Under the scorching Ghanaian heat, Salma Abdulai visits women who farm the fonio grains and talks about land management systems. Halfway round the world, under the humid Brazilian heat, Candice Pascoal talks to local campaign creators about potential international donors.
Fast-forward to April this year and with the theme “Transform. Lead the change you want to see”, Salma and Abdulai were joined by Katie Anderson from the US, Ciara Donlon from Ireland, Sara-Kristina Hannig Nour from Egypt and Trupti Jain from India as laureates of Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards.
Open to any women-run, for-profit business in all countries and sectors with strong social impact and sustainable financials, the Awards were created in 2006 and have seen 12,900 applicants; this year alone saw almost 1,900 applicants from 120 countries. From all the entries, 18 were chosen by an independent international jury before it boiled down to six women to receive the ultimate prize.
“With a growth in both the quantity and the quality of the businesses applying, the initiative has become a transformative step in the lives of 162 women entrepreneurs in over 45 countries and creates more than 5,000 jobs,” Cyrille Vigneron, CEO of Cartier International, said.
Aside from an increase of the prize money and a year of personalised mentoring, media visibility and networking opportunities, each laureate will also earn a place in the INSEAD Executive Program (ISEP). This programme has been redesigned with help from INSEAD Business School’s partners to provide a better match between the finalists’ needs and the coaches’ expertise.
Presented in the Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall and hosted by the INSEAD Asia Campus, both in Singapore, the event was also attended by speakers and change makers who are passionate about women’s vision and values—most notably was a keynote speech was by Eunice Olsen, a Singaporean TV personality and champion of women empowerment.
With the Awards, Vigneron said that the Maison aims to contribute to women’s empowerment efforts worldwide and thus mirrors Cartier’s values: curiosity, audacity, caring for others and willpower to lead the change. Contributing to global economy, finding effective and affordable solutions for the next generation and encouraging more women to achieve their full potential are other goals Cartier aims for.