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Cartier Chooses Pepy Tours as Finalist in Women's Initiative Business Plan Competition

(Forimmediaterelease.net) Daniela Papi was chosen as a finalist in the Cartier Women’s Initiative business plan competition in recognition of her groundbreaking approach to sustainable tourism with PEPY Tours. Daniela is one of 15 finalists worldwide in the contest, which concludes October 11, 2007. The five winning entrants, one from each continental region, will receive a $20,000 grant and one year of business coaching from the competition sponsors.

PEPY Tours brings volunteer-minded adventurers to Cambodia for volunteer trips or active holidays blending volunteer service with cycling tours or temple safaris. The first PEPY Ride in 2005 - a cycling tour across Cambodia - raised enough money to build a school building in Siem Reap province. PEPY, an acronym for “Protect the Earth, Protect Yourself,” has a dual mission: to promote environmental conservation and awareness and improve education in rural Cambodia. Since that first ride in 2005 more than 200 adventurous travelers have chosen to experience Cambodia with PEPY – enjoying a rare combination of volunteering and touring, with the added bonus of seeing the countryside by bicycle.

As the demand for volunteer tourism has grown, PEPY’s operations rapidly expanded and The PEPY Ride was quickly established as an NGO. Profits made by PEPY Tours are invested in the PEPY Ride NGO, which supports various educational and environmental programs, as well as projects with partner NGOs. In addition to the trip fee for PEPY Tours, each participant contributes a tax-deductible, donation fee that supports the ongoing humanitarian projects in Cambodia visited on the tour.

PEPY Ride has thus far funded the construction of buildings at two rural schools in Cambodia, and initiated an ongoing Bike-to-School program which gives students the ability to easily commute to secondary schools. “If we’re successful, we’ll launch the business elsewhere in South-East Asia with partner NGOs in other countries,” Daniela states. “At all times, our priority will be to assist our constituent communities whilst simultaneously offering an important life experience to our clients.” Efforts are currently focused in Cambodia, but supporters have also held PEPY events, fundraisers, and cycling trips worldwide.

Of PEPY Tours, Daniela observes, “The concept is clear, but we need expertise to market it appropriately, and capital to launch it successfully.” As a finalist in the Cartier competition, Daniela has already received coaching to strengthen PEPY’s business plan for future growth. The competition is jointly run by Cartier and the Women’s Forum, with sponsorship from McKinsey business consulting firm and INSEAD business school. The competition results will be announced at the Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society in Deauville, France, on October 11th.

Learn more about the competition at www.cartierwomensinitiative.com. For more information about PEPY, to make a donation, or to sign up for any of the upcoming volunteer trips, please visit www.pepyride.org.

The PEPY Ride is a New York State registered Non-for-Profit Corporation founded in 2005 to support educational projects in developing countries and disaster relief areas with a focus on the relationship between the environment and our health. Emphasizing education through action, where participants both learn from and give back to the communities they visit, PEPY Tours organizes volunteer and adventure travel in developing countries and redevelopment areas suffering from natural disasters.

Maryann Bylander 914-458-4262 teamleader@pepyride.org

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