Press releases

Kenya’s GBC team is the winner of the 2015 WVEF Tech Challenge

3 September 2015
ITC News
ITC, Google, and CI&T select Greenbell Communications of Kenya to build digital platform in campaign to connect one million women entrepreneurs to markets.

(São Paulo) – Greenbell Communications (GBC) of Kenya has been chosen as the winner of the 2015 WVEF Tech Challenge, a joint initiative between the International Trade Centre (ITC), Google and CI&T. The announcement was made during the closing ceremony at the Women Vendors Exhibition and Forum (WEVF), held in São Paulo, Brazil, in partnership with Apex-Brasil.

The winning bid by the GBC team was chosen following the launch of the Tech Challenge in July, which saw more than 300 companies enter the competition. Web and app developers were asked to develop a digital solution that will support an ITC initiative launched on 1 September to connect one million women entrepreneurs to markets by 2020.

Representing the GBC team in São Paulo, Catherine Njau, said: ‘We didn’t know what we were doing at first. It was a scary experience, but my boss pushed us to do it. We decided not to not stop until it worked and we needed the help of everyone on the team.’

‘Winning is ecstatic and I am so happy. And I look forward to working with ITC, Google and CI&T and grow with them. And I am really looking forward to going to Qatar and the new challenges ahead and that the team and I deliver beyond expectation,’ she said.

The GBC team created a Women Vendors Exhibition and Forum application that aims to connect women entrepreneurs across the world. The GBC team consisted of Kenneth Muturi, Michael Buluma, Rose Maghas, Anastacia Ndunge, Eric Muthomi and Catherine Njau.

Announcing the winner, ITC Executive Director Arancha González said: ‘This is the first time that ITC has held such a tech challenge. It has confirmed that the innovative pool is a deep one and that technological platforms can be used to facilitate problems of access and connection that many female entrepreneurs face. All of the finalists showed an appreciation for these constraints and build solutions that economically empower the women in our network to grow through trade.’

‘We were amazed and impressed but all the finalists and they are all winners,’ Ms. González said.

ITC, Google and CI&T will in the coming months work closely with the winner of the tech challenge, the GBC team from Kenya, to further develop and launch the final product in 2015. In addition, the GBC were invited to present the project at the upcoming World Export Development Forum, which will be held in Doha, Qatar, on 20-21 October.

Ms González also announced that the jury had decided to award a special mention to the Empowerit team. They were chosen to participate in ITC’s Youth and Trade Programme to help them incubate their ideas further and develop their business skills. They were also invited to come to Nairobi, Kenya, for the World Trade Organization’s Ministerial Council in December.

Lucas Castanheira of Google Brasil, said: ‘Technology can be a powerful tool to help solve global social issues. All of the finalists proposed practical and effective solutions to foster women entrepreneurship and it was difficult to pick a winner, but the GBC team offered a solution that clearly addresses the challenges women entrepreneurs face today.’

Aminadab Nunes of CI&T said: ‘In just a few short years we’ve observed cloud-based technology open up new channels for communication, innovation and commerce. We are so proud of all who participated in the Tech Challenge and seeing their motivation to help women around the world grow their businesses is what continues to inspire and motivate CI&T.’

André Favero, Business Director at Apex-Brasil, said: ‘It’s especially rewarding to see technology being used to support women entrepreneurship. As we know, technology has been at the heart of many of the great advancements lately and it is excellent when we can use it for the benefit of such a great cause.’

The runners-up Women on Business | Costa Rica

The Women on Business team developed a website that allows entrepreneurs to offer their products and services for small and medium-sized companies, as well as for large corporations sizes. Rita Rivera, an entrepreneur with 15 years of experience in the IT sector, led the team. When Rita received the news that she had passed to the second phase of the Tech Challenge, she enlisted the help of a team of developers David Sanche Alban, Katherine, Serrano Gamboa and Aura Herrera Solis to work on the project.

The WomenSupply App | Brazil

The WomenSupply App is an application in which an entrepreneur can register her business using filter options to simplify the way that companies need to go to find the service they need. The WomenSupply App team was led by Mary Camila from Curitiba, Brazil, with the support of Nathan Pedroso and Silvia Amelia.

The Market Matcher | Thailand

The Market Matcher developed a website that allows women-owned businesses to sell their products using a text-analysis technology that recommend products and services for both buyers and sellers registered on the site. The Market Matcher team consisted of Bangkok-based Anugoon Leelphattarakij, an IT consultant, and his brother Pairote, an entrepreneur.

Empowerit | Brazil

The Empowerit team developed a digital platform to facilitate the buying and selling of products or services between businesswomen. The app includes features for direct chats, videos and profiles, and set out to use technology to reach entrepreneurs in rural areas. The Empowerit team was led by Brenda Miranda from Cabo Frio, Brazil, who called on the support of developer friends Marcela Alves, Vini Alkin, Wallacy Cleyton, and Natalí Araújo, Belford Roxo.

For media enquiries, please contact

ITC | Jarle Hetland hetland [at] (hetland[at]intracen[dot]org) | +41 22 730 0145 or +41 79 582 9180

Google | Mônica Wanderley | monica.wanderley [at] (monica[dot]wanderley[at]imagemcorporativa[dot]com[dot]br)

CI&T | Marília Honório| mhonorio [at] (mhonorio[at]ciandt[dot]com) | +55 19 99649 4481

Apex-Brasil | Renata Moreira| renata.moreira [at] (renata[dot]moreira[at]apexbrasil[dot]com[dot]br) | +55 61 3426 0793

Notes to editors

About the International Trade Centre

ITC is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. ITC assists small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets, thereby contributing to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid-for-Trade agenda and the Millennium Development Goals.