Get Up to $ 100,000 grant for Women Entrepreneurs in the Cartier Women’s Initiative Regional Award 2021

If you are a female founder doing exceptional work resolving global problems, apply now to the Cartier Women’s Initiative Regional Award 2021 for a chance to receive funding and recognition. 

Open to women-run and women-owned impact-driven businesses from anywhere in the world, the Cartier Women’s Initiative is an annual international entrepreneurship program that helps you take the transformative step to achieve your full potential as an empowered female entrepreneur making concrete contributions to global growth and change. 

Make a pitch on the impact of your business, identify issues, and share your solutions on how to resolve global challenges and you could emerge as one of the winning 21 finalists. 

If you do, you will receive up to USD100,000 in grant money, get to bring your business solutions to the largest audience possible, and access new possibilities. 

Application Deadline: July 31, 2020


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The successful 21 finalists, representing the top three businesses from each of the seven  regions (Latin America & the Caribbean, North America, Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East & North Africa, East Asia, South Asia & Oceania), will receive:

  • Funding: Grant money of 
    • US$ 100,000  will be awarded to each of 7 laureates (top business from each region) in the award week
    • US$ 30,000 will be awarded to each of the 14 finalists (2nd and 3rd runner-up businesses from each region) in the award week
  • Human capital support including developing a strategic financial mind-set, speaking to inspire, and scaling social impact.
  • Community peer learning sessions to support fellows in building their roadmap for growth 
  • Social Capital Support: the social-environmental impact created by Cartier fellows and bridge connections between women impact entrepreneurs and their supporters.
  • International exposure & media visibility
  • Access to an online & offline community of 500+ experts and peers
  • Ongoing support for the development of the fellows’ businesses
  • Strategy mentoring module developed by INSEAD business school that supports fellows in refining their business strategies
  • A scholarship to attend the six-day INSEAD Social Entrepreneurship Executive Education Programme 
  • Continuous support for the further growth and development of their business


The competition is open to women of all ages above the legal entry age, from all countries and in all fields.

To be considered for the opportunity at the regional level, the applicant’s business must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • For-profit: The business should be designed to generate sufficient revenues to support its operations and return some level of profit to its owners. Non-profit enterprises are not accepted.
  • Early-stage: The business should have a proven business model and be in the initial phase of its development and growth (between 1 and 5 years of licensed/registered operations). The scheme is focused on companies that are majority-owned by founders and employees at the time of application.
  • Revenue generation: The business should currently be generating revenue from the sales of its products and/or services for at least 1 year as of the date of application.
  • Fundraising: The business should not have raised more than USD2 million in dilutive funding. Note that businesses that have not raised any external funding are also welcome to apply.
  • Impact: The business should meet at least one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs are a collection of 17 global goals set by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015 for the year 2030. Click here to read the SDGs. 
  • Leadership:  A woman must fill the main leadership position, for example as CEO, General Manager, or Director of the company.
  • Ownership: The founder needs to be a woman and she must be the largest shareholder of founder equity in the company or own a share at least equal to that of her co-founder(s).
  • Legal entry age: The lead entrant must be 18 on the day of the application deadline (July 31, 2020).
  • English proficiency: A good command of verbal and written English language is required. The Common European Framework of Reference Level B2 or above is required.
  • Time commitment: The applicant must commit to participating in the fellowship program from February 2021 to November 2021. She will be expected to dedicate up to 4 hours/week virtually to the program from January 2021 to May 2021 and up to 2 hours/week virtually from June 2021 to November 2021. In addition to the virtual programming, the applicant will also be expected to attend two weeks of in-person training: one week from May 21st to May 28th, 2021, and one week in November 2021.

Evaluation Criteria 

The Jury evaluates the applications based on the following criteria:

  • Market analysis & fit
  • Financial & business model sustainability
  • Leadership team & character of the founder
  • Strategy & execution
  • Embedded positive social impact
  • Commitment to Cartier Women’s Initiative
  • Quality of submission

Free Worksheet and Checklist

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Application Instructions

To apply to the Regional Awards, applicants are required to submit the online application form and provide the supporting documentation listed below. 


  • Your resume
  • Your business registration document
  • Your pitch deck: There’s no specific format required, just submit an existing pitch deck that accurately describes the impact of your business. This can be an investor presentation or a product presentation (no more than 15 pages max.).
  • A one-minute video of yourself in which you answer the following questions:
    •    What is your motivation behind solving the problem that you have identified?
    •    What is the impact you wish to create through your solution?
    •    What do you wish to gain/contribute to the Cartier Women’s Initiative community?


  • 3 additional attachments of your choice: image of product, brochure, press, article, research, etc.

These documents must be submitted on the online portal in the “Attachments” section and cannot be sent separately by email.

About the Cartier Women’s Initiative Regional Award

The Cartier Women’s Initiative is an international business program launched in 2006 by Cartier in partnership with INSEAD Business School to support, recognize, and boost businesses led by women entrepreneurs. 

Annually, 21 women entrepreneurs, three finalists per region (Latin America & the Caribbean, North America, Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East & North Africa, East Asia, South Asia & Oceania) are awarded.

The initiative is an annual international entrepreneurship program that aims to drive change by empowering impact-driven women entrepreneurs.

The  Cartier Awards has enforced a transformative step in the lives of 219 women entrepreneurs in 51 countries.

Discover more opportunities from Cartier Women’s Initiative

Discover more opportunities from NSEAD Business School

Key Dates and Order of Program

All applications must be submitted by 2:00 pm on July 31, 2020

  • The fellowship program will run from February 2021 to November 2021.  
  • Online training 
    •  January 2021 – May 2021 
    •  June 2021 – November 2021
  • In-person training: 
    • May 21st – May 28th 2021
    • A week in November 2021

The selection process is divided into two rounds:

  • The Finalists’ selection/1st Round – The jury selects 21 finalists. With the top three applicants of each region (Latin America & the Caribbean, North America, Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East & North Africa, East Asia, South Asia & Oceania), selected on the basis of their application.

They receive coaching from experienced business experts to move on to the next round.

  • Laureates’ selection/2nd Round– The finalists are invited to the final round, which includes submitting further business information and presenting their business in front of their regional jury panel during the preparatory training week. Based on the selection criteria, one laureate for each of the seven regions is selected. 
The Jury

The Jury Members dedicate at least a year to evaluating and assessing the business proposals. They are men and women and represent diverse industries just like the finalists.

The Jury for the Regional Awards of the Cartier Women’s Initiative is composed of 35 high-profile individuals and is divided into 7 regional jury panels. 

They are chosen on the basis of their entrepreneurial experience, business achievements, and their commitment to supporting women entrepreneurs. They play a key role in reviewing the candidates’ applications and selecting the finalists and laureates. The jury members then give feedback to the laureates and finalists and thereafter provide additional support and connections to the entrepreneurs.

Read about the jury members by clicking on their profiles here.

  • Highlights of the Competition 

The 21 finalists, representing the top 3 businesses from each of the 7 regions, will receive:

One-to-one personalized business and financial coaching prior to the Awards Week

A series of business coaching workshops and networking sessions during the Awards Week

Media visibility for the finalists and their businesses in the months leading up to the Awards Week and interview opportunities with local & international press during the Awards Week

  • Coaching & Mentoring 

Coaches are experienced and senior-level INSEAD alumni who commit on a voluntary basis. The coaches help the finalists build a business plan and prepare their oral presentation for the second round of the competition. The mentors provide tailored, year-long coaching to the finalists geared towards preparing their companies for long-term growth and success

  • The announcement of the 7 laureates for the Regional Awards, along with the laureate for the Science & Technology Pioneer Award, will take place during the Awards Ceremony.

Online: The program will run virtually 4 hours per week from January 2021 to May 2021;

And also, up to 2 hours per week virtually from June 2021 to November 2021

In-person event- In addition to the virtual training, applicants will also be expected to attend two weeks of in-person training in a yet to be disclosed location.

Networking and Partnership Opportunities

The Cartier Women’s Initiative is supported by the academic partner INSEAD Business School. 

Success Stories

2017 finalist Lise Pape is increasing impact by helping out with more Parkinson’s patients through her company Walk With Path.

2018 finalist Luz Rello is making major strides in diagnosing & treating dyslexia. 

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Babajide is a content writer and site admin at Camberene. He majored in zoology and is also a tech enthusiast proficient in the use of python, R and other data analytics tools.

Babajide is looking into using machine learning and artificial intelligence in the near future.

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