Inside Track for Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards


Smart entrepreneurs seek out all the help, advice, and support that they can find. So when a top retail brand offers the chance to win $20,000 in funding, one year of coaching, networking opportunities and media exposure, it kind of makes sense to at least consider applying.

Cartier Women's Initiative Awards
Chen Chunhong, 2011 Laureate for Asia-Pacific and Keiko Honda, Jury member for Asia-Pacific.

The Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards is currently in the call for applications for their 2013 competition. Obviously, by the name, it’s only open to exceptional women entrepreneurs who are involved with for-profit, responsible, creative startups that are one to three years old.

According to their website, the mission of the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards is threefold:

  1. To identify and support initial-phase women entrepreneurs through funding and coaching
  2. To foster the spirit of enterprise by celebrating role models in entrepreneurship
  3. To create an international network of women entrepreneurs and encourage peer networking

This annual competition, now in its seventh year, involves two rounds and is kind of structured like an international version of a startup accelerator.  Round 1 (in June) has the jury selecting 18 finalists, which are the top three projects from 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 then receive coaching from experienced mentors over for or five months as they move to the next round. Round 2 (in October) invites the finalists to France for a detailed business plan pitch to 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: $20,000 of funding, one year of coaching, networking opportunities and media exposure.

The deadline to apply this year is March 8, 2013 to celebrate International Women’s Day.

If you’re interested, Startup Hawaii has a local contact who has helped winning teams in the past, and is available to provide more information. Just email Startup Hawaii if you’re interested.