The go-to page for answers to all questions relating to the application procedure, application form, eligibility criteria, and more.


  • Can I send my application by mail?

    • You cannot send your application by mail. Only online applications submitted through the application platform and received in the appropriate online format are accepted.

  • Can I send you my business plan instead?

    • We do not accept business plans. Only online applications submitted through the application platform and received in the appropriate online format are accepted. Please note that we receive more than 1000 applications per year, and are a small team.

  • Will I receive a confirmation that my application has reached you?

    • Once you submit your application on the online platform, you will receive an automatic confirmation email.

  • I started completing the form but my web page expired. What can I do?

    • You will need to refresh the page and possibly sign back into your account depending on your browser’s settings. We recommend you save the information entered manually by clicking on “Save Draft” at the bottom of the application form if your connection is unstable or if you are planning to take a long break while filling out the form.

      We recommend using Google Chrome for an optimal experience and strongly recommend that you first write out your answers in the worksheet before copy/pasting them into the form.

  • I am having trouble uploading files and attachments to my form. What can I do?

    • You are limited to 400MB per file and 800MB per submission. Attachments sent to us by email are not accepted.

      If you wish to send us a heavy file that contains multiple photos or graphs, we would recommend using Adobe Acrobat to compress the file before uploading it to your application.

  • Can I send you samples of my product?

    • We do not accept product samples during the call for applications. However, you may include photos of your product or service in your application form. If you are selected as a fellow, you will have the opportunity to present your products to the jury panel during the second evaluation phase.

  • Can I submit my application in any other language than English?

    • English is the only language accepted. Good command of English is required (both verbal and written) to fully benefit from the many opportunities and resources the Cartier Women’s Initiative program has to offer. We require the Common European Framework of Reference Level B2 and above. This level requires an understanding of main ideas of complex text, technical discussion in business and your field of specialization, ability to interact with fluency and spontaneity with native speakers.

  • The form states that all fields are mandatory but some do not apply to my company. What should I do?

    • If a question does not apply to your business, write 'NA' for 'Not Applicable' and explain why.

  • I have already submitted my project but would like to add new information. How should I proceed?

    • Once you have submitted your application, you will no longer be able to make changes. However, you may request permission from the administrator to edit your form if it was submitted before the last day of the call for applications period. To do so, please sign into your Submittable account, go to “My Submissions”, select the submissions and click on “Edit”. The request for editing can only be made once a week directly via Submittable.

      Please note that once the call for applications period has closed, we only accept updates if they have a direct impact on the eligibility of your business, or if they concern your personal contact information (email, address, phone). Other changes will not be taken into account past the submission deadline.

  • I own two businesses. Can I submit two applications?

    • Applicants may only enter one business.

  • Can I apply to both the Regional Awards and the Thematic Awards?

    • No, you may only apply to one award.

  • I have already applied to the Cartier Women’s Initiative in the past but my business was not selected. May I apply again this year?

    • If your business was not selected in any prior edition, you may apply again this year. We consider all applicants that have been selected as fellows to be ineligible for future editions.

  • Is my information confidential?

    • The information you provide in your application will be available to third-party organizations in charge of:

      - Managing the online application platform

      - Reviewing and evaluating your application

      - Supporting you and your business as part of the Fellowship program

      Please note that they all sign our Non-Disclosure Agreement. However, if you believe some information might be too sensitive (because of a pending patent for example), we advise that you get legal advice first.

  • When will I know if I'm selected?

    • Applicants will be notified of their application status in January 2023. The fellows will then be announced in April 2023.

  • What do you mean by ‘for-profit'?

    • The company needs to be “for-profit” meaning that it should be structured in such a way as to be self-sustainable by generating sufficient revenue to sustain and grow its activity in the long run. We do not accept applications from non-profits. That being said, we do accept applications from for-profit companies that give back a portion of their revenues to charities – as long as the company’s primary goal is to generate revenue.

      Furthermore, we also accept applications from business structures such as B corps and Community Interest Companies (CIC) so long as they are not dominantly reliant on donations/grants. It should be further noted that if more than 30% of your financing comes from donation /grants and/or that you have a perpetual need for donations/grants, then your chances of making it past the preliminary screening are very slim.

  • What do you mean by ‘early stage’?

    • For the Regional Awards, ‘early stage’ means the business should have a proven business model and be in the initial phase of its development and growth (between 1 to 6 years of licensed/registered operations). Please note that normally we focus on less than 5 years, however, as we did not have a call for applications in 2021, we are exceptionally extending for one extra year.

      For the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Award, ‘early stage’ means the business should have a proven business model and be in the initial phase of its development and growth (between 1 to 7 years of licensed/registered operations). We also cap the funds raised to US$2 million in order to ensure that the businesses selected fall within a similar stage of development.

      For the Science & Technology Pioneer Award, ‘early stage’ means the business must have at least a proof of concept, a prototype or be in the process of producing one (minimum Technological Readiness Level 4) and must not be commercializing its final product/service for more than 5 years. For a detailed description of each TRL, please consult page 50 of this publication.

      In both cases, we are focused on companies that are majority owned by founders and employees at the time of application.

  • What is an impact-driven business?

    • An impact-driven business is a business that seeks to create strong, sustainable and measurable social and/or environmental impact. The business must align with at least one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs are a collection of 17 global goals set by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015 for the year 2030. The SDGs are a call for action by all countries to promote prosperity while protecting the environment. They cover a series of social, economic, and environmental development issues.

  • What qualifies as a groundbreaking technological and scientific solution?

    • Deep Tech innovations are defined as disruptive solutions built around unique, protected or hard-to-reproduce technological or scientific advances. Deep-tech companies have a strong research base. They create value by developing new solutions, not only by disrupting business models.
      Technology readiness levels (TRLs)* are commonly used to estimate the maturity of technologies. The framework enables consistent, uniform discussions of technical maturity across different types of technology. For a detailed description of each TRL, please consult page 50 of this publication.

  • I am not the sole founder of my company and have a business partner: can I apply?

    • We accept applications from businesses that are headed by several cofounders.

  • My project is an entrepreneurial initiative undertaken within a corporation. Am I eligible?

    • No, we accept only early-stage businesses that have been registered as independent companies and are not affiliated in any way with an established corporation or a similar women's initiative program.

  • I want to set up a spin-off, subsidiary or franchise for an existing company. Am I eligible?

    • No, your project must be an original business creation, wholly conceived of by the team; a completely new concept, meaning it cannot be a buy-back, offshoot, subsidiary or franchise of an existing concept.

      University or research spin-off can however apply to the Science & Technology Pioneer Award. Please read the following definitions if you are unsure:

      - Spin-offs are divisions of companies or organizations that then become independent businesses with assets, employees, intellectual property, technology, or existing products that are taken from the parent company.

      - University or research spin-off are science-based companies where the underlying research has been conducted by members of their team while they were students or researchers in a university or an independent research center prior to the company creation.

      - A subsidiary is a company that is owned or controlled by another company, which is called the parent company, parent, or holding company.

      - A franchise is a type of license that a party (franchisee) acquires to allow them to have access to a business's (franchisor) proprietary knowledge, processes, and trademarks in order to allow the party to sell a product or provide a service under the business's name.

  • I have no team members at this point. Can I apply?

    • Yes, you may apply for the Cartier Women's Initiative program.

  • My business has been set up as a sole proprietorship. May I apply to the Cartier Women’s Initiative?

    • With the exception of Francophone Sub-Saharan Africa and Middle East & North Africa Regional Award categories, we do not accept sole proprietorships in which there is no legal distinction between the owner and the business entity. We focus on businesses that are looking to grow and scale in the future, and as such, focus on more mature business formation entities.

  • I was selected as a Cartier Women's Initiative fellow for a prior edition of the program. May I apply again?

    • Businesses that have formerly participated in the program are not eligible to apply to the Cartier Women’s Initiative a second time and will be automatically rejected. Furthermore, any cofounder of a business that has formerly participated in the program is also ineligible.

  • My project was not selected. Why?

    • Unfortunately due to the volume of applications we receive, we do not discuss applications before, during or after the application period. The Cartier Women’s Initiative ’s decision is considered definitive and irrevocable.

  • Are there limits on how you can spend the grant?

    • The Cartier Women’s Initiative does not dictate how the grant is spent but does expect fellows to comply with our impact reporting policy.

  • Is the grant subject to taxation?

    • It may be subject to local taxation. Payment of all and any taxes in relation to the grant is the sole responsibility of the Cartier Women’s Initiative fellows.