Nigerian innovative designer, who has special focus on early education, Lara Cookey has made it to the finals of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development’s (UNCTAD) Empretec Women in Business Awards. Her Contextplay Matrix Ltd., designs educational toys and recreational tools for early child development, including learning materials, playground equipment and furniture.
Five other African women made it to the final stage of the awards are given every two years to celebrate exceptional women entrepreneurs who have benefited from the UNCTAD’s Empretec training programme. A maximum of three nominations are received from each of the 36 national Empretec centres across the world.
According to a statement by UNCTAD, the finalists are individuals who have overcome obstacles and persevered to establish and grow successful companies. They come from Africa, Latin America and the Middle East and work in a variety of sectors ranging from education, martial arts and security services.
In the manufacturing and distribution sector, Mauritius’ Maya Sewnath of SSS Furniture; Manufactures tailor-made wooden furniture using local raw materials and specializes in the wedding and children’s market also made the final cut.
Others African women, who made the finals include Thiane Diagne, Jour J Couture, Senegal and Angelica M. Runsey, Angel Bites Ltd., Zambia.
From the Services sector, Divine Ndhlukula of Securico Security Services, Zimbabwe and Renay van der Berg of Procomm, South Africa completed the list of African women in the final list.
Other finalists include: Lorena María Eugenia Picasso of Somno, Argentina; Kelly Dantas de Vasconcelos, Universidad da Crianca, Brazil; Tracy Antoinette Green Douglas of Pandama Retreat, Guyana and Lina Jalil Khalifeh of Shefighter, Jordan.
The three final winners will be announced tomorrow, at a gala event in Geneva, during the UNCTAD World Investment Forum 2014.