HSBC Mauritius played host for the Quarter Finals of the Women Entrepreneur Awards at its branch in Place d’Armes, Port Louis, on 1 September, where recently appointed CEO Greg Lowden welcomed over 20 local women entrepreneurs who have been shortlisted for the awards.
The Women Entrepreneur Awards (WEA) is a concept created to encourage, support and empower and celebrate Mauritian female entrepreneurs from different sectors, and to showcase their contribution in the Mauritian economy. The awards, which are in their inaugural edition, will recognise the outstanding achievements of women entrepreneurs who have made a significant impact on their industries and communities. The theme for the Quarter Finals was “Celebrating our Blooming Women”.
Highlighting the bank’s support for the awards, Greg Lowden, who was recently appointed as CEO of HSBC Mauritius, said:
“158 years ago, HSBC was set up by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs. We know now, as we knew then, that access to funding remains one of the biggest challenges for up-and-coming business leaders worldwide, and that true support requires a commitment to long-term partnership. In supporting the Women Entrepreneur Awards, HSBC are demonstrating our belief in the vital role to be played by gender balance and inclusion in driving positive change in our businesses and communities.”
In terms of HSBC’s wider commitment to championing women entrepreneurs, Hajrah Sakauloo, Country Head of Wholesale Banking at HSBC Mauritius, added:
“As a female executive myself and heading one of very important businesses for HSBC Mauritius which is Wholesale Banking, I often come across lots of entrepreneurs and I know that the path they tread on is one that requires determination, innovation and resilience. For women entrepreneurs, this journey often comes with additional challenges and barriers that need to be overcome. We want to reaffirm HSBC’s commitment to fostering an environment where women entrepreneurs can flourish. We believe that by leveling the playing field, we open up a world of opportunity for all our customers.”
Commenting on the event and the collaboration with HSBC Mauritius, Kirti Sheonarain, as one of the Co-Founders of the awards, said:
“We would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to HSBC Mauritius for their invaluable support by hosting our Quarter Finals. We have now entered the competitive phase of the initiative and joining hands with HSBC was natural. HSBC has not only been the host but their team promotes and encourages more female entrepreneurs to step out into the limelight and we couldn’t ask for a better collaboration!”
Paving the way to the finals
The event marked the first occasion where the shortlisted candidates were able to present themselves and their companies before the jury, which is composed of a panel of experienced professionals, with a strong background and expertise in the entrepreneurial and wider business domain.
Speaking on behalf of the jury, Samantha Seewoosurrun outlined the jury evaluation criteria, which have been defined under the headings of most environmentally sustainable, most impactful, most innovative and most promising start-up business.
Explaining the process, Samantha elaborated that: “We will now be inviting shortlisted candidates to prove their credentials under the different categories. This will pave the way to the finals for those women entrepreneurs who are really making a difference in terms of their sustainable or innovative approach, positive impact on their communities or visionary leadership. Together with my fellow jury members, we are looking forward to accompanying the successful entrepreneurs through the next stages of the competition.”
The Women Entrepreneur Awards are also being supported by Impact Production Group, where Director Jean Luc Manneback commented that:
“At Impact Production Group, we are backing the Women Entrepreneur Awards as we believe in this initiative. We think that an organization holding this type of competition deserves to be supported and we stand together with the women entrepreneurs. I consider that women are very important across all sectors and professions as they have a sensibility that men do not have.”
In terms of the next steps, the semi-finals of the competition will be held at the end of September, and the final round is due to be held at the end of October.