News

15Oct
Blog
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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?

24Sep
Blog
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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.

28Aug
Blog
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By Allyson Zimmermann | Executive Director, Europe, Catalyst

European women do less well 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?

26Jul
Blog
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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.’

11Jul
Blog
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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.

29May
Blog
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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.

25May
Blog
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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.

15May
Blog
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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.

07May
Blog
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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?

12Apr
Blog
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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.

10Apr
Blog
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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.

03Apr
Blog
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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.

27Mar
Blog
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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?

26Mar
Blog
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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.

20Mar
Blog
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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.

13Mar
Blog
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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.

09Mar
Blog
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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.

08Mar
Blog
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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.

07Mar
Blog
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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.

05Mar
Blog
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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.

05Mar
Blog
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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.

28Feb
Blog
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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?

28Feb
Blog
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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.”

26Feb
Blog
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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.

21Feb
Blog
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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.

14Feb
Blog

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.

07Feb
Blog
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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!

21Dec
Business Updates
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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.

08Nov
Business Updates
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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.

04Nov
Business Updates
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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.

04Nov
Blog
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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.

09Aug
Blog
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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.

09Aug
Blog
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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.