The founder of a large construction company in Mozambique has won a top United Nations award for quality, sustainability and environmental protection – and for leadership in a male-dominated sector.
Civil engineer Uneiza Ali Issufo (pictured) founded her company ConsMoz Ltd. in Nampula after struggling to get ahead working other firms, despite being president of her local contractors’ association.
After participating in UN entrepreneurship training workshop in 2017, organised by Empretec, the MBA graduate was able to expand her business so that it now employs 800 women and men, and lands large building contracts with a focus on sustainability.
She beat other contestants from around the world to win Gold Prize in the Women in Business Awards in Geneva, Switzerland on 25 October, organised by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
Judges praised Issufo "for courage and audacity as a woman starting a green construction business, and her systematic and ongoing efforts to grow her business in innovative ways, creating employment opportunities for local communities particularly women."
"Taking risk is my natural way of being," Issufo said. "You cannot discover the oceans unless you dare to lose sight of the pier."
She and other winners will be showered with gifts, including a watch by Delance of Switzerland, and others donated by sponsors including MontBlanc.
They will also receive personal development opportunities, including mentoring from impact investor Skyar, a study tour in Brazil donated by Lavazza, an executive course in digital marketing by IMD Lausanne, Switzerland, and mentoring by the MBA Business School in Grenoble, France.
The gala ceremony was held during the World Investment Forum 2018 in the historic Assembly Hall of the Palais des Nations in Geneva.
Winning Silver was Lama Sha’sha’a Abu Dahab, of the International Robotics Academy, in Jordan.
Bronze Award went to Barbara Ofwono Buyondo, of Victorious Education Services, Uganda.
Image: Civil engineer Uneiza Ali Issufo founded her company ConsMoz Ltd. after struggling to get ahead as an employee in other firms (UNCTAD)