, The Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards $100,000 To 8 Women Entrepreneurs, The Nzuchi News Forbes

The Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards $100,000 To 8 Women Entrepreneurs

Eight women entrepreneurs from around the world were named the winners of the Cartier Women’s Initiative (CWI) program for creating startup businesses that serve as catalysts for change and growth within their communities and the larger society. Each business owner, known as laureates, received $100,000 to fund their companies. An additional 16 finalists (the second and third runner ups) each received a $30,000 award. All totaled, $1,280,000 was awarded to the finalists.

For the second consecutive year the laureates were announced virtually, as were the three days of final presentations and special events surrounding the finals ceremony because of health concerns and restrictions placed on travel and large gatherings due to the global coronavirus pandemic. There was a small group of people in the U.S. able to view the event in person, but the vast majority around the world viewed the proceedings online.

This year, for the first time, the program launched the Science & Technology Pioneer Award. In addition to the seven existing regional awards, three more women entrepreneurs at the forefront of scientific and technological innovation will be recognized. Open to women entrepreneurs from any country and sector, this award highlights disruptive solutions built around unique, protected or hard-to-reproduce technological or scientific advances.

Hosted by Cyrille Vigneron, Cartier president and CEO, the virtual gathering brought together a diverse group of global leaders including prominent entrepreneur and author, Jacqueline Novogratz, journalist and author, Maria Shriver, scholar, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, as well as friends of Cartier such as actress and producer, Yara Shahidi. Together they discussed current challenges and shined a light on the opportunities to foster strength through adversity, build new alliances and uplift women impact entrepreneurs.

Vigneron in a video interview Tuesday said that the event went “surprisingly well. It was a different format but the same interaction with the fellows, the laureates. We had a very good lineup interesting speaker and panelists. The most interesting part is that even with the digital format, it was still very emotional. It still brought tears to many people crying in front of their screens. But we missed the physical part but the virtual hugs were very nice.”

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The winners are:

North America: Rebecca Hui (USA) – founder & CEO of Roots Studio, which keeps traditions intact by digitizing endangered art, providing IP education, and expanding market access into global fashion through royalties. The business is addressing a way to connect indigenous artists to a multibillion dollar market that has appropriated ethnic surface pattern designs for years.

Latin America: Valentina Rogacheva (Mexico) – founder of Verqor, which gives data-based cashless credits to financially excluded smallholder farmers, which they can use to buy agricultural supplies on Verqor’s platform.

East Asia: Corina Huang (Taiwan, China) – founder and CEO of Boncha Boncha International Company, which offers high-absorption candy pills to provide nutrition to people who have difficulty swallowing conventional pills.

South Asia & Oceania: Rebecca Percasky (New Zealand) – co-founder and director of The Better Packaging Co., which the global waste crisis by producing sustainable packaging, practicing product stewardship, and communicating and educating about waste.

Europe: Andrea Barber (Spain) – founder and CEO of RatedPower, which digitizes the renewable energy industry and maximize clean energy’s potential with a software as a service (SaaS) product that discovers the smartest ways to design solar energy plants and automates their engineering.

Middle East & North Africa: Basima Abdulrahman (Iraq) – founder and CEO of Kesk, which offers green building services and products that change the way buildings and communities are planned, constructed, maintained, and operated in Iraq.

Sub-Saharan Africa: Seynabou Dieng (Mali) – founder and CEO of MAYA SARL, a food processing company specializing in grocery store products using an inclusive model through partnership with farmers in Mali.

Science & Technology Pioneer Award: Orianna Bretschger (USA) – founder and CEO of Aquacycl, with its patented BioElectrochemical Treatment Technology (BETT), uses natural bacteria for the purpose of accelerating wastewater treatment rates, eliminating primary sludge, minimizing secondary sludge, producing electricity and making new molecular water that uses natural bacteria to accelerate wastewater treatment rates, producing electricity and making new molecular water.

The eight laureates were selected by an independent international jury committee among 876 applicants from more than 142 countries. Vigneron said the winners of the 2021 edition all share an unwavering commitment to generating positive change in the world by answering to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals of promoting good health & well-being, reducing inequalities and encouraging climate actions as well as responsible consumption and production.

“For the past fifteen years, the Cartier Women’s Initiative has celebrated women impact entrepreneurs. It has long been our belief that to thrive, they need an enabling environment, a supportive ecosystem and an empowering culture,” Vigneron said. “During the virtual gathering, like-minded individuals and organizations from all horizons joined us to explore how we can collectively uplift these outstanding change-makers. We look to the future with confidence by their side, as we witness them building up a tide of change, thus making the world a better place for generations to come.”

In addition to the prize money, the eight laureates and 16 finalists will all benefit from tailored one-on-one training, collective workshops, media visibility and international networking opportunities, as well as the opportunity to join an INSEAD impact entrepreneurship program.

The theme of the year-long process of deciding the laureates was called “The Ripple Effect.” For the 2021 edition, the Cartier Women’s Initiative program explored how to create and sustain the ripple effect ignited by these women changemakers, and how they pave the way for a better world for future generations.

The Cartier Women’s Initiative is a partnership initiated by Cartier and INSEAD Business School. Cartier leads the program and provides funding for the businesses while INSEAD serves as the strategic academic partner. A third partner is The Hoffmann Global Institute for Business and Society, which is providing the knowhow to align INSEAD with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

To celebrate the 15th anniversary of the initiative, the program will place impact at the heart of its 2022 edition by launching a new “Impact Award “which will reward past Cartier Women’s Initiative fellows that have made the most progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals and by hosting a world reunion for the Cartier Women’s Initiative community on March 8th, 2022.

Vigneron said that even though the virtual event went well he is looking forward to doing the event live next year.

“Something happens when everyone is in the same room. It is significant.”

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