In this section:
The Week 2011
Day 1 - Entrepreneur workshops and the finalists meet the press
The day started with the morning workshop, which tackled the issues entrepreneurs often face - the first chance for the ladies to get to know each other's businesses and ideas in person. At lunchtime it was time to meet the press: journalists from around the world met with the finalists to discover and talk about their projects. The afternoon workshops prepared the finalists for their presentations and last minute tweaking before the big day. Emotions ran the gamut, from excited or nervous to jet-lagged and happy, just the start of a big week! Tomorrow: Deauville.
Day 2 - Entrepreneurship workshops, heading to Deauville
After a third and final workshop in the morning, the finalists travelled to Deauville, all tracked by the film crew following their adventure! A two-hour journey to rest and reflect on all the tips and comments learned. Arrival at the hotel was swiftly followed by technical checks to ensure the presentations run smoothly. Not without a few glitches! PC/Mac compatibility, USB sticks going awry... some finalists had a long night ahead of them to recreate lost or unusable presentations. But as one valiantly said: ‘I’ll redo my presentation, but this time it will be better, thanks to all the coaching I received.
Day 3 - Jury Presentations
The big day is here at last! After a morning to run through or rehearse the presentation once more, or perhaps stroll by the shore to clear the head, the time has come: the Jury awaits! At 13:00 the finalists head to the salons of the Normandy Hotel, where the six regional Juries are ready to evaluate their projects. While the outcome is unknown, one thing is certain: these ladies are ready and they give it their all. With so much happening the afternoon passes in a flash and the excitement and tension is palpable… as is the relief when it’s all done. Now Jurors and finalists can relax and spend an evening together. Congratulations!
Day 4 - Opening of the Women’s Forum
After a night of well-earned rest, the morning brings the next big event: the Women’s Forum officially opens. 1,300 participants for three days of sessions, workshops, networking events and conferences. The finalists get to mix, mingle, give interviews and meet the international press present at the Forum. Two former Laureates, Birame Sock (North America 2010) and Halla Tomasdottir (Europe 2009) do us the honour of hosting a discussion session: ‘Starting up in a downturn: yes you can!’ As Birame says: ‘Are you in to win?’ Yes! But there’s still one day to wait before the big announcement…
Day 5 - Announcement of the Laureates
The day our finalists have been waiting for dawns. Tonight, the Jury will announce the six Laureates for the 2011 Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards. Nerves aside, our finalists are philosophical: all have done their best and defended their project to the Jury. ‘It’s already such a wonderful opportunity,’ says one, thrilled with the media exposure and interest from which her fledgling company has benefited so far. Interviews and events continue al day at the Women’s Forum until the Ceremony evening. The finalists take their seats, before the trophies gleaming on the stage. As the lights go down, they wait in anticipation for the final results…
Discover the results of the 2011 Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards and the video of the Ceremony.
Day 6 - Jury Feedback. Return to Paris.
Awards week ends with the Jury Feedback sessions, the chance for the Jury to advise the finalists and Laureates on their evaluation of their businesses and for our entrepreneurs to put their point and ask any questions. It is a key moment in the Awards process, bringing finalists and Jury members together on a level plane. Evaluations can be challenging, and this is the chance to sound them out. As the entrepreneurs prepare to leave Deauville, they share their experiences and appreciations. All have forged new friendships, shared inspiration and broadened their networks. The buzzing activity on our Cartier Awards Facebook page is the best testimony of this ever-growing hub of women entrepreneurs. We’ll keep you posted.