Influential and enterprising women have always inspired the creativity of Cartier. Joining forces with the Women’s Forum, INSEAD and McKinsey & Company, Cartier created in 2006 the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards, an annual international business plan competition to accompany and guide initiatives by women entrepreneurs.
The Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards aim to encourage the most vulnerable category of entrepreneurs in their most vulnerable phase: women entrepreneurs starting up. Since their inception 8 years ago, they have accompanied over 100 promising female business-owners and recognized 38 Laureates. The 2014 call for applications for the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards is now open and Cartier is looking for women leading for-profit responsible enterprises.
Women-led companies regularly outperform those led by men, be it 21.4% higher returns on average in 2009 on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Stock Index to reports that women-run firms in China, for example, made 7.8% more profit in 2011 than those run by their male counterparts. Yet still too few women make the leap into business, even in countries where equality is championed. Alongside social constraints and family obligations, one stumbling block is the lack of access to advice and support to help get started.
This is why alongside receiving a financial reward a US$20,000, each Laureate will benefit from networking and visibility opportunities and, most importantly, personalized business coaching for one year. Each partner of the Awards brings its expertise to the initiative: Cartier plays a leading role in the organisation of the competition and provides coaching and funding for the projects; the Women’s Forum offers important visibility and networking opportunities for the finalists; INSEAD and McKinsey & Company coach the finalists.
Last year, Namita Banka, an Ennovent Network member, was nominated Laureate for Asia Pacific. Her enterprise, Banka Bioloo, produces environmentally friendly bio-toilets. “The entire journey was fantastic, with a lot of learning on the way, and provided a strong formal structure to the business. » Namita explains. One of the aspects of the Awards which helped her was the coaching: « It was marvelous to be introduced to my coach, and having the coaching sessions. Each session helped me understand the intricacies of the business plan, and bring further finesse. » The other Laureates for the five other regions came from a wide range of businesses, from the pharmaceutical industry to the educational sector.
The Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards are open to women of all ages running any business that fulfils the main value criteria: innovation, financial sustainability and social impact. Applications for the 2014 edition are open until February 28th.