In this section, you will find everything you need to know about the application and selection process of the Regional Awards. 

For the 2023 edition, we have added two new regional categories: Francophone Sub-Saharan Africa and Oceania.

The 2023 Awards Ceremony will take place in Paris on May 10, 2023. The call for applications for the 2024 edition will open on May 10, 2023 and end on June 30, 2023 at 6pm CEST.


Regional Categories


The fellows, representing the top three businesses from each of the nine regions, will receive:


• US$ 100,000 grant for each first-place awardee

• US$ 60,000 grant for each second-place awardee

• US$ 30,000 grant for each third-place awardee


Our fellowship program focuses on several key areas of human capital support for women impact entrepreneurs and offers a combination of 1:1 training and collective workshops.

• 1:1 training in financials, storytelling, impact measurement, etc.

• 1:1 advice sessions with subject matter experts in the Cartier Women's Initiative community

• Community peer learning sessions

• Online and in-person leadership communications and media training workshops

• Online knowledge sessions, group coaching, and in-person INSEAD Social Entrepreneurship Program and/or INSEAD Executive Education Program (pending admission based on INSEAD’s eligibility criteria and selection process)

• 1:1 leadership capacity executive coaching by The Coaching Fellowship


Throughout the program, we strive to highlight the social and environmental impact created by our fellows and bridge connections between women impact entrepreneurs and their supporters.

• International exposure & media visibility

• Access to an online & offline community of 500+ experts and peers

• Ongoing support for the development of the fellows’ businesses


2019 fellow Tracy O'Rourke and 2019 fellow Liza Velarde during the 2019 Awards Week in San Francisco


Eligibility criteria:

The Regional Awards of the Cartier Women’s Initiative are looking for women-run and women-owned impact-driven businesses. Entrepreneurs across all sectors and geographies are encouraged to apply.

To be considered for the Regional Awards, the applicant and her business must meet the following eligibility criteria:

For-profit: The business should be designed to generate sufficient revenue to support its operations and return some level of profit to its owners. Non-profit enterprises are not eligible.

Early-stage: The business should have a proven business model and be in the initial phase of its development and growth (between 1 and 6 years of licensed/registered operations as of the date of application). This means that businesses applying to the 2023 edition must have been incorporated between June 2016 and June 2021.

Revenue generation: 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. For businesses applying to the 2023 edition, this means that they need to have been generating revenue since June 2021. It is understood that a business that is generating revenue is not necessarily profitable in its first years of operations.

Fundraising: The business should not have raised more than US$2 million in dilutive funding as of the date of application. Dilutive funding is any kind of funding that requires you to give away a piece of your company, including not only future profits, but possibly control. The Regional Awards cap the funds raised in order to ensure that the businesses selected fall within a similar range of development. Please note that businesses that have not raised any external funding are also welcome to apply.

Positive impact: The business should demonstrate that it has realized strong positive impact in its industry and that it has the potential to realize even more impact down the road. It should contribute to at least one of the United Nations 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.

Leadership: The applicant must be a woman and she must fill one of the main leadership positions, for example as CEO, COO, CTO, General Manager, or Managing Director of the business.

Ownership: The business must be majority owned by its founders and team members at the time of application. The applicant must be part of the founding team. Moreover, at least one of the business’s founders must be a woman and a woman and/or multiple women must be the largest shareholder(s) of founder equity (not total equity) in the business or own a share at least equal to that of her/their male co-founder(s).

Legal entry age: The applicant must be at least 18 years of age on the day of the application deadline (June 30, 2022).

English proficiency: A good command of the English language is required. We require the Common European Framework of Reference Level B2 or above. This level requires an understanding of the main ideas of complex text, technical discussion in business and your field of specialization, and an ability to interact with fluency and spontaneity with native speakers. English proficiency is important because this is the common language for the Cartier Women's Initiative team, its partners, the jury members and the overall community. Being proficient will allow the fellow to fully participate in the community and in the fellowship.

Time commitment: The applicant must commit to participating in the fellowship program from January 2023 to December 2023. She will be expected to dedicate up to 4 hours/week virtually to the program from January 2023 to May 2023 and up to 2 hours/week virtually from June 2023 to December 2023. In addition to the virtual training, the applicant will also be expected to attend one week of in-person training in May 2023. Beyond the fellowship, there are also two days of on-site filming of the fellow and her business in the first quarter of 2023.


2019 Awards Ceremony in San Francisco


Application process:

To apply to the Regional Awards, you need to complete the online application form and provide the supporting documentation listed below.


• Your resume

• Your business registration document

• Your pitch deck: we are not looking for a specific format, just submit an existing pitch deck that accurately describes the impact of your business. This can be an investor presentation or a product presentation (no more than 15 pages max.).

• A one-minute video of yourself in which you answer the following questions:

   - What is your motivation behind solving the problem that you have identified?

   - What is the impact you wish to create through your solution?

   - What do you wish to gain/contribute to the Cartier Women’s Initiative community?


• 3 additional attachments of your choice: image of product, brochure, press, article, research, etc.

These documents must be submitted on the online portal in the "Attachments" section and cannot be sent separately by email.


I am very grateful for having participated in the entire process. It is long and tough but because of that, it made us structure our business and presentation in a very professional way. It is very gratifying to see the results at the end.

Paula Gomez

2018 fellow, Latin America & the Caribbean; CEO & Co-Founder of Epistemic



The Jury evaluates the applications based on the following criteria:

• Embedded positive impact

Is it positive, long-term, and strong in terms of breadth and depth of impact? How embedded is it within the business?

We are looking for businesses that have:

- A high intentionality of creating social and/or environmental impact.

- Considered and embedded a "theory of change" designed to achieve desired impact that includes a problem statement and flow of activities and outcomes to lead to the desired impact.

- Identified key impact indicators and milestones: dynamic indicators and measurement methods that are defined, realistic and able to grow with the business. Reach of impact: How many people without access are reached through the solution? Is the business offering a solution that is new to the region? Depth of impact: How and to what extent does the solution affect individuals/households/societies that did not previously have access?

- Businesses that display strong realized and potential impact.

• Market analysis and fit

Is the market large and/or growing? Does the team have a clear competitive advantage? Has the team achieved product/market fit?

We are looking for businesses that have:

- Identified a large and unmet need in a growing industry (requiring a realistic level of behavioral change).

- Identified a long-term, sustainable, and defensible competitive advantage.

- Identified a unique opportunity or a solution that others have not been able to see or operationalize (may not be new to other areas of the world but unique to this geography).

- Potential to have a big share in a market (ability to be in #1 or #2 position).

- Evidence of customer validation and of product/market fit.

• Sustainable business and financial model

Does the team have a sustainable business and financial model?

We are looking for a business that is realistic, sustainable, scalable, growth orientated, and has a well-defined business model and a well thought out financial model.

- Sufficient financial return potential to allow for strategic growth. Businesses are not required to reach venture scale so long as they can reach profitability – both models are equally valuable and accepted at the Cartier Women's Initiative. If external investors are needed, the expected level of return needs to match with investors' needs. If external investors are not needed, we want to understand how the business plans to fund its capital needs.

- A sustainable and scalable business model (often tech enabled; good margins, unit economics should work at small scale).

- A likelihood of high percentage of repeat clients and/or opportunity to sell additional products to clients.

- Realistic expectations of sales cycles in markets (excluding political events or unforeseen natural disasters).

- An ability to be the price maker and command favorable payment terms from customers.

• Strategy and execution

We are looking for businesses that have:

- A well-developed expansion plan (the "how" to grow/measure business) which includes: clearly defined future goals/ KPIs, and a clear articulation of how to use resources (people, capital, etc.) to achieve those goals.

- Thoroughly evaluated the risks and capabilities and have factored them into the strategy.

- Built ongoing dynamic monitoring mechanisms into planning (KPI review process).

- Set up good delivery mechanisms for their product/service.

• Leadership team and character

Is the team diverse, well balanced, skilled and experienced?

The senior management team should ideally be composed of a complementary set of two to four core team members and should have ideally surrounded itself with trusted advisors/a board. The senior management team should display the following characteristics:

- Integrity (honest, authentic, open to share and receive feedback).

- Relevant experience and/or proven execution excellence (not just years of experience, but years doing the same thing).

- Achievements (not necessarily in the field, but signs of ambition and accomplishment).

- Energy level (ambitious goals, clear principles, not stretched or close to burnout).

- Motivation (What is their motivation? Is it aligned with the long-term success of the business?)

- Ability to attract and retain top talent.

- Vision, conscious leadership and purpose-driven culture.

- Entrepreneurial and frugal approach (including realistic plans for use of funds).

The founder should be aligned with Cartier’s corporate values and display the following character traits:

- Curiosity: Curiosity was the driving force behind the Cartier founders and has been at the heart of what we have done ever since.

- Open-mindedness: Free spirited and in tune with the world, Cartier has a long history of pushing boundaries.

- Generosity: We seek to embody the kind of impact we want to have on the world.

- Sharing: We proudly communicate our values, heritage and passion. We foster a welcoming and collaborative style.

- Respect: We respect all people and cultures with the understanding that what we do has impact, both large and small, well beyond the confines of Cartier.

- Rigor: We bring a high level of precision to everything we do.

- Independence: Our pioneering spirit drives us to create our own path in the world and to show a way forward to others.

Dedication to program resources and quality of submission

Dedication to program resources

Will the fellow:

- Engage with the program opportunities/resources and leverage them to grow her leadership and business?

- Submit her deliverables on time and communicate if any extenuating circumstances arise?

- Value and respect the community (team, jury, coaches, fellows, service providers, etc.)?

Quality of Submission

- Is the application short and succinct, well written, organized with relevant supporting information and provides the most pertinent information?

- Did the Due Diligence Submissions reveal the most pertinent information and answer the outstanding questions on the business?

- Is the presentation well prepared, persuasive and clear, well-constructed, supported by the deck and delivered in compelling language with passion?

• Commitment to the vision of the Cartier Women's Initiative

Will the fellow:

- Contribute to the community (presence, know-how, resources, etc.) by helping others grow and by sharing her expertise?

- Spread the vision, mission, and values of the Cartier Women's Initiative?

- Be open to taking on a role in the community as jury member, advisor or coach to future fellows?


The selection process is divided into two rounds: the selection of the fellows and the ranking of the fellows to determine the first-place, second-place, and third-place awardees.

• Round 1: The jury selects the top three applicants of each region on the basis of their application form. The top three applicants become our fellows.

• Round 2: The fellows are invited to the final round, which includes submitting further business information and presenting their business in front of their regional jury panel. Based on the selection criteria, the jury selects the first-place, second-place, and third-place awardees. The announcement of the ranking for the Regional Awards will take place during the Awards Ceremony.

Read More



Jury Members

The jury members play a key role in reviewing the candidates’ applications and selecting the fellows.




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



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