The Cartier Women's Initiative Awards are an international business plan competition created in 2006 by Cartier, the Women's Forum, McKinsey & Company and INSEAD business school to identify, support and encourage projects by women entrepreneurs.
The mission of the Cartier Women's Initiative Awards is threefold:
- To identify and support initial-phase women entrepreneurs through funding
- To foster the spirit of enterprise by celebrating role models in entrepreneurship
- To create an international network of women entrepreneurs and encourage
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 in 2006, they have accompanied over 100 promising female business-owners and recognized 32 Laureates.
The annual competition involves two rounds:
Round 1 (in June): The Jury selects 18 Finalists*, the top three projects of each region (Latin America, North America, Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East & North Africa, Asia-Pacific), on the basis of their short business plans. They receive coaching from experienced businesspeople to move to the next round.
Round 2 (in October): The Finalists are invited to France for the final round of competition which includes submitting a detailed business plan and presenting their projects in front of the Jury. They are also invited to the Annual Global Meeting of the Women's Forum.
Based on the quality of the plan and the persuasiveness of the verbal presentation, one Laureate for each of the six regions is selected and receives a unique and comprehensive support package: US $ 20 000 of funding, one year of coaching, networking opportunities and media exposure.
* Until 2010, only 15 finalists, and five Laureates. See news