Leading Women Entrepreneurs from Around the World Gather in New York for Fifth Annual International Women's Entrepreneurial Challenge

Four-day program provides proven female business-owners with opportunities to help scale their ventures globally

Nov 14, 2011, 07:00 ET from Manhattan Chamber of Commerce

NEW YORK, Nov. 14, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, nineteen of the world's most promising women entrepreneurs will be recognized at the fifth annual International Women's Entrepreneurial Challenge (IWEC) awards conference, an initiative of the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce, the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry Ladies Organization. The event, hosted in New York this year by the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, honors leading female entrepreneurs who are building thriving and growing ventures and beginning to take their businesses global.

Often defying societal and cultural expectations, this talented group of women has transformed localized start-up companies into multi-million dollar organizations. These nineteen CEOs, managing directors, presidents, founders and owners operate their businesses in a variety of regions and across industries ranging from management consulting to retail, organic health and beauty, technology, and hospitality, and others. And these are not small businesses. In 2010 and 2011 alone, IWEC has honored entrepreneurs whose businesses generate upwards of $3 billion in annual revenues and directly or indirectly employ more than 30,000 people.

As part of the conference, the IWEC honorees will be taking part in a four-day networking program held in various locations around Manhattan. They will be introduced to investors, potential commercial partners, trade officials, and more than 500 other entrepreneurs in an effort to expand their businesses and increase their exposure to global business contacts. This is the second time that New York has hosted an IWEC Awards Conference (New York first hosted IWEC in 2008); previous conferences have been hosted in Barcelona (2007), New Delhi (2009) and Cape Town (2010).

Nancy Ploeger, President of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, said, "It is a privilege to host such an inspiring group of businesswomen in New York this year. The breadth and scope of these delegates is remarkable, and our hope is that the connections the IWEC program facilitates will help them to further scale their already successful businesses."  

Xavier Carbonell, Managing Director of the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce, noted, "The achievements of today's honorees are a testament to their innovation, hard work and commitment. Their significant economic and social contributions remind us of the value and importance of empowering women entrepreneurs."

Juan Maria Nin, Deputy Chairman and CEO of CaixaBank, Spain's third largest financial institution and a founding sponsor of IWEC, will be in attendance at the event and will conduct a workshop on Business Leadership with awardees and other participants.

"Year after year, IWEC keeps growing, expanding and providing more and more networking opportunities to members and awardees. We are grateful to these women for their dedication to improving their communities and their local-turned-global businesses. Their achievements are exemplary and la Caixa is proud to support and celebrate them today," Nin said.

IWEC is also supported by leading financial institutions, trade associations and educational institutions including: MetLife, IESE Business School, the Asia Society of New York, SDI International and HSBC.

The 2011 winners are:









South Africa


US/NYC region

Contact – Felipe Ucros, Brunswick Group, 212-333-3810

About the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce

The Manhattan Chamber of Commerce (MCC) is a membership organization comprised of a cross section of member businesses ranging from sole proprietors to large corporations and conglomerates. With 10,000 members and subscribers, we represent the voice of over 100,000 companies in Manhattan and partner with over 300 diverse business organizations in the city.  Our members are part of one of the largest constituencies in the country representing approximately 1.6 million US employees and approximately 4.5 million employees globally.  Locally, our member companies have over 165,000 employees.  And, collectively, our member companies account for over $630 billion dollars in annual revenues.  

About CaixaBank

CaixaBank is an integrated financial group, with a banking business, insurance operations and investments in international banks and in leading service companies, such as Repsol and Telefonica. It is the leading retail bank in Spain, where it began its financial enterprise more than 100 years ago. CaixaBank shares with Caja de Ahorros y Pensiones de Barcelona-"la Caixa", its main shareholder, a commitment to people and their environment. In this regard, via "la Caixa's" Social Welfare Foundation, finances and maintains social, educational, cultural and scientific programs with an annual budget of 500 million euros, making it the second largest European foundation.

SOURCE Manhattan Chamber of Commerce