What to Know: The 2024 Edition of the Cartier Women’s Initiative

The maison sets out to drive change by empowering women entrepreneurs across the globe.
Published: May 8, 2024
What to Know: The 2024 Edition of the Cartier Women’s Initiative

Cartier has unveiled the thirty-three fellows of The Cartier Women’s Initiative, selected for their outstanding contributions in the world of business. Featuring 11 awards, the program is composed of nine regional and two thematic awards.

The regional awards comprise: Latin America and the Caribbean, North America, Europe, Francophone Sub-Saharan Africa (since 2023), Anglophone and Lusophone Africa, the Middle East and North Africa (since 2011), East Asia, South Asia and Central Asia (since 2019), and Oceania (since 2023). The thematic awards include: Science & Technology Pioneer Award (launched in 2021) and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Award (launched on a pilot basis in 2023).

Founded in 2006, Cartier Women’s Initiative was born from the realisation of an urgent need for more inclusivity in entrepreneurship. Women encounter numerous challenges, including gender bias and stereotypes. Additionally, female entrepreneurs often lack role models and have limited access to funding and support networks.

For the first time this year, the initiative has recognised entrepreneurs from Peru, Morocco and Vietnam.

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Marlene Molero Suárez, founder of ELSA.
Photo: Courtesy of Cartier

A fellow from Peru, Marlene Molero Suárez, is a lawyer and founder of ELSA. What started as a spreadsheet to track and analyse harassment, ELSA has evolved into a software that collects employee data to create anti-harassment strategies specific to individual organisations.

Between 2021 and 2023, ELSA aided around 500,000 employees, resulting in a 60% decrease in sexual harassment incidents across its 100 over customers in Latin American and Caribbean territories.

Salma Bougarrani, founder of GREEN WATECH.
Photo: Courtesy of Cartier

From Morocco, Salma Bougarrani created GREEN WATECH, a soil-based filter system that treats domestic wastewater in rural communities for agricultural irrigation. The company aims to combat the issue of inadequate sanitation services in Morocco’s rural communities, and wastewater that often ends up in drinking water sources, harming public health and the environment.

Since 2018, GREEN WATECH has brought safe sanitation services to more than 15,000 people in 17 villages and farms across Morocco. The company’s technology has treated more than 200 million liters of water and reused it in agricultural irrigation to produce more than 11,000 tons of food.

Marina Tran-Vu, founder of EQUO.
Photo: Courtesy of Cartier

In Asia, Marina Tran-Vu from Vietnam founded EQUO, a sustainable brand that produces 100% plastic-free and compostable products such as straws and utensils from materials like grass, rice, coconut, sugarcane, and coffee. Since its founding, EQUO has kept approximately 30 million pieces of plastic out of the environment while making an even greater impact by influencing attitudes and behaviours of consumers.

Replacing single-use plastic items in the world with sustainable alternatives, Marina shares that “these are small solutions that will have a big impact collectively.” The company’s offerings make choosing sustainability an obvious choice.

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Photo: Courtesy of Cartier.

Suárez, Bougarrani and Marina are just three of the 33 fellows with innovations that will be contending for first, second, and third place awards for each of the 11 awards. First-place awardees will take home USD $100,000 in grant funding, while second and third place awardees will receive USD $60,000 and USD $30,000 respectively.

Alongside funding, all 33 fellows will receive personalised mentoring, media exposure, networking, and education from prestigious business school, INSEAD.

Winners will be revealed during the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards Ceremony on 22 May 2024, in Shenzhen, China. Renowned worldwide for its vibrant startup ecosystem, Shenzhen serves as a centre for entrepreneurship, innovation, and creativity.

Wingee Sin, the Global Program Director of the Cartier Women's Initiative, believes that “the benefits of greater success for women entrepreneurs are on many fronts. Not just for women, but for all.”

By investing in women entrepreneurs, the Cartier Women’s Initiative recognises the work of these formidable change-makers, providing necessary skills and knowledge to support entrepreneurship. With communities like this, we can now make room for connections between both entrepreneurs and their supporters that fight against the pressing social and environmental challenges of our time.

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