Deadline: August 31, 2016; 10 am Paris time (CET) | Apply here
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$ 20000 USD in funding, one year of coaching, networking opportunities and media exposure

Since 2006, the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards has supported over a 100 female entrepreneurs worldwide. Each year, 18 finalists are selected, 6 of whom become Laureates.

Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards

The Cartier Women’s Initiative Award offers funding, coaching, networking opportunities and media exposure. It is a unique opportunity for early-phase women entrepreneurs to take their companies to the next level. The Award is designed to maximize the learning experience for candidates, finalists and laureates.

‘‘In less than a decade, the Cartier Awards has grown from attracting 360 to nearly 2000 applications. With a growth in both the quantity and the quality of the businesses applying, the initiative has become a transformative step in the lives of 162 women entrepreneurs in over 45 countries.’’

— Cyrille Vigneron, CEO of Cartier.

Finalists get access to coaching, entrepreneurial workshop and media visibility. The Laureates receive a unique and comprehensive support package: $ 20000 USD in funding, one year of coaching, networking opportunities and media exposure.

Join the Awards Community and apply now to become one of the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards 2016 finalists.

Highlights of the competition

  • One-to-one personalized business coaching
  • Awards Week: entrepreneurship workshops, press conference, presentation to the jury members and networking opportunities
  • Winning package of the Laureates: a trophy designed by Cartier, an additional year of coaching, $20000 USD in funding and media visibility.

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 and coaching;
  • To foster the spirit of enterprise by celebrating role models in entrepreneurship;
  • To create an international network of women entrepreneurs and encourage peer networking.

The annual competition involves two rounds:

Round 1: 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 business people to move to the next round.

Round 2: The Finalists are invited to the final round of competition which includes submitting a detailed business plan and presenting their projects in front of the Jury.

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.

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 162 promising female business-owners and recognized 58 Laureates.


The Cartier Women’s Initiative Award is looking for committed female entrepreneurs heading initiatives with the potential to grow significantly in the years to come. The selection of the finalists and laureates of the competition is done by an independent international Jury of entrepreneurs, investors, business executives and other profiles engaged in the support of female entrepreneurship.

Eligibility Criteria

The project to be considered for the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards must be an original for-profit business creation in its initial phase (2 to 3 years old) led by a woman .

  • The “for-profit” requirement: the business submitted for the Award must be designed to generate revenues. We do not accept non-profit project proposals.
  • The “originality” requirement: we want your project to be a new concept, conceived and imagined by the founder and her team and not a copy or subsidiary of an existing business.
  • The “initial phase” requirement: the project you submit should be in the first stages of its development with at least two years of operations and sales to account for but no older than 3 years. This means that in order for the business to be considered eligible, it must have been incorporated between August 2013 and August 2014.
  • The main leadership position must be filled by a woman. A good command of English is required (both verbal and written) to take full advantage of the benefits the Award has to offer.
  • All entrants must be aged 18 or the age of legal majority in their respective countries or states of citizenship, whichever is older, on the day of the application deadline.

Evaluation Criteria

The Jury evaluates the projects based on criteria of creativity, sustainability (potential for growth) and impact.

  • The creativity criterion: the Jury looks at the degree of innovation shown by the overall business concept, the uniqueness of the project on the market or country where it is being developed.
  • The sustainability criterion: the Jury examines the financial impact of the business, its revenue model, development strategy and other aspects indicating its chances of long-term success and future growth.
  • The impact criterion: the Jury evaluates the effect of the business on society, in terms of jobs created or its effect on the immediate or broader environment.
  • The overall quality and clarity of the material presented: the Jury is looking for motivated and committed entrepreneurs who are passionate about their initiatives. Being clear and concise, organizing your ideas and not repeating yourself will show that you are serious about your application.

Evaluation Process

  • In the first phase of the competition, the Jury examines the application forms and selects the top three candidates per region who become « finalists » of the Award. The finalists are coached to move into the next phase.
  • In the second phase, the Jury evaluates the detailed business plans and oral pitches of each finalist. Based on the quality of the written and oral parts, one Laureate for each of the six regions(*) is selected.
  • The announcement of the Laureates takes place during the Awards ceremony.


Before starting to fill in your application form, please  make sure you are eligible to apply. Please download the questionnaire template and read the guidelines here. These documents will enable you to save all your answers and then copy and paste them into the online questionnaire form.

In order to complete your application you will be asked to submit a digital version of your resume, a scanned copy of your company’s registration, a proof of patent (if applicable) and detailed information on your company’s financials.

Please make sure you have all of these requisites before starting your application as you will be asked for them in order to continue later on.

For more business and career opportunities, check our opportunities section and subscribe to our weekly newsletters.


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