06 June 2018 - 09:00 - 10:15
Dorcas Apoore, Catherine Collin, Odile Conchou, Henriette Geiger, Angie Rozas, Shada Islam

This event takes place as part of the European Development Days and will begin at 9:30 in Room D4 at Tours and Taxis (Avenue du Port 86C, 1000 Brussels). Register to the event directly via the eudevdays.eu website. Deadline for registrations is 18 May.

This lab debate will explore the important contribution that women entrepreneurs are making as regards implementation of many of the sustainable goals set out in Agenda 2030 and the challenges and opportunities they face in developing and emerging countries. The focus will be on ways in which governments and the private sector can help to address these challenges and ways in which women business leaders can be further empowered by state and non-state initiatives.

This event is part of our Development Policy Forum (DPF), which brings together a number of important development actors, including the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the European Investment Bank (EIB), the United Nations and the World Bank. Reflecting the growing role of the private sector in development, the DPF has now welcomed Coca-Cola and Eni to the forum. The DPF contributes to the global and European conversation on inclusive development. Through its activities and publications, the DPF reflects the rapidly-changing global debate on growth and development and seeks to encourage a multi-stakeholdered, fresh, up-to-date thinking on the multiple challenges facing the development community.

Photo Gallery

Women entrepreneurs spearheading implementation of Agenda 2030

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IMAGE CREDIT: ILO/A. Azhari/Flickr


Welcome & registration


Women spearheading implementation of Agenda 2030

Women business leaders, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and local female entrepreneurs are key to growth, development and building a thriving economy. Women entrepreneurs are playing the crucial role of innovators of cutting-edge products and services, enabling a leap forward in such fields such as retail, food services, information technology, and by developing new products and processes as regards in agriculture, healthcare and other vital fields. While women entrepreneurs create new businesses, disrupt established industries and develop innovative platforms at a record pace, they still face institutional barriers to starting and growing a business that makes financial parity with male entrepreneurs a long-term challenge.

  • When it comes down to access to capital, trainings and support, challenges for women are multiplied. What can the EU do to help foster a more attractive business environment for female entrepreneurs?
  • What are governments doing to support women entrepreneurs and how can public-private partnerships enable women to achieve their potential and make a lasting difference in their country’s economy?
  • Beyond legal and financial barriers, women also face social and cultural obstacles that limit their access to education and work. What can successful female entrepreneurs do to encourage the behavioural change needed and increase business opportunities for younger and older women?

Dorcas Apoore, Founder of ‘ASIGE Ghana’, a woman-based organisation empowering women through basket weaving; and European Development Days Young Leader 
Catherine Collin, Head of Regional Representation for East Africa, European Investment Bank (EIB)
Odile Conchou, Head of Social cohesion, Gender, Sport & Development at the Operations Department , Agence Française du Développement (AFD)
Henriette Geiger, Director for People and Peace at the European Commission Directorate-General for  International Cooperation and Development
Angie Rozas, Senior Director for the Global Women Economic Empowerment Programme, Coca-Cola

Shada Islam, Director for Europe and Geopolitics at Friends of Europe 

Dorcas Apoore
Founder of ‘ASIGE Ghana’ and European Development Days Young Leader from Ghana
Dorcas Apoore is a team leader, mentor and trainer in her community focusing on economic empowerment, poverty reduction and social inclusion of disabled rural women. She also works on education of rural girls and women and fights against school dropouts. Apoore is currently studying development planning at the University for Development Studies in Ghana. In 2014, she founded “ASIGE Ghana” (Advocacy for social inclusion and Girls Education), a woman-based organisation that empowers women through basket weaving, currently employing 219 women.
Catherine Collin
Head of Regional Representation for East Africa, European Investment Bank (EIB)
With over 25 years of experience in the banking industry, including a special focus on development finance, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and in the Balkans, Catherine Collin has in-depth knowledge and understanding of the EU’s financing mechanisms and institutional set-up. Through her work in Africa, Collin promotes entrepreneurship as a tool to create jobs, to support micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises through lines of credit with local banks or private equity fund and to improve lives and ensure sustainable long-term economic growth. 
Odile Conchou
Head of Social Cohesion, Gender, Sport & Development at the Operations Department , Agence Française du Développement (AFD)
An ecologist and agronomist by training, Odile Conchou has over 30 years of experience in the field of sustainable development. She first worked for research institutes in France and Germany, then as an environmental engineer in an agro-industrial union and later headed an organisation for environmental professionals in sustainable development. She joined AFD in 2006, working for the Environmental and Social Support Department and PROPARCO (AFD’s private sector branch) to create and develop the Environmental, Social, Governance and Impact department. She is now developing the AFD’s new social cohesion and Gender Unit.
Henriette Geiger
Director for People and Peace at the European Commission Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development
With more than 20 years of experience at the European Commission, Henriette Geiger was appointed Director for Geographical Coordination for East, South-East Asia and the Pacific in 2018. Prior to joining the Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development, Geiger held the position of Deputy Director at GIZ Field Office in Guatemala. She has also worked as a Programme Officer at UNICEF in Central Africa. Throughout her career, Geiger has held various responsibilities in international cooperation, security and humanitarian affairs.
Angie Rozas
Senior Director for the Global Women Economic Empowerment Programme, Coca-Cola
Angie Rozas is Senior Director for the Women’s Economic Empowerment Programme at Coca-Cola; a programme which has enabled over 1.75 million women act as entrepreneurs across the globe since 2010. The Coca-Cola Company’s “5by20” commitment notably focuses on economic empowerment, with the purpose of helping five million women entrepreneurs across the global market value chain by 2020. With a focus on identifying and scaling models across producers, suppliers, retailers, recyclers and artisans, Rozas works directly with business units, bottlers and NGO partners to scale up the project. With more than 24 years of experience with Coca-Cola, her expertise includes cross-functional team leadership, product development and marketing strategy.  
Shada Islam
Director for Europe & Geopolitics
Shada Islam is responsible for policy oversight of Friends of Europe’s initiatives, activities and publications. She has special responsibility for issues related to the Future of Europe, Migration, the Asia Programme and the Development Policy Forum. Shada is Visiting Professor at the College of Europe (Natolin) where she teaches Asia-Europe relations and has been selected as a fellow by the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). She has been named as one of twenty most influential women in Brussels by Politico. Shada is the former Europe correspondent for the Far Eastern Economic Review and has previously worked on Asian and Migration issues at the European Policy Centre. She is one of the authors of Friends of Europe’s much-read “Frankly Speaking” commentary and is sought after as a speaker, commentator, columnist and moderator at high-level European and global events. Shada also continues to write on EU foreign and security policy, EU-Asia relations and trade and development issues for leading Asian, European and international publications and academic journals.

Development Policy Forum:

  FoE AFD GIZ JICA World Bank




UN EIB Coca Cola eni    
Sarah Bentz, Programme Manager
Tel.: +32 2 893 98 23
Email: sarah.bentz@friendsofeurope.org

Registration will open soon and will be done through the European Development Days Website.
For more information, please contact Sarah Bentz, Programme Manager at Friends of Europe.

Our events include photos, audio and video recording that we might use for promotional purposes. By registering, you give your permission to use your image. Should you have any questions, please contact our Head of Communications, Angela Pauly, at angela.pauly@friendsofeurope.org.
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