europe and Central Asia

Date: Monday, April 19, 2021

UN Women’s first regional “Women’s Entrepreneurship Expo” in Europe and Central Asia will be held virtually with the participation of hundreds of women entrepreneurs from 12 countries. The Expo aims to support and empower women entrepreneurs during and after COVID-19.

Women rural entrepreneur’s self-help group took in Kyrgyzstan. Photo: UN Women Europe and Central Asia/Rena Effendi
Women rural entrepreneur’s self-help group took in Kyrgyzstan. Photo: UN Women Europe and Central Asia/Rena Effendi

19 April 2021 - A virtual ‘Women’s Entrepreneurship Expo’ will bring together hundreds of small businesses and women entrepreneurs, global companies and investors from Europe and Central Asia to showcase ventures, create business plans and expand markets and profits for women’s businesses.

Organized by UN Women in response to the devastating impact of COVID-19 in a region where one-quarter of self-employed women have lost their jobs, the Expo will connect women entrepreneurs to national, international companies, investors and mentors to help bring their marketing ideas and businesses to the next level. The Expo is being generously funded by the Government of Japan.

“COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted women entrepreneurs as women-led micro, small and medium enterprises are more likely than those led by men to be concentrated in sectors with lower profit margins or to be operating in sectors most impacted by lockdown restrictions. Supporting women’s income security, decent work, and economic autonomy is a key priority for UN Women,” said Alia El-Yassir, UN Women Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia.

During the Expo, six co-creation hubs will be offered on topics ranging from branding and marketing to crowdfunding and e-commerce, and how to pitch to investors. At the Connect and Create stages of the Expo from 27-29 April, entrepreneurs will showcase their products, learn to improve their business plans by innovating and experimenting with new ideas, and meet global businesses and investors. Private sector partners will share how their ventures can include more women entrepreneurs in their value chain.

The three days of the Expo will include a short session on the power of networking and one-to-one networking opportunities. Entrepreneurs and business partners will also have the chance to further showcase their businesses via Expo Booths, available online throughout the virtual event.

Following the Expo, entrepreneurs will receive professional coaching to develop and fine-tune business pitches for their own business plans and product ideas.

More than 23 sectors will be represented at the conference. The majority of women entrepreneurs will be from the clothing, fashion and retail industries, while other sectors include education and training, as well as food and agricultural production. To date, more than 15 businesses have signed on to the Expo.

The opening of the Expo will be livestreamed on UN Women Europe and Central Asia’s Facebook account.

Journalists can get access to the virtual marketplace where women entrepreneurs and private sector partners will be showcasing their businesses, products and services at designated booths. Journalists can contact UN Women to get more information on the marketplace. Milliyet Newspaper in Turkey will be the main media partner.

For more on the Expo: https://eca.unwomen.org/

For more information contact: Gizem Yarbil Gurol, gizem.yarbil@unwomen.org, +31615222481