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


  • When is the application deadline?

    Applications for all awards close at 6PM CEST (GMT+2) on June 30, 2023. No applications will be accepted after this deadline.

    • How do I apply to the fellowship program?

      Please apply for the award that is most relevant to your business. Cartier Women’s Initiative fellowship is part of the award.

      • 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. Please make sure to safelist notification emails from the application platform we are using.

      • 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.

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

        • We are only able to accept applications in English. A good command of English is needed 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. Applicants with disabilities are encouraged to apply, and every effort will be made to include them appropriately.

      • 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 and may take up to 2 business days to be granted. Please note that once the call for applications period has closed, we will not be granting permissions to edit.

      • 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. Businesses that submit applications to multiple award categories will be disqualified.

      • Which Award should I apply for?

        • For the Regional Awards, we are looking for early-stage impact businesses that have gained some traction by validating product/market fit in targeted segment, validating their business and financial model and that are generating revenue. These businesses tend to be innovating on business model and distribution of product and services.

          If your company is based on the development of a pioneering new technology, a complex engineering process, or a scientific discovery (and not only on a disruptive business model), we would recommend applying to the Science & Technology Pioneer Award. If your company is leveraging an existing technology, process or model but applying it in a novel way, we would recommend applying to the Regional Awards.

          Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Award is designed for businesses that are working on closing gaps of access, outcome or opportunity for underserved or underrepresented communities. Underserved or underrepresented communities might vary according to geographies. These communities suffer from discrimination based on different dimensions of diversity such as age, gender, sexual orientation, abilities (physical and mental), ethnicity, geographic location or religion. This list is not exhaustive. Gaps of access, outcome or opportunity, as they relate to levels of income/income inequality, are also eligible but the applicant should seek to address they are related to existing discrimination based on internal dimension(s) of diversity. Otherwise, the business would be a better fit for the Regional Awards.


        • 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.


        • 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 by December 2023. The fellows will then be announced in April 2024.

      • 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’?

        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). Companies must be 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 business is set up as a spin-off, subsidiary or franchise for an existing company. Am I eligible?

        • No, unless the sub-criteria in the paragraph below is met.  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. Furthermore, if your business is set up as a holding company-subsidiary structure, whereby the sole purpose of the holding company is to hold the subsidiary, and the subsidiary is the only holding of the holding company; then it is eligible if the business is a completely new concept and both holding and subsidiary fit within the years of operations requirement.

          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?

        • 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, or any other Cartier entrepreneurship programs, are not authorized to apply to the Program a second time and will be automatically rejected. Furthermore, any prior Cartier entrepreneurship program awardees are not authorized to apply to the Program a second time and will be automatically rejected.


        • If you are applying to the Regional Awards or the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Award, the business should be generating revenue from the sales of its products and/or services for at least 1 year as of the date of application, recurring according to your business cycle. If your business has not been generating recurring revenue from sales of its products and/or services for at least 1 year, it is not eligible. If your business has started generating revenue, it is eligible but we would recommend waiting a year or two before applying to the programme. Our programme is designed for businesses and entrepreneurs that have achieved some level of traction and business model sustainability.

      • 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.


        • Cartier Women’s Initiative regions are based on geography. For example, businesses in French Polynesia will be reviewed within the Oceania region and those in Puerto Rico will be reviewed within the Latin America and the Caribbean region.