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Business Innovation

The inaugural Pan-African Women Inventors & Innovators, Exhibition, Conference and Awards 2005 took place in Accra, Ghana in September 2005 under the auspices of the Global Women Innovators & Inventors Network (GWIIN), in partnership with the International Finance Corporation’s Gender Entrepreneurship Markets


The forum, supported the Ghanaian Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, was a unique trade event enabling innovative African women entrepreneurs with exceptionally creative ideas, technologies and successful solutions to address their information and promotional needs. Under the theme of  ‘Business Women Marketing a Wealth of Ideas’, the event focused on fostering and supporting the economic empowerment of inventive and innovative women in business across Africa . 

ImageOpening the conference, the Hon. Alan Kyerematen, Ghana’s Minister for Trade and Industry, highlighted the need for governments and funders in Africa to support women entrepreneurs with developing processes and technologies to create greater efficiency and productivity. 

The conference provided an opportunity for distinguished speakers from Government Departments, leading industry experts, voluntary organisations, enterprises and educational departments to discuss and share effective ways of bringing the support, assistance, tools, advice and information necessary to women in achieving significant growth while taking their ideas to market.

Plenary sessions and roundtable discussions addressed how innovative businesses create new ideas, ensure their ideas are protected, react to changing markets and engage with their customers.  Contributors from across Africa, Europe and North America addressed key issues facing inventors and innovators and focused on how to create innovative market opportunities in Africa, build capacity and secure finance and investment.

The need for this event was highlighted by GWIIN Founder and CEO, Bola Olabisi. 
"It is crucial that we keep spurring new products and services that meet our immediate needs from across the world and Africa is no exception. Women are the world's natural innovators – many tend to solve problems they find rather than find problems to solve. With initiatives such as this, we can show the world how worthwhile it is to be innovative, entrepreneurial and how it pays to protect commercially viable ideas”. 

ImageSpeakers at the conference included Ms Elizabeth Joyce Villars, President, PEF/Managing Director, Camelot Ghana Limited, Ms Janet Minja, Director of Marketing & Information, Small Industries Development Organisation, Tanzania, Ms Inge K. Zaamwani - Managing Director, Namdeb Diamond Corporation (Pty) Ltd, Namibia, Dr Alexandra E. Graham, Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, LaGray Chemical Company and Mrs. Frances Williams, Founder and CEO of Interims for Development Ltd.

The event was promoted as a vehicle to highlight role models within Africa and the many achievements and contributions women have made to the manufacturing industry and economic growth.  The accompanying exhibition enabled women participants to showcase remarkable and innovative products and concepts, providing much needed inspiration and motivation for others seeking to turn their unique ideas into commercial propositions.

The 3 day event concluded with special recognition awards for 14 women inventors and innovators from Kenya, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Nigeria and the African Diaspora.

The first Nigerian Female Inventor & Innovator of the Year Award ceremony was recently held in Lagos.  The ceremony was organised by the Global Women Inventors & Innovators Network (GWIIN), in association with the National Association of Nigerian Women In Business and the Nigerian Business Women's Forum.


The awards highlighted the scientific, engineering and technological achievements of women in Nigeria and the contribution of Nigerian women to manufacturing and economic growth

ImageMrs. Bola Olabisi, the founder and CEO of GWIIN, has gained international recognition for her work and was one of the first professionals to volunteer her expertise with Interims for Development.

“GWIIN provides a platform for capacity building and business opportunities while putting the spotlight on the importance of intellectual property rights and international trade,” she says.  Recognising that an increase in the number of women involved in the design and application of new products and services makes good business sense, GWIIN’s members use their knowledge and experiences to yield better productivity and profitability by raising awareness and promoting women's contribution to the manufacturing industry and to economic growth.  

The Awards are extremely competitive and as Bola says, “the women had to show that their ideas are commercial, original and unique.

The event created the opportunity to discover the views of the women involved - their experiences in taking their idea to market, the challenges and the achievements they have undergone as they continue to pursue success".  

The successful recipients of the Awards included Oluseyi Olukayode Adeosu, who won the Nigerian Female Inventor of the Year Award for her bottle mouth invention and Tomilola Awoniyi for OGI, a nutritious maize powder.

The GWIIN Awards highlight the need to encourage a steady flow of creative people, both men and women, to provide competitive ideas to boost the economies of Africa.  By improving self-confidence and increasing motivation, the Awards have helped to raise the aspirations of female inventors and innovators across Nigeria, putting the spotlight on remarkable women entrepreneurs.  

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