The finalists were selected from among 1,200 applications from 162 countries. It is the first time that countries such as Australia, Benin, Denmark, New Zealand and Sweden are represented in the program.
The seven Cartier laureate winners, one from each region of the world, will be revealed in early June.
Since 2006, the Cartier Women’s Initiative has provided women with the necessary financial, social and human capital support to grow their businesses and build their leadership skills. The program is open to women-run and women-owned businesses from any country and sector that aims to have a strong and sustainable social and environmental impact as defined by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
For 14 years, the Cartier Women’s Initiative has recognized 240 female entrepreneurs from 56 countries, which have created more than 7,000 jobs and has awarded over $3 million to support their businesses.
The winner from each region will be awarded $100,000, whereas the second and third runners-up will each receive $30,000. The seven winners and 14 finalists will also benefit from financial advisory services, one-on-one strategy coaching, media visibility and International networking opportunities, as well as the opportunity to join an INSEAD executive education program.
Cyrille Vigneron, president and chief executive officer of Cartier International, said, “Creating opportunities for women and empowering them is not only what we believe is right, it also tells who we are: a maison both anchored in reality and open to the world, thus perfectly aware of our responsibility. A responsibility all the more important given these uncertain times. At Cartier, we believe it is crucial to support young businesses and start-ups through to a more stale period. And this is what we intend to keep doing, fully aware that these women are making a concrete and durable impact, therefore paving the way for a better future.
The finalists come from such industries as e-business/information systems; health and well-being; environment and energy; finance; education; for services; 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.
The regions are North America, Europe, Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East and North Africa, East Asia, and South Asia and Oceania.
The North American finalists are Stephanie Benedetto, 39, Queen of Raw, a New York-based company that buys and sells used textiles, keeping them out of landfills; Kelly Nguyen, 47, of IDLogiq, a Santa Clara, Calif.-based company that empowers patients to verify and manage medications with a mobile scan using cryptographic identity authentication, real-time trading and intelligent medication management, and Sarah Tuneberg, 39, of Geospiza, a Denver-based company that analyzes and visualizes risk for climate-exposed organizations, enabling decision-making during times of uncertainty.
Among the other finalists are Dora Palfi, a 26-year-old Hungarian who has a company in Sweden called Imagilabs, which developed a colorful accessory called ImagiCharm designed for girls between six and 12 years old that can be customized through Python mobile programming. Lisseth Cordero Luna from Mexico, 30, runs Ecolana which develops inclusive recycling programs for consumer brands. Jenna Leo of Australia, 32, has a company called Home Care Heroes, which matches young people with socially isolated people or those with disabilities using technology.
Lisa King of New Zealand, 42, another finalist whose company, Eat My Lunch, provides catering to corporate customers with healthy food. Anna-Sophie Hartvigsen of Denmark, 53, has a company called Female Invest which seeks to educate women on investing and to employ more women in the financial industry by organizing financial educational training. And Oluwaloni Temie Olatubosun, 34, of Nigeria has a company called Lifebank that delivers WHO-compliant essential products such as blood and oxygen 24/7 to hospitals using their own network of motorbikes and boats.