What Makes a Great Impact Entrepreneur?

Impact is at the heart of women entrepreneurs who are tackling social and environmental challenges. The thing that sets these women apart is their commitment to driving change by leveraging business as a force for good. As a part of our Fellow Spotlight series, we hear from CWI 2020 Fellow, Charlotte Wang, to discuss the impact of women in the entrepreneurial realm and just what characteristics enable them to thrive as they leverage business as a force for good.

Charlotte was directly impacted by fossil-fuel-related pollution growing up in China, and decided to provide a more sustainable solution. In 2014, she founded EQuota to focus on managing energy data for industrial and utilities to improve efficiency and reduce carbon emissions, resulting in cleaner air.


Unicorns, Zebras and Camels: Pursuing Sustainable Prosperity

There is no one-size-fits-all model when it comes to impact entrepreneurship. How does one identify the growth model that best suits a company’s objectives? How can a company capitalize on opportunity, but at the same time, be able to survive a drought? How does one build a scalable, successful business without compromising on social good? As part of our Fellow Spotlight series, we are excited to hear from CWI 2020 Fellow, Sofie Blakstad, to discuss building a sustainable business by choosing the right growth model to scale for impact.


Leading with Intentionality

Positive impact isn’t an afterthought. If you are leveraging market-based solutions to contribute to a Sustainable Development Goal (SDG), impact should be purposefully embedded into your business’ mission. This month, we are focusing on leading with intentionality and anchoring SDGs within businesses in order to achieve sustainable social and environmental impact. As part of our Fellow Spotlight series, we are excited to hear from CWI 2020 Fellow, Stephanie Benedetto, to discuss why building a purpose-centric model is so important when levering business as a force for good.


What Makes a Great Impact Entrepreneur?

Impact is at the heart of women entrepreneurs who are tackling social and environmental challenges. The thing that sets these women apart is their commitment to driving change by leveraging business as a force for good. This month, CWI is focusing on some of the key characteristics and traits that enable them to thrive. As a part of our Fellow Spotlight series, we hear from CWI 2019 Fellow, Carmina Bayombong, to discuss the impact of women in the entrepreneurial realm and just what characteristics enable them to thrive as they leverage business as a force for good.


By Kristin Kagetsu, Founder & CEO of Saathi Pads and 2018 CWI fellow

Gender inequality in the workplace is nothing new. When women entered the workforce during World War II, it was out of necessity. During the feminist movement of the 1960s, women entered the workforce by choice. However, their options were quite limited. Most of them simply became secretaries, nurses, babysitters, or teachers.

Girls and women are systematically turned away from science and math throughout their education, limiting their training and options to go into these fields as adults. Women make up only 28% of the workforce in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), and men vastly outnumber women majoring in most STEM fields in college. The gender gaps are particularly high in some of the fastest-growing and highest-paid jobs of the future, like computer science and engineering. Experts are warning that even those gains could be lost due to the work-from-home (WFH) dynamic caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.


In Conversation with Lisa Folawiyo and Dyenna Diaw

An unexpected by product of the coronavirus is how it has exposed global inequities and forced us to confront questions of identity and nationhood. Certain topics seem more pressing and relevant. We are reminded of the importance of sustainability: both the impact of what we consume and how we move through the world. Lisa Folawiyo of Lisa Folawiyo and Jewel by Lisa and Dyenna Diaw of Peulh Vagabond are two African female entrepreneurs and fashion designers who are committed to sustainability and are currently grappling with how to achieve their vision. Through their respective brands, both designers have approached their African identity powerfully though differently. As the first instalment of the Cartier Women’s Initiative Blog series exploring female entrepreneurship in Africa, we hope this new perspective is a source of inspiration and a celebration of the women paving the way for us all.


In the face of a global crisis the magnitude of COVID-19, each of us have different ways of coping.

For me, I cope by focusing my attention on the places I have influence and make an impact. Like so many others, I have been hit in the last couple of weeks with stories of friends and colleagues around the world getting sick. But I find hope in difficult times by turning my attention to the people who are working to transform our planet and financial systems, and then doing everything in my power to support and elevate their work.

COVID-19 resources.jpg

To help founders weather this uncertain time, we have put together a list of resources and opportunities especially for women entrepreneurs leading early-stage, social impact-driven businesses.


Wingee Sampaio was appointed head of the Cartier Women’s Initiative in July 2019. We interviewed Wingee to learn more about her background and experience working as a venture capitalist and coach to women social impact entrepreneurs. We also asked Wingee about her role and some of the changes recently made to the CWI programme.


You finally land a client for your new product. This high-profile client will inject the much-needed cash into your business, but more importantly, the social proof to win many more contracts. For months you busy away, investing time and resources to create the product.

Less than a month from deadline, the client emails you:

We don’t have £25,000, we only have £18,000. It was an oversight. Is this okay? How would you like to move forward?


By Dimple Sahni, CWI Jury Member

Impact Investing has become a part of today’s zeitgeist and is being spoken about within the confines of Davos to classrooms in colleges to Wall Street. What is Impact Investing?


For any socially-minded entrepreneur in search of financing for their startup, the impact must be clearly defined as part of the value proposition together with a battery of solid arguments to convince prospective investors. And, as we all know, hard data will be required to reflect and support the narrative of the venture.


The key difference in impact investing is that financial reasons should be accompanied precisely by the social or environmental performance of the venture as codependent data points.


By Monisha Varadan, Partner, Zephyr Ventures; Kamal Hassan, Founding Partner, Loyal VC; and Claudia Zeisberger, CWI Jury Member and INSEAD Senior Affiliate Professor of Entrepreneurship & Family Enterprise

The gender gap in VC doesn’t merely reflect society’s sexism. It’s an alarm bell, warning of an industry’s obsolescence.

A headline-grabbing statistic has been making the rounds for a while – only 2.3 percent of the total VC pot of money ($131 billion in the United States in 2018) goes to women-led businesses. Granted, if you are generous enough to include founding teams that include at least one woman, the number rises to 10.4 percent. But the fact remains that over 80 percent of VC money goes mainly to all-male teams. Digging deeper into the problem makes us question the VC approach as a whole and contemplate a possible overhaul of the process.


By Audrey Cheng, Founder & CEO of Moringa School and 2018 CWI fellow

On September 24, WeWork CEO and co-founder Adam Neumann was forced to step down after the company’s valuation dropped at least $30 billion in a few days. A week later, WeWork officially pulled its IPO. The WeWork news and lessons learned will cascade to the rest of the global startup world, which has been influenced by the Silicon Valley-style of investing. In Africa, founders and investors should confront their biases on the growth-at-all-cost stories that promise strong revenues and impact without a key focus on costs and business models. 


By Suzanne Biegel, gender-lens investing advisor & speaker

2019 has continued to see growth in the gender-smart investing sector, from the number of products and platforms available, to the steady flow of actors across the capital spectrum saying this is explicitly part of their strategy. Here are three things I’m inspired by… and four challenges we still need to overcome.


Learn how CWI fellow Iba Masood met her co-founder and future husband and why they are a perfect match for each other.

Roughly three and a half years ago, we started working on Tara AI, however the genesis of the story begins much earlier. It all began when I had the good fortune of meeting Syed Ahmed in freshman year of college, our company’s current co-founder and CTO.



By Sheila Loxham, Senior Coordinator, Social Impact Coaching within the Hoffmann Global Institute for Business and Society @ INSEAD.

On May 2, 2019, twenty-one amazing entrepreneurial women were celebrated in San Francisco at the Cartier Women’s Initiative.


This blog post is part of a series that will be devoted to the mentor-mentee relationship within the Cartier Women’s Initiative community.

In June, we spoke  to Swati Pandey, the laureate of the 2018 Cartier Women’s Initiative (CWI) and Meena Vaidyanathan, the founder of Niiti Consulting and Swati’s CWI mentor about their mentor-mentee relationship.


By Shelly Porges, Co-founder and Managing partner of The Billion Dollar Fund for Women

In this blog post, we talk to Shelly Porges, Co-founder and Managing partner of The Billion Dollar Fund for Women, about how the global funding paradigm might be changed to give women innovators a greater share of the pie.


By Carol Kivler, MS, CSP, CMT

If you are an entrepreneur who is struggling with depression, know that you are not alone and that recovery is not just possible, it is probable. In this blog post, Carol Kivler, the owner of Kivler Communications and a passionate mental health speaker shares tips from her personal experience.    


By Briar Goldberg | Director of Speaker Coaching at TED

Business communications are becoming more monotonous these days. In this blog post, Briar Goldberg, Director of Speaker Coaching at TED shares a few essential business communications skills.


By Julien Barbier | Co-founder & CEO of Holberton School

At the 2019 Cartier Awards Ceremony on May 2 in San Francisco, we are bringing together and honoring some of the world’s most dynamic, forward-thinking and socially conscious businesswomen.

Many of this year’s finalists are successful scientists-turned-entrepreneurs whose ride to success wasn’t always easy.

In this blog post, we talk to Julien Barbier, co-founder and CEO of Holberton, who highlights the causes behind the gender gap in STEM and discusses concrete solutions to advance women in this field.


By Rhonda Vetere | Global C-suite Executive | Author of Grit & Grind

Having a mentor can be a career-changing experience. But how do you find a good mentor and make sure the partnership is successful? Rhonda Vetere, Global C-suite Executive and long-time mentor shares some tips and insights.


This year’s International Women’s Day urges us to create a gender-balanced world and acknowledges our shared responsibility in creating this balance.


By Laura McGorman, Facebook and Rebecca Furst-Nichols, Data2X

In this blog post, we talk to Laura McGorman from Data for Good at Facebook and Rebecca Furst-Nichols from Data2X about the importance of sex-disaggregated data in advancing the gender balance agenda, particularly as it pertains to women entrepreneurs.


By Adam Quinton | Founder and CEO of Lucas Point Ventures

5 Tips on how to address the unconscious bias when pitching to a male-dominated investors panel.

Business Updates

2017 finalist Lise Pape is reaching out to more Parkinson’s patients through her company Walk With Path.


By Sramana Mitra | Founder of One Million by One Million (1Mby1M)

There are many reported cases of improper behavior on the part of a VC that does reflect sexism. However, that sexism is not necessarily what drives the rejection.

Business Updates

2018 finalist Luz Rello is making major strides in treating & preventing dyslexia.


By Kelly Hoey | Networking expert, author of Build Your Dream Network: Forging Powerful Relationships In A Hyper-Connected World

Networking holds the key to getting things done. Yet a lot of people feel anxious or lost when it comes to networking, especially when engaging in conversations online. Another huge obstacle that may be holding you and your business back is the anxiety when it comes to promoting or marketing yourself online.


By Wendy Luhabe | Social entrepreneur, champion of women’s economic empowerment

Many of Africa’s chronic challenges have historically been addressed with aid. With the rise of technology and social entrepreneurship, however, the time has come for us to take responsibility for solving our own problems.


By Elizabeth A. Vazquez | CEO and Co-Founder of WEConnect International

In a no-nonsense, bottom-line driven business world, do women business owners truly have what it takes to succeed? I’m asked this question, or some version of it, all the time. Can women negotiate and win big in business? Can women innovate and grow companies everywhere? Can women lead by example and inspire others to consider entrepreneurship?

Business Updates

Katie Anderson on her main takeaway from participating in the 2017 edition of the competition: “The Cartier Awards broadened my vision of what is possible for my business”.

Business Updates

Kickante’s numbers keep growing. The crowdfunding service now helped a total of 75,000 projects, up from 25,000 a year ago, and has forged a community of one million people.

Business Updates

Ciara Donlon’s big take away from her participation in the Cartier Awards was a global perspective.


By Jennifer Openshaw | CEO of Girls With Impact

You’ve probably never heard the name Anne Bissell, but she is America’s first-ever female CEO.

She got the job when she took over The Bissell Company, one of the leading makers of vacuums and other floor cleaning solutions, in 1889, after her husband’s death. She expanded the company internationally and protected its patents while having a positive social impact.  

More than 140 years later, the company is still going strong.

Unfortunately, not everyone has the opportunity to become the next Anne Bissel. In fact, just 6% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women - a small number, given the huge business potential of countless young women.

Business Updates

2017 laureate from India Trupti Jain credits the Cartier Awards jury's feedback for helping her build her vision for her company. 

Business Updates

In the past year, Sara-Kristina Hannig Nour’s farm-fresh organic vegetable business has focused on organising its day-to-day operations. For a business that is literally growing organically, Sara finds the input the Awards gave her vital.

Business Updates

Since winning the award, Salma Abdulai’s business has started to ship internationally, a first for this producer of fonio, an indigenous cereal that used to be little known outside the Ghana region.


By Rachel Thomas | President and Co-founder of LeanIn.Org

Running LeanIn.Org is deeply important to me. So is being a mom to two amazing kids. On my busiest days, it doesn't escape me that I could not lean into my career as much as I do without my husband Scott leaning in at home. His support makes it possible for me to say yes to work travel, to stay late in the office to analyze data on the state of women, and to take on the opportunities and challenges that come with supporting a global community of women.

Leaning in — together — has been beneficial for our family and our careers. It isn’t just the right thing to do for men. It’s also the smart thing to do.


Ellen K. Pao - Cofounder of Project Include

In our first year of running Project Include, we saw people clearly starting to understand that tech is neither inclusive nor diverse. But we also saw they were mostly uncertain, unmotivated or afraid to improve.

One year later, we see people more eager to take on transformational change. But we also see that it’s extremely difficult to create a diverse and inclusive culture quickly — regardless of company size or CEO commitment — if you depend only on the current set of popular diversity and inclusion activities.

Setting an inclusive culture through ongoing training, creating transparency in wage bands, removing bias from job descriptions and the recruiting process, hiring a Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) lead…these are all necessary actions, but results are slow. Implementing all these strategies won’t get your employee base to reflect America’s broader demographics overnight. In fact, at today’s pace, and without more revolutionary ideas, we may not see changes in our lifetime — or even our children’s lifetimes. Juxtaposed with this disheartening insight, however, is the silver lining: We’ve recently seen an encouraging level of CEOs who are interested in transformational, revolutionary change.


By Tanvi Gautam - CEO of Leadershift Inc

It was just another c-suite coaching session till this powerful woman, the one they all looked up to, the one who brought in the top dollars, broke down and wept as though someone had died.

And upon holding some space for her and trying to figure out what happened, I realized someone did die. It was a part of herself. That version of her that inspired her and kept her working with a spring in her step had long gone. She was crumbling under the mounting pressure of delivering more and keeping up with a very alpha male leadership style of the company culture. It was a rare moment that she let her guard down with me. She was burnt out. She was running on empty. And she was ready to throw in the towel.

The phenomenon of burnout is not confined to the corporate circles alone. Plenty of it exists in the world of entrepreneurship as well. There is a constant pressure for founders and startups to keep the company in the limelight and on the radar of people that matter. Lack of resources and bootstrapping takes a toll that they are afraid to admit for fear of being deemed a failure. So, what can you do right here, right now, to manage or change the probability of hitting a burnout?


By Carola Schwank - Head of Empowering People Network (EPN)

As Head of empowering people. Network, I have had opportunities to get an inside look into the various stages of a social entrepreneur’s journey. Surprisingly, I have found the significance of organizational development often discounted from the onset. Here is my advice to entrepreneurs looking to finding the right organizational structure for their company.


By Allyson Zimmermann | Executive Director, Europe, Catalyst

European women do less in the workplace than men with the same qualifications and career history. They are paid less, are stuck swinging on the lower branches of the corporate tree, and are kept away from the juicy assignments linked with advancement.

Why is this? What myths are at play?


by Selena Rezvani | VP at Be Leaderly and Jamie Lee | Leadership and negotiation coach

“What if they say no?”

As negotiation facilitators, we hear this anxious question all the time from the professionals we train.

The good news is that you don’t have to be experienced at negotiation to start challenging “No.” In fact, there are numerous ways to maneuver and pivot through rejection that will actually help you get more of what you want. Below is what we hope an inspiring roundup of stories and techniques that show how women have flipped ‘No’ to ‘Yes.’


Disruption is popular. Business leaders are constantly reminded that disruption lurks around every corner, that they must disrupt their industries or even their own companies to succeed. In many cases though, disruption is destructive and people lose their jobs in the process.

In a world where the strategic focus of organisations is on competing and disrupting, it is difficult for business leaders to do social good. From a blue ocean perspective, however, this doesn’t have to be the case – what is good for business can be good for society. Here is why and how business and society can go hand-in-hand.


Perhaps like you, I am many women. I have paved my way in the female business world, but first and foremost, I am a mother and a proud grandmother. It would be false to say that it was always easy. To date, the journey between my different backgrounds has often been fraught with challenges. Read on to hear my personal experience.


The numbers are overwhelming: millions of women entrepreneurs around the world want, no, need capital to grow their businesses. But they’re not getting it.

Across the globe, there are about 10 million women-owned small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the formal business sector. And yet, 70% of these women-owned SMEs report being underserved by banks or without any banking services at all. If the credit gap of $300 billion were closed by 2020 in just 15 countries (including the BRICs), per capita incomes could be 12% higher, on average, in those countries by 2030. Add the impact of job creation to that number and the effect on economic growth from financing these women-led businesses is staggering.

It just doesn’t add up: we have a compelling business case and an opportunity for sustainable, inclusive growth, but banking for women entrepreneurs remains ‘business as usual.’ The time for talk is over. It’s time to move the muscle of capital. And that’s where gender lens investing comes in.


The business case for gender diversity in business leadership is simply that having a higher proportion of women in senior positions drives stronger business performance.

I believe, however, that the business case argument is part of the problem, as much as it is part of the solution…not least because it doesn’t seem to be changing things in proportion to its claims (and that, as a result, “the business case fatigue” is settling in).

Let’s face it, if the business case was getting traction, we wouldn’t be asking the “why have we stalled?” question in the first place.

Why might this seemingly well-constructed edifice be built on less firm ground? Read on to hear my thoughts.


One of the earliest words I learned was “no” and apparently, I was not alone. According to this survey, when over 11,000 parents were asked to share their baby’s earliest words, “no” came in seventh. Why was this the case? We say ‘no’ because inherently we believe that we have the freedom to engage, or refuse to engage, in certain behaviors. The most interesting part about this behavior? If our freedoms are taken away, we are motivated to do the opposite, like throw our vegetables instead of eating them. This angered response is called psychological reactance theory and being sold to arouses this strong opposing force.

So how do you sell when humans instinctively dislike being sold to?


Cartier and TED believe in the power of bold ideas to empower local initiatives to have global impact. To celebrate Cartier’s dedication to launching the ideas of female entrepreneurs into concrete change, TED has curated a special session of talks around the theme “Bold Alchemy” for the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards, featuring a selection of favorite TED speakers.

Leading up to the session, TED talked with artist and musician Gingger Shankar.


One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned as an entrepreneur and a business woman was to understand deeply what my purpose is and the legacy I want to leave in society. I am Latina and I dream of being able to integrate women in the digital economy. Although they joined the labor market after the industrial revolution, women were not empowered and were not the mobilizers of that revolution. Today we have the opportunity to lead a different kind of revolution - the digital one - creating companies and making our own rules of the game.

Here are a few other lessons that have driven me forward every day.


Starting a social enterprise and raising capital is hard enough, but it’s made much harder when gender bias continues to exist.
Fortunately, there’s no lack of women leaders in the global development community, and if we, as men, make it a point to champion them, we can play our small part in paving the way for their advancement.


Much has been written about the stereotypes contributing to the lack of women in the c-suite. But to what extent are women’s own assumptions holding them back?


Cartier and TED believe in the power of bold ideas to empower local initiatives to have global impact. To celebrate Cartier’s dedication to launching the ideas of female entrepreneurs into concrete change, TED has curated a special session of talks around the theme “Bold Alchemy” for the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards, featuring a selection of favorite TED speakers.

Leading up to the session, TED talked with entrepreneur, investor and TED Fellow Matilda Ho about what inspires her work to bring local, organically grown food to families that need it.


As a founder of a startup, you always face a lot of challenges. And if you happen to be a woman living in a developing country, multiply these challenges by ten.

Running any for-profit business in such conditions is a true road to hell, let alone a social enterprise.

I recently had the opportunity to attend a social entrepreneurship training program at INSEAD that put things into perspective for me.


My parents emigrated from Bombay to Buffalo, New York, in 1978. When as children, my brother and I didn’t finish our plates, my mother used to share an anecdote with us – one time in Kolkata, she threw a piece of bread onto her street for the local stray dog, and a street kid rushed over, pushed the animal away, and gobbled it up.

That story often made me wonder, why was I so lucky when there were so many children in the world who were not?

My curiosity and quest for answers led me to a trip abroad that would sow the seeds of my career as a social entrepreneur.


Cartier and TED believe in the power of bold ideas to empower local initiatives to have global impact. To celebrate Cartier’s dedication to launching the ideas of female entrepreneurs into concrete change, TED has curated a special session of talks around the theme “Bold Alchemy” for the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards, featuring a selection of favorite TED speakers.

Leading up to the session, TED talked with women’s health advocate and TED Fellow Zubaida Bai about what inspires her work to improve the health and livelihoods of women worldwide.


Women are starting businesses at unprecedented rates. Yet, unequal opportunities are holding them back from reaching their full potential.

This #InternationalWomensDay, at the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards, we asked investors, policymakers, corporate leaders, male champions and women founders how we can make progress happen.


If women in leadership positions boost performance numbers, as research shows, then all companies must surely be pushing to make gender equality a priority. But that’s not exactly the case.
Yes, progress in gender equality in the corporate world is moving forward at a painstaking pace and no one knows this better than women who work there.


VC is working for some women entrepreneurs, don’t get me wrong. However, in my years as an investor who pays a lot of attention to women entrepreneurs and invests with a gender lens, I think there are several shifts in perception the entire community can make that would have a profound impact on the amount of capital flowing in this direction. Cartier Women’s Initiative asked me for a recipe. I think we have to start with ingredients.


The underlying structure of society is changing in ways we have never seen. While people are living longer than ever before, reproduction rates have fallen below the population-replacement level of 2.1. The consequence? Soon, the world will have more people over 65 than under 14. This translates into a shrinking labor force and a necessity to create an environment that supports the engagement of all workers. We simply cannot afford to discount anyone based on their personal characteristics, while ignoring their potential, their accomplishments, innovation and drive.

And yet, women today are routinely denied opportunities for advancement. So how, you might ask, can you start to have an impact? Turns out there is lots you can do, starting with today.


If we are to go by global trends, there are more and more women-led businesses being founded each year. And yet, if you google profitable businesses, or venture-backed businesses, chances are that you will find few women-led businesses at the top.

The question therefore is, what happens to all these businesses that start up so well but never reach their full potential?


Imagine if Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs had been born in Asia, Africa or Latin America. Do you think they would have realized their potential? Now, imagine if each of these great innovators had a sister who was equally visionary, creative and determined. Do you think she would be able to realize her potential? The answer I think we all know is ‘no.’ Secretary Hillary Clinton often said that “talent is universal but opportunity is not.”


I have many labels: once a McKinsey partner, now head of the Gates Foundation in China; founder of a school labelled an “icon of education innovation”; a blogger with 800,000 followers and the author of two books; and, last but not least, mother of three young children.

I often hear the question, “how do you get so much done?” Or the more curious version: “what’s your secret?”

Well, I do have a “secret recipe”, as I think of it, which is to look inward, seek out my inner voice, and ultimately, to surrender.


Cartier and TED believe in the power of bold ideas to empower local initiatives to have global impact. To celebrate Cartier’s dedication to launching the ideas of female entrepreneurs into concrete change, TED has curated a special session of talks around the theme “Bold Alchemy” for the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards, featuring a selection of favorite TED speakers.

Leading up to the session, TED talked with financier, entrepreneur and onetime candidate for president of Iceland, Halla Tómasdóttir, about what influences, inspires and drives her to be bold.


When I started soleRebels many people laughed and said I was crazy. “Your plan is to remake the barabasso into a global footwear brand leveraging the artisan talents in THAT community? What kind of business idea is that?”

To tell you the truth, sometimes I felt like we were crazy.


If you’re like many women I meet, you’re probably pretty tough on yourself and often focus on what you haven’t done, or didn’t totally nail, versus all that you have done and did nail!

Business Updates

Melissa Menke participated in the 2013 edition of the Cartier Awards as a finalist for Sub-Saharan Africa. Her company Access Afya offers affordable access to professional healthcare clinics for people living in Kenyan slums.

Melissa Menke, the founder & CEO of Access Afya, readily admit that her company has gone a long way since participating in the Cartier Awards in 2013. Whereas the company was in pilot phase with only one working clinic when she first applied, it has since expanded to three clinics and will be opening two more clinics next year thanks in part to the funds raised during pre-seed and seed financing this year.

Business Updates

Carla Delfino is the Cartier Awards 2014 laureate for Europe. Carla hails from Italy and is the founder and CEO of Imperial Europe, a company that produces organic not-toxic repellents to control but not to kill pests.

ScappaTopo which means “Run Away Mouse!” in Italian, was Imperial Europe’s first product to hit the market in 2013. As the first multi-sensory mice repellent that is non-toxic to humans, household pets and wildlife, the product was an instant success in Italy.

Business Updates

Doris Leung is a 2013 Cartier Awards finalist for the Asia-Pacific region. She hails from Hong Kong and is the founder of Diamond Cab, a company that provides barrier-free taxis for wheelchair users.

Doris Leung first came up with the idea for Diamond Cab when her mother began to experience mobility problems. She soon realized that there were no wheelchair-accessible cabs available in her hometown Hong Kong. She decided it was time she take matters in her own hands and founded Diamond Cab in 2011.


How an ingenious fashion solution is revolutionizing Zika treatment

Maternova was founded by Meg Wirth, 2011 Cartier Awards finalist from the United States and has since brought on Allyson Cote as cofounder. Maternova combats maternal mortality in childbirth with a web-based marketplace for products, tools and information and by aiding clinicians in the field.

By Leah Hardenbergh - Intern at Maternova, Inc.

Maternova is a marketplace for maternal and newborn health innovations. If there is one word to summarize working in the sphere of maternal health, it is dynamic. The issues we address are vast and constantly evolving with the changing health risks worldwide for mothers and newborns. Due to the nature of the industry, we are constantly searching for innovative solutions for the latest threats to mothers. This is what led us to our project currently underway: a line of mosquito-protective clothing to protect mothers and newborns from Zika.


8 practical guidelines to prepare for a customer interview

By Mary Cronin - Cartier Women's Initiative Awards coach and CEO of Thousand Seeds

"Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers." Voltaire
Asking and framing questions is a skill. There are many benefits derived from good questioning techniques. By asking the right questions we can gather the maximum amount of information in a shorter timeframe and assess what is going on more effectively. As part of developing our business and doing customer development we want to understand customer problems and needs as opposed to pitching "our" solutions'.

When preparing for a customer interview prepare about 5 questions. The estimated interview time should be about 30-40 minutes. Be clear about the purpose before you start i.e. is it a problem assessing or a solution interview? Here are 8 guidelines.


How are you creating growth in your business?

By Mary Cronin - Cartier Women's Initiative Awards coach and CEO of Thousand Seeds

Lean thinking, customer development and business model innovation frameworks are transforming how new products are built and how growth strategies are developed. These help organisations design products that customers need.
Lean offers ways to cut work time and eliminate waste whether you are an established or an early stage business. Customer development takes a customer-centric approach to understanding customer needs and problems. The term ‘business model’ means the design of a business. Business model innovation (BMI) looks at how a business reinvents itself in order gain competitive edge and stimulate growth. An important part of business design involves being customer-centric.