Women Entrepreneurs Recognized

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Samrawit Moges, a female entrepreneur, who manages Travel Ethiopia a local private tour company, was honored on October 27 in Washington DC as one of the 100 extraordinary women with inspirational achievements, from around the world by the International Alliance for Women (TIAW).

TIAW is an organization that serves as a global umbrella and promotes professional women. Its letter of award to Samrawit reads ‘We have been inspired and humbled by the stories of people like you who, often without fanfare, have taken action to support women’s economic empowerment and advancement in society and business.’

‘A very fitting remark,’ say those who closely know Samrawit Moges, who is the first Ethiopian to be awarded under the entrepreneurial category at the 2011 World of Difference 100 Award after being nominated by Nigist Haile honorary member of TIAW. Two other Ethiopians Yetnebersh Nigussie and Salsawit Tsega Ketema were also recipients of this year’s award. Yetnebersh is a program manager of Ethiopian Center for Disability and Development (ECDD) while Salsawit Tsega Ketema is an entrepreneur, designer and founder of Sel Art Gallery.

The award inspired several members of the Association of Women in Business (AWiB) who hold their monthly meeting every first Thursday of the month. This time, they met at Panorama Hotel on November 3 and used the platform to congratulate Samrawit and celebrate their strength.

Roman Kifle vice president of AWiB, said “this is one of a kind evening where AWiB is celebrating strong women and we want to celebrate our own Samrawit Moges, who has contributed to the economic empowerment of women.”

Introducing Nigist Haile, Roman noted that AWiB has amazing active women members with incredible talents and vision. “We are on the road towards bringing about radical change in our country,” she added.  

AwiB was founded in April 2010 as a registered association of business women, where they can network and support each other, “connecting on multiple dimensions-personal, professional and business…” Roman explained to the gathered women entrepreneurs, friends and families.  

Speaking at the occasion Samrawit gave tribute to her mother who she said had supported and guided her after her father’s death.  She also praised her better half Thomas Mattanovich, who she said has helped her tremendously in her way to success in the business world.

Borrowing the American talk show host Oprah Winfrey’s saying “for every one of us that succeeds, there’s somebody that shows you the way out,” Samrawit said “success does not come along on its own. There are always those who support us and lead us.”

Roman on her part said as AWiB’s membership size increases and ‘we find our strength, we are hoping to assist women who have the capacity but lack resources.’ Roman said the organization plans to become mentor to young women who need guidance, and help create a strong energetic workforce.

Nigist who is the founder and Executive Director of the Center for African Women Economic Empowerment (CAWEE), speaking at the event raised cultural drawbacks that the Ethiopian society faces such as talking about oneself is considered as boasting. And a woman has to be modest in her accomplishments and not seem to be seen as boastful. Nigist said that she had nominated eight women entrepreneurs for the award, but some of the nominated women didn’t respond and submit the required resume to TIAW.

Nigist has recently published a book compiling the findings of five different researches on challenges affecting women in business. She says, “We shouldn’t keep quiet of our successes because we have to be role models to other people and as such recognition of one’s effort by such organizations is a welcome step in that direction.”

In addition to Travel Ethiopia, Samrawit is also involved in Chancho flower PLC, Village Ethiopia, Blen Lodge, Flornesse Ethiopia cut flowers company, and Fressia Ethiopia farm in Sululta. She is board member of the Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Association (AACSA) and she was the first female president of one of the Rotary clubs in Ethiopia, the Addis Ababa Bole Rotary Club.

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