Project Inspire offers people all over the world the chance to create and develop projects to help and support women and girls, through an annual prize. Rachel Hand gives us the scoop on this innovative initiative.
What is Project Inspire?
Project Inspire (www.5minutestochangetheworld.org) is an initiative of the Singapore Committee for UN Women and MasterCard, which offers people all over the world a chance to pitch ideas to improve opportunities and support for women.
The annual winner receives a $25,000 grant towards the realisation of their idea.
Teams of up to three are allowed, from any country and the beneficiaries of the project proposed must be women or girls in Asia Pacific, Middle East or Africa.
Entrepreneurship is key. Rather than giving the money to charity, the project must enable disadvantaged women and girls to attain sustained livelihood through entrepreneurship.
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As the saying goes, “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; teach him how to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” However, Project Inspire is all about focusing on women and girls.
Why “5 Minutes to Change the World”?
Each team is allowed five minutes to pitch their idea, either by video or a written proposal, which can be submitted via the website.
The entries are then whittled down to a short-list of nine finalists, who present their proposals to a panel of judges, who select the Grand Prize Winner.
Members of the public are also invited to vote online, and the team with the most public votes receives the People’s Choice Award.
Meet the Winners
The competition was held for the first time in 2011 and the winners for 2012 were recently announced.
The 2012 Grand Prize Winner of Project Inspire is a three-person team from India and France who have created Women’s Private Personal Marketplace.
Rustam Sengupta, K.V. Kanchana and Nicole Darabian will provide entrepreneurship training to women in rural Rajasthan to enable them to sell feminine hygiene products to other women.
The creation of a mobile phone app will facilitate the women’s sales by enabling them to order and pay for products efficiently and discreetly, as well as providing other information about the products and their use.
A Special Recognition Award was given to a project to support Sri Lankan women in entrepreneurial activities, LIFE (Livelihood Initiatives for Empowerment of Women).
Project Stitch, which aims to create sewing cooperatives for Filipino women in Manila, was the winner of the People’s Choice Award.
Do you have a Project to Inspire?
The 2013 competition is not yet open, so keeping checking the website if you have an inspired idea to give disadvantaged women the means to support themselves.
We’re inspired! Are you? Tell us what you’d pitch if you had your 5 minutes with the judges, or share in the comments below, which of the 2012 winners inspired you. We love to hear your thoughts!