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Cartier Women’s Initiative Winners Selected

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The Cartier Women’s Initiative, an international business competition designed to support social impact-driven businesses led and owned by female entrepreneurs, has chosen its seven laureate winners for 2020.

Since the program began in 2006, it has supported more than 240 women-led businesses, hailing from 56 countries, creating more than 7,000 jobs. During this time, the Cartier Women’s Initiative has granted more than $3 million in funding, making it one of the largest and most generous female-focused entrepreneurial competitions in the world.

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The initiative provides women with financial, social and human capital support to help grow their businesses and build their leadership skills. In order to quality the for-profit must be generating revenue for at least one year, and the business must not have raised more than $2 million in dilutive funding. The business must be in the initial phase of its growth, between one and five years of operation.

Each of the seven laureates will receive a $100,000 investment in their business, while the 14 runners-up will each receive a $30,000 investment. All 21 finalists will receive mentoring, networking and business development support.

“This has certainly been a challenging time for all of us; for people all over the world.,” said Mercedes Abramo, president and chief executive officer, Cartier North America. “As early-stage entrepreneurs, our 21 Cartier Women’s Initiative fellows have faced their own unique set of trials. I’ve been incredibly impressed in learning about each of these amazing women, and how they’ve adapted their businesses over the past several months. At a time when good news feels hard to come by, I’m honored to help shine a light on these incredible women who are creating social and environmental impact throughout their communities and around the world.

“Though this year’s awards ceremony was unfortunately canceled, we’re excited to celebrate next year’s edition, which will include special recognition of our CWI 2020 fellows in Boston, marking the 18th anniversary of the Cartier Women’s Initiative,” Abramo said.

Selected among 1,200 applications from 159 different countries, the 2020 Cartier Women’s Initiative laureates are:

  • North America: Stephanie Benedetto, New York — Queen of Raw, an online marketplace for businesses to buy/sell deadstock fabrics and textiles, as a sustainable alternative to destroying them.
  • Latin America and the Caribbean: Adriana Luna Diaz, Mexico  — Tierra de Monte: A technology that relies on bacteria and fungi to rejuvenate plant and soil fertility, regulating diseases and pests in a safe, effective and affordable manner.
  • East Asia: Chunguang (Charlotte) Wang, China — Equota Energy (Technology) Shanghai Co. Ltd: A data analytics-driven emergency efficiency solution provider. They help clients understand their energy consumption in realtime and make recommendations for reductions that create cost and environmental impact savings.
  • South Asia and Oceania: Joanne Howarth, Australia —  Woolpack Australia — Planet Protector Packaging: A manufacturer of environmentally responsible insulated packaging (made of sheep’s wool) for temperature sensitive goods in transit.
  • Europe: Anna-Sophie Hartvigsen, Denmark — Female Invest: Seeks to educate women on investing, and to employ more women in the financial industry by organizing financial educational training for women via a membership model.
  • Sub-Saharan Africa: Temie Giwa-Tubosun, Nigeria — Life Bank: Delivers WHO-compliant essential products, such as blood and oxygen, to hospitals using their own network of motorbikes and boats.
  • Middle East and North Africa: Nadia Gamal El Din, Egypt — Rahet Bally: The Rahet Bally card offers discounts and access to health experts and hospitals. “The Club by Rahet Bally” is a facility that offers all the services a mom needs, including psychiatric counseling services, gyms and babysitting.

As reported in March, the finalists came from such industries as e-business/information systems; health and well-being; environment and energy; finance; education; social care, and electronics and technology. The women range from 25 to 60 years old, with the average age being 36.7. Interestingly, this year none of the finalists are from France, and none of the businesses are based there.

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