It has been 12 years since the launch of the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards; and Cartier remains as committed today to helping women entrepreneurs across the globe (49 countries to be exact) realise their social conscience visions. Offering coaching, mentoring, networking and publicity opportunities, the programme – launched in partnership with the Women’s Forum, McKinsey & Company and INSEAD Business School – also provides each of its 18 finalists funding to get their dreams off the ground: The six first prize winners will receive US$100,000, while the remaining 12 will receive US$30,000.
With the award ceremony happening this Thursday, 26 April, we speak to the 18 women to discover their greatest take away from the Initiative, and the lesson they’ll carry with them for the rest of their career.
MISSION: To provide women with 100% all-natural sanitary pads that offer positive impacts on health and the environment.
“They put us through a lot of different training programs and we learnt a lot: How to communicate what we do, our product, and also [coached us on] business skills and finances and that has been really helpful. I think one of the best things is also learning about the challenges [faced by the women here], because some of them are experiencing some of our issues, and being able to share experiences is an amazing thing as well.”
India, Arboreal Agro Innovations
MISSION: To provide diabetics and individuals battling obesity with Stevia: A 100% natural substitute for sugar
“The one thing I have learnt from this program is that communicating the story is an extremely important part of building a brand and business. You may have a great business model, a very strong theme, but, unless you are able to communicate that to your customers and your investors, it’s not going to help. It’s an extremely important part of entrepreneurism.”
Pakistan, Sehat Kahani
MISSION: To provide stay-at-home, out-of-work female doctors with a tele-health platform that connects them with underserved patients, while democratising health care access.
“I’m going to be very honest with you: It gets quite lonely as a female entrepreneur in Pakistan because there are not many, and it feels like a struggle everyday to push forward. But when I came here and met these 18 ladies, I saw that even though we are from different regions around the world, we have similar issues and difficulties. And all of them have surpassed them to be here. So it just reinforces that I am not alone and that there are other women in the world who have seen much worse, who have struggled; and who do such innovative work. So it is very energizing and inspiring and it motivates me to go back and work harder.”