Since its inception in 2006, the Cartier Women’s Initiative has united a diverse community of 262 women impact entrepreneurs from 62 nations.
These extraordinary women have dedicated their professions to addressing social and environmental issues, sparking revolutionary change and innovative problem-solving. Around USD 6,440,000 (RM 27,073,760) in prize money has supported these enterprises devoted to solving some of the most urgent global challenges.
After 15 years of succession, the Cartier Women’s Initiative World Reunion was held in Dubai to celebrate the extraordinary achievements of the women leveraging business as a force for good. Nine former fellows were honoured for the persistent impact their business has had.
The Impact Awards encompasses three categories, including improving lives, preserving the planet, and creating opportunities, with the latter rooting in the foundation laid by the United Nations Sustainable Development goals.
Temie Giwa-Tubosun from Nigeria is among the nine former fellows recognised for improving lives through LifeBank. LifeBank is a medical distribution company that uses data and technology to discover and deliver essential medical products to hospitals in Nigeria like blood and oxygen. Joining her is South African Nneka Mobisson, the creator of mDoc, a mobile platform that provides people living with chronic diseases with 24/7 access to virtual healthcare providers. Rasha Rady of Egypt is the third-place awardee for CHEFAA, an AI-powered, GPS-enabled digital platform to help patients order, schedule, and refill their recurring medicines regardless of location or income.
A champion of environmental preservation, Charlotte Wang of China has been awarded first place for EQuota, an energy optimisation company that combines artificial intelligence and big data to deliver energy efficiency solutions.
Australian Joanne Howarth also received recognition or pioneering green packaging solutions. Planet Protector Packaging manufactures environmentally responsible insulated packaging made from sheep waste wool transporting temperature-sensitive goods. Lorna Rutto of Kenya also gains recognition for her work with EcoPost. She creates an environmentally friendly alternative to timber by using plastic waste to manufacture durable fencing posts.
Fariel Salahuddin of Pakistan takes first place in the category for creating opportunities for her work with UpTrade, which offers a bartering service enabling off-grid rural communities to exchange livestock for solar-powered water pumps and home systems. Carmina Bayombong of the Philippines receives commendation for InvestEd, an investment platform providing student loans to underserved youth using a proprietary credit rating algorithm.
Carol Chyau of China takes the final award for her work through Shokay. She produces clothes and accessories for children, home furnishings and yarn using yak fibre purchased directly from herders around the region.
In 2022, Cartier continues to reaffirm its commitment to support impact entrepreneurship in Southeast Asia through the Cartier Women’s Initiative. The efforts incorporate a wide array of engagement activities, sparking meaningful conversations around female empowerment while offering opportunities for individual guidance to potential applicants of the Cartier Women’s Initiative across the region.
“We are committed to supporting incredible ideas and dreams, where women in the region can find support, connect with one another, and achieve visibility. We welcome women change-makers from around Southeast Asia to lend your unique voices to inspire and encourage others as we build our Cartier Women’s Initiative community in this region,” says Cécile Naour, CEO of Cartier Southeast Asia & Oceania.
Cartier Speaker Series
Following the World Reunion, Wingee Sampaio and Carmina Bayombong shared a virtual interaction with an audience of entrepreneurs, partners and ecosystem enablers at the National Gallery Singapore on International Women’s Day. Wingee is Cartier Women’s Initiative global programme director. Meanwhile, Carmina is the 2019 Laureate (winner) for the Southeast & Oceania regional award and 2021 awardee for the Impact Award in Creating Opportunities.
On March 8, Cécile Naour also launched the inaugural Speaker Series in Singapore by hosting a hybrid panel discussion with influential female voices from across Southeast Asia. The panel addressed five diverse areas of impact commerce. Nikasha Khemka, based in Singapore and India, led the discussion on luxury fashion with a new sustainable line while robotics engineer, Jane Wang, presented Asia’s first robotic glove. Wang’s work helps patients with limb motor function impairment in Singapore’s first and only soft robotics company.
Thai national Proud Limpongpan captured attention with her areas of interest as a sustainable jeweller, venture capitalist and fintech marketer. Similarly, Tu Ngo of Vietnam shared her experience as an edutech entrepreneur turned venture capitalist. Finally, Indonesian local Shinta Dhanuwardoyo closed the Speaker Series with a talk on pioneering e-commerce and serial entrepreneurship, alongside sharing her view as an angel investor.
Proud Limpongpan, Tu Ngo and Shinta Dhanuwardoyo are also members of the Asia Gender Network. It is the first pan-Asian network with the mission to mobilise capital toward closing the gender gap in Asia by funding the advancement of women and girls.
The Speaker Series will journey to other countries in the region, including Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam, in a hybrid format that includes physical and virtual delivery. These speakers who champion women’s empowerment and business for good may continue to inspire.
Leading up to the application period of 16 May to 30 June for the 2023 edition of the Cartier Women’s Initiative, Cartier will be collaborating with selected partners to prepare applicants for the programme, leveraging on the networks, expertise and passion of these ecosystem enablers.
“Our goal is to build a community in Southeast Asia that supports women-led businesses with a strong social or sustainable impact, giving them the financial, human, and social capital necessary to grow their businesses. By including and supporting women, we can create the change we hope to see in this world,” remarks Cécile Naour.
(Main image, L-R: Shinta Dhanuwardoyo, Bubu.com; Jane Wang, Roceso Technologies; Proud Limpongpan, Zipmex)
This story was first published in Prestige Malaysia’s Women of Power issue. To read it along with the May 2022 issue, pick up a copy in store or subscribe on Magzter.