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Business Council Announces Entrepreneurship Competition

It has been long known that security not only means the absence of violence, but also the presence of opportunity. It is this principle that underlies the work of the Business Council for Peace, or Bpeace, and a nationwide competition they have announced for Afghan entrepreneurs.

The competition, the Bpeace Race to Innovation, is inviting the brightest and most talented entrepreneurs in Afghanistan to submit their business ideas as part of a nationwide contest. Bpeace will provide award winners with pro-bono business consulting and access to capital to help transform their innovative business ideas into reality.

The Bpeace Race to Innovation will connect experienced businesspeople with entrepreneurs in order to strengthen and expand new Afghan businesses. Since 2004, Bpeace has worked with Afghan women to build businesses that have created jobs for more than 1,400 Afghans who support more than 12,000 family members.

The Race to Innovation will provide six male and female semi-finalists with a total value of $120,000 in technical assistance plus equipment and cash for start-up or expansion. For the first time, Bpeace will also enlist a nationwide Afghan online vote to select the best ideas. The top winner will additionally receive $10,000 in cash to expand or launch their business idea, and a trip to the U.S. to meet technical advisors in their industry.

According to Bpeace Co-founder and Chairperson, Toni Maloney: "This competition is a bold and innovative idea brought by a trusted friend to Afghanistan--Bpeace. The idea of searching for the newest and best business ideas in Afghanistan is a nod to the future. The Race to Innovation asks, 'What will be the next great Afghan businesses?' and then delivers the support that will enable those ventures to succeed faster and create more jobs, bringing stability and peace. The community focus is especially important, as it recognizes that progress involves all Afghans."

The deadline for submissions is August 15, 2009. Six semi-finalist award winners will be announced by October 1, 2009. Information on the contest can be found here.

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