GEN Accepting Nominations for New Global Award Recognizing Startup Policy Impact

Jessica Wray Bradner | December 12, 2016
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Award honors SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet’s legacy of championing entrepreneurship in economies around the world


The Global Entrepreneurship Network announced today it is accepting nominations for its new global startup policy award to honor the work of Maria Contreras-Sweet, administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration. The award was announced at the Startup Nations Summit in Cork, Ireland, and recognizes a government official or policy expert that has helped create a strong ecosystem to support diverse entrepreneurs in his or her country.

The Maria Contreras-Sweet Award for Global Impact highlights leadership that gives all entrepreneurs the power to innovate and advance social and environmental good globally. GEN is now accepting nominations for officials and experts who have disrupted established systems in order to address the entrepreneurial needs of underserved or underrepresented communities.

Overall, the award honors an individual that embodies a global example of how government programs can empower entrepreneurs to solve societal challenges and further a more inclusive humanity.

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 or initiative that further strengthened an inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem. [Read more on award criteria.]

Contreras-Sweet was recently recognized for her work to bring economic growth and prosperity to the world through entrepreneurship and small business development during the Startup Nations Summit in Cork, Ireland, as part of the official closing to Global Entrepreneurship Week this November.

Part of Contreras-Sweet’s accomplishments include her launching of an annual Ministerial as part of the Global Entrepreneurship Congress, to gather ministers responsible for startup policies for a high-level discussion on how best to support entrepreneurs. Now in its third year, the Ministerial will be held in March of 2017, in Johannesburg, South Africa. The first winner of the Maria Contreras-Sweet Award for Global Impact will be announced at the GEC during the GEN gala dinner and awards ceremony.

As the head of the SBA, she oversees the world’s largest seed fund and the largest middle market fund of funds, as well as a $120 billion loan portfolio. The agency also directs the world’s largest business counseling network and one-quarter of U.S. federal procurement activity to small businesses. 

Nominations are open through January 27, 2017. The award will be given at the GEC on Tuesday, Marcy 14, 2017, in Johannesburg. Learn more about award criteria and how to submit a nomination at

Jessica Wray Bradner
Jessica is a former multimedia journalist with a background in print and online media. At the Global Entrepreneurship Network, she creates daily... About the Author