Hubert Burda Media

Application for Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards now open

Singaporeans gunning to be the nation’s first finalist have until August 31 to send in business plans.

After 10 years in Deauville, on France’s northern coast, the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards travelled out of the Normandy seaside commune for the first time, and was held in Singapore’s Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall this April. The awards will return to the island for its 2018 edition next spring, and the hunt is now on for a woman entrepreneur from Singapore to be named one of its 18 finalists.

The closest ASEAN has gotten is with Jeannie Javelosa of the Philippines, who was one of the finalists for Asia-Pacific in the 2012 edition of the awards. The co-founder of ECHOstore aids small communities, artisans and farmers by bringing their products and produce to market through its stores and subsidiaries, and she called the initiative and the support and opportunities it offers “an enabling environment.” Likewise, the Asia-Pacific laureate for 2017, Trupti Jain, “gain[ed] dignity and self-improvement” through developing her water management system, Naireeta Services, under the mentorship the initiative provided. 

Ilian Mihov, Candice Pascoal, Ciara Donlon, Katie Anderson, Salma Abdulai, Sara-Kristina Hannig Nour, Trupti Jain and Cyrille Vigneron


Over the initiative’s 10-year history, its 180 finalists have created more than 5,000 jobs with their businesses, 80 percent of which are still running, a feat in the startup world.

The business plan competition is open to women leading for-profit businesses that are two to three years old, and applicants will be evaluated based on the financial sustainability, creativity, social impact and overall quality of their organisations. Three finalists representing the three top projects from each of the six regions — Asia-Pacific, Europe, North America, Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Middle East and North Africa — will be selected for personalised business coaching, media publicity, networking opportunities and a spot on an INSEAD Executive Program. The six laureates receive US$100,000 and one-to-one business mentoring, and the other 12 finalists US$30,000.

Applications close on August 31, and the 18 finalists will be announced in early 2018. The initiative is presented in partnership with INSEAD Business School and McKinsey & Company.

To submit an application or read about previous editions of the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards, visit