Celebrating Outstanding Global Businesswomen: IWEC Hosted its 9th Annual Conference in Brussels

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The International Women's Entrepreneurial Challenge (IWEC) presented awards to 42 successful global businesswomen from 21 countries.

Members of IWEC's Board of Directors during their award presentation last November

"As you network among each other, I encourage you to take off your blinders, and don’t just think about what that person means to you, but to your clients, city and country, as you build relationships and trust.” Ambassador Ruth Davis, IWEC Co-Founder.

The International Women’s Entrepreneurial Challenge (IWEC) celebrated its Ninth Annual Conference in Brussels, Belgium, on Nov. 6-9. Every year, IWEC recognizes the breakthroughs, achievements and thought leadership of women business owners from across the globe, and this year they presented the IWEC award to 42 successful women entrepreneurs from 21 countries. IWEC directors, together with the Brussels Enterprise Commerce & Industry (BECI) welcomed a group of some of the world’s most successful women entrepreneurs, who came from Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Australia, and North and South America.

This year’s awardees represent computer software, manufacturing, agricultural business, waste management, engineering, health services, skin care, travel, shipping and freight forwarding, education and many other industries. The firms that the current and past IWEC Awardees lead account for over US$25 billion dollars in combined revenue, with over 125,000 employees worldwide. During the conference, they engaged other business women, chambers and past awardees for trade, networking and business opportunities.

BECI President Thierry Willemarck offered the welcome remarks during a reception at the Center Square. The Conference, whose 2016 theme was “Connecting Women Businesses Globally: Building a Viable Future”, was held over the course of 2 days at the historical Metropole Hotel, featured meetings, presentations and speeches focused on trade, and networking between business women, chambers and past awardees. Throughout the Conference, the awardees shared their best practices and experience overcoming the economic, competitive and sometimes societal and political hurdles that they faced as they launched and grew their businesses – and the progress that remains to be made for women’s entrepreneurship, worldwide.

The Conference featured inspiring welcoming remarks by BECI and IWEC’s leadership, and keynote speakers including Cristina Gallach, UN Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, IWEC Executive Director Nancy Ploeger, Ibukun Awosika, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the First Bank of Nigeria, Yolanda Serra Director of International Open Programs, Nuria Chinchilla, Professor of Managing People in Organizations at the IESE Business School, and Alexader de Croo, Vice Prime Minister of Belgium. The Conference was sponsored by IWEC Partners CaixaBank, IESE Business School, SDI International Corp., Edelman Communication, Tyga-Box, Technoil, Progressive Computing, Brandlove, International Mission of Mercy, Repsol, Dos Toros Restaurant, Hotel Metropole and BECI.

During her opening speech, Ambassador Ruth Davis, IWEC co-founder and Chairwoman, captured and set the essence of cross-collaboration that framed the Conference: “I think that Brussels is a great international place where the world convenes for global meetings. Here we are, with 21 awardees from 42 countries. As you network among each other, I encourage you to take off your blinders, and don’t just think about what that person means to you, but to your clients, city and country, as you build relationships and trust.”

IWEC is a New York-based non-for-profit initiative of the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce of Manhattan and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry Ladies Organization (FICCI/FLO), and at its founding, it was supported by the U.S. Department of State. IWEC has a network of affiliate organizations, among them WEConnect International, the Women Presidents’ Organization, Taiwan Women’s Business Network and UnitedSuccess. Perhaps most importantly, IWEC has a strategic liaison with the International Trade Centre that leads, among many other important priorities, technical cooperation in the realm of trade for its parent organizations, the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the United Nations, providing sustainable trade development solutions and education, and sharing this critical expertise with IWEC’s network.

The conference ended with an extended tour of Brussels, Bruges, The Hague and Amsterdam to showcase the many attractions and beauty of Belgium and The Netherlands. IWEC will host its 2017 Conference in Redmond, Washington State.

Learn more about IWEC at http://www.iwecawards.com.

Contact IWEC: Nancy Ploeger, Executive Director, IWEC. np(at)iwecawards(dot)com (917) 796-4201.

Press Office: Conchie Fernández-Craig, CF Creative. info(at)cf-creative(dot)com. (954) 448-7590 ext. 101.

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Conchie Fernandez-Craig
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Nancy Ploeger
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