Cartier Women’s Initiative 2024 | Uplifting Female Leaders



For the 17th consecutive year, Cartier continues its tradition of uplifting female leaders, creators and pioneers through its Women’s Initiative. This year’s programme features 33 entrepreneurs, whose businesses or inventions are at the forefront in solving a variety of global issues, such as those pertaining to health and wellness, inequality and sustainability.


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While recent statistics paint a promising picture for female entrepreneurs, showcasing millions of women leading businesses worldwide, these figures only tell part of the story. Female entrepreneurs are still a minority in the entrepreneurial ecosystem and continue to face many hurdles. These challenges are not just limited to social expectations or gender bias, but also in securing funds, connecting to supportive networks and finding role models or mentors to guide them. 

The Cartier Women’s Initiative was forged from an understanding of these challenges that female entrepreneurs face, as well as to support women’s advancement through business environments by providing them with the necessary financial, social and human capital to grow their business. As Wingee Sin, Global Program Director at Cartier Women’s Initiative says, the program is open to women-run and women-owned businesses from any country and sector that aim to have a strong and sustainable social and/ or environmental impact on society, delivering meaningful solutions to the most pressing global challenges. 


The program comprises a total of 11 awards. 9 of these awards are regional and award entrepreneurs from different parts of the world, the other two awards are thematic, awarded to pioneers who have created unique advances in the field of science and technology or entrepreneurs who have contributed to matters of diversity, equity and inclusion within society.  The recipients of these awards will receive cash prices. For 2024, Cartier had increased its grant funding to 2 million USD. The first-place winners of the awards will receive $ 100,000 in funding, while the second and third-place winners will receive $60,000 and $ 30,000 respectively. 

Apart from its financial aid, all 33 fellows can take advantage of the program's media visibility, networking opportunities and lifelong access to the CWI community. This is a community comprising the current and former fellows, mentors, jury members, coaches and other program partners. The program also partners with entrepreneurship and investment organisations, creating a network enriched with opportunities. Furthermore, the members are offered a 1 year fellowship program for impact entrepreneurs. This program offers training in impact entrepreneurship with INSEAD Business School for leadership communication, business topics and executive coaching. 



This year’s event yields a variety of talented female entrepreneurs, hailing from 23 countries. They are all founders of young companies that are focused on creating successful market-based solutions to social or environmental challenges. 

One of these companies is Green Spot Technologies. Founded by French entrepreneur Ninna Graucci, Green Spot seeks to combat food waste while bettering nutrition. This is done by converting food by-products that are destined for landfill, like seeds, peels and pulp to tasty powders that can be used as food ingredients. It's a well-known fact that food waste is one of the largest problems that plague our society today. Companies like Granucci's Green Spot are vital in enabling solutions for a more sustainable world. So far, Green Spot has saved 150 tons of food waste and prevented the release of 450 tons of CO2. For her entrepreneurial efforts and innovation, Granucci is a nominee of the Science and technology pioneer award. 

Another female pioneer with a passion for creating sustainable solutions is Amaia Rodríguez from Spain. Rodriguez co-founded Gravity Wave which partners with traditional fishermen in the Mediterranean to collect plastic waste and fishing nets that it then recycles and transforms into furniture and other products. Since its founding in 2020, Gravity Wave has collected more than 500,000 kilograms (500 tons) of plastic from the ocean. 

Over on the other side of the world, Marlene Molero Suárez, a nominee for the regional award for Latin America and the Caribbean, is the creator of ELSA. This is a software platform designed to combat and bring awareness to the problem of sexual violence against women in the workplace. Between 2021 and 2023, the platform has helped approximately 500,000 people, reducing incidence of sexual harassment by 60%  across Latin American and Caribbean. 

Similarly, another company dedicated to bettering the lives of marginalised groups within society is Trestle Labs. Founded by Indian entrepreneur Akshitha Sachdeva, Trestle Labs began as a means to provide braille and audiobooks to the visually impaired people within the country. Since its launching, the company has made more than one million books available to the visually impaired and reached more than 600 institutions. As of 2023,the company has expanded  to across 30 countries as part of its mission to address the global challenge of disability inclusion. Sachdeva is also a nominee of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award. 

Another ground-breaking company is that of finalist for Oceania award, Frances Bilbao. Bilbao began her company Mums Matter Psychology to support Australian women’s mental health during pregnancy and the first years of their children’s lives through specialized therapy both in person and via telehealth. Over the past eight years, Mums Matter Psychology has provided free therapy to more than 5,600 clients across Australia and estimates that it has reduced the national costs of perinatal depression and anxiety by USD $30.7 million.


These women, along with the other fellows are part of Cartier's long-held objective of empowering female entrepreneurs. Since its inception in 2006, the programme has  supported 330 impact entrepreneurs hailing from 66 countries, and  awarded a total of USD $9,500,000 in grant funding. It has created a strong network of entrepreneurs and supporters who are united by the single mission to solve global problems of the present, and improve the future, not just for women but for all of humanity. 

The winners for this year’s awards will be announced on the 22nd of May during the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards Ceremony that will be held in the leading city for innovation and entrepreneurship Shenzhen, China.


Highlight Image:
@ Ilsoovandijk

+ Words:
Liza Silva
Luxiders Magazine