Driving change by empowering women entrepreneurs.
If you are a woman with bold ideas, celebrate.
The Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards is open to women-run, for-profit businesses in any country and sector aiming to create a strong social impact. Since its founding in 2006, more than 16,000 women worldwide have applied, and 198 businesses from 49 countries have been supported by nearly 400 jury members and coaches.
Past finalists and laureates hail from a broad range of industries including environmental, healthcare, design, technology, and education. This year’s 18 finalists were selected from 2800 applications spanning more than 130 countries (Austria, Cameroon and Pakistan for the first time).
From an online blood bank that collects and dispatches blood donations to hospitals, to a multi-disciplinary coding school that provides young Africans with digital and professional skills training, the Awards supports such projects by women entrepreneurs.
Eligibility criteria for the Awards:
- “The project must be an original for-profit business creation in its initial phase (2 to 3 years old) led by a woman.
- The “for-profit” requirement: should be designed to generate revenues, non-profit project proposals not accepted.
- The “originality” requirement: should be a new concept, wholly conceived by the founder or team, and not a copy or subsidiary of an existing business.
- The “initial phase” requirement: should be in the first stages of its development (between 2-3 years).
- Main leadership position must be filled by a woman, good command of English required (both verbal and written).
- Legal entry age: 18 or the age of legal majority in country of citizenship (whichever is older) on the day of the application deadline.”
In partnership with TED
The Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards is partnering with TED, the non-profit dedicated to ideas worth spreading, to further develop Cartier’s mission to support women entrepreneurs and encourage creative excellence.
A specially curated TED session will be held during the Cartier Awards ceremony at The Capella on 26 April 2018, during which the laureates will be announced.
With “Bold Alchemy” as the theme of the 2018 ceremony, the TED session will feature conversations between women entrepreneurs and thought leaders about how “innovative efforts, when combined together, can create audacious alchemy, resulting in bold and impactful new creations”.
Representing the top three projects from each of the six regions, the 18 finalists will receive personalized business coaching, media visibility, networking opportunities, and a place on the INSEAD Executive Program (ISEP). First prize for the six laureates includes US$100,000 and one-to-one personalized business mentoring; second prize for the twelve finalists is US$30,000.
The Maison continues to drive change by encouraging women entrepreneurs to contribute towards effective solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.
With the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards, our Maison aims to contribute to women’s empowerment efforts worldwide, and thus mirror Cartier’s values: curiosity, audacity, caring for others and willpower to lead the change. Sharing these women’s dreams and lives is part of who we are.”
– Cyrille Vigneron, CEO of Cartier International
This post was edited on 26th April 2018 following the Awards ceremony.
The six laureates of the 2018 edition of the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards are:
Arboreal Agro Innovations
As a trainee nurse in Cameroon, Melissa Bime watched helplessly as a five year-old girl died of malaria-induced anaemia: the hospital had no compatible blood for transfusion. Only afterwards did it transpire that the girl’s blood type had been available at a facility nearby.
Melissa set out to prevent such fatalities by creating Infiuss, a digital supply-chain platform that operates a database of blood types available in connected hospitals, and offers transportation service to take blood to the patients.
With the World Health Organisation figures stating 87.5% of Sub-Saharan African countries collect less than half of the blood they require, Melissa is on a mission to heighten awareness and change the situation in Cameroon and beyond.
Despite numerous challenges, Infiuss is working with six hospitals and has transported over 230 litres of blood, undaunted in its bid to save lives.
On completing her MBA, mechanical engineer Paula Gomez sought out the ideal business opportunity and found it at home, where her mother had been researching a way to predict an epileptic seizure. Realising the power of such a breakthrough, Paula founded Epistemic to turn this research into a product.
Its eponymous prototype is a non-invasive divide that predicts seizures and notifies caregivers via a mobile app. Electrodes fitted to a headgear send out electroencephalography signals to a processor, which analyses the potential for an impending seizure and sends a text message to the caregiver with information on the patient’s geo-location.
By giving sufferers time to prepare for or to prevent the seizure, Epistemic offers greater autonomy in their daily lives. With epilepsy ranked the world’s most common chronic brain disorder, affecting up to 50 million, Paula plans to positively impact millions of lives.
As a trainee doctor, YiDing Yu, spotted a problem in the hospital patient intake process. Ambulance operators are only able to contact ER departments via radio transmissions that are not secure and often disrupted.
So when patients arrive, the hospital must register their clinical information and conduct and echocardiogram – losing precious treatment time for life-threatening conditions, such as heart attacks and strokes.
Determined to save time and lives, YiDing developed Twiage – a digital platform and cloud system that transmits real-time data to the hospital from the ambulance. Twiage uses a mobile app and secure data streams to register patients at the hospital before arrival, shaving the typical 90-minute benchmark to as little as 30 minutes to accelerate life-saving care.
Already at work in 16 hospitals in the US, Twiage aims to become a standard of care globally.
When a bling friend asked Kristina Tsventanova to help him register for a university course, she was stunned – it shouldn’t have to be a struggle to complete such a basic task. A trained mechanical engineer, she set out to provide a wide-scale solution. The result is BLITAB®, the first tactile e-tablet for the bling and visually impaired.
Producing publications Braille is a lengthy, costly process that results in bulky volumes. BLITAB® uses a complex layered structure of materials that converts text to tiny liquid dots that rise from the tablet and can be read using hands or as an audio-document.
Priced at USD500, BLITAB® has attracted the attention of NGOs and educational institutions.
This innovative technology could put all electronic texts at visually impaired people’s fingertips and keep Braille alive as the key to literacy for them.
Working as a teacher to pay for her studies in biology, Siroun Shamigian liked it so much she decided to become a teacher herself. After a long career in Lebanon, she noticed her students starting to struggle with Arabic literacy and discovered a lack of education technology tools for Arabic.
To fill this gap in the market, she become an entrepreneur and founded Kamkalima, a web-based platform to support students and help teachers do what they do best, teach, rather than continuously correct.
Siroun has created content for Kamkalima that is humorous and engaging. The platform uses machine-learning algorithms to offer individualised feedback to students. It also integrates visual cues intended to support users with learning disabilities.
Kamkalima is currently deployed in 22 schools across Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates, helping youngsters to express themselves articulately in Arabic.