Maria Contreras-Sweet Award for Global Impact

Award Description

The Maria Contreras-Sweet Award for Global Impact recognizes a government official or policy expert that has helped create a strong ecosystem to support diverse entrepreneurs in his/her country. The award highlights leadership that gives all entrepreneurs the power to innovate and advance social and environmental good globally.  Particular emphasis will be placed on officials/experts who have disrupted established systems in order to address the entrepreneurship needs of underserved/underrepresented communities.  Overall, the award honors an official/expert that embodies a global example of how government programs can empower entrepreneurs to solve societal challenges and further a more inclusive humanity.




Award Criteria

Nominations for the Maria Contreras-Sweet Award for Global Impact must be for a government official or policy expert who launched a small business program/initiative that further strengthened an inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem.  Submissions will be evaluated on the following:

  • A clear commitment to developing open, transparent, and meaningful policies so that entrepreneurs can compete on a level playing field and connect and collaborate with one another.
  • An assessment of the impact of the program/initiative with regard to furthering small business ownership, access to capital and availability of counseling and support for entrepreneurs, especially in underserved/underrepresented communities.
  • A demonstrated ability to overcome hardships and barriers such as lack of funding or support, cultural shifts and other setbacks.
  • The program’s ability to be replicated and the overall global impact the program could have on strengthening communities if replicated across the world.
  • The degree to which the officials/experts are advocates and role models for the plight of their programs and serve as the voice of especially underserved/underrepresented communities.


Nomination Form

Nomination forms will be available on December 8, 2016 and will close January 27, 2017.  Award will be given out at the GEN Compass Awards Ceremony during the Global Entrepreneurship Congress on Tuesday, March 17, 2017, in Johannesburg, South Africa. You can find the form at