Regional Awards

Regional Awards

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

For entrepreneurs who are applying to the Science & Technology Pioneer Award, please head to this page 



The 21 fellows, representing the top three businesses from each of the seven regions, will receive:


• US$ 100,000 grant for each of the 7 laureates (top business from each region)
• US$ 30,000 grant for each of the 14 finalists (2nd and 3rd runner-up businesses from each region)



Our fellowship programme focuses on several key areas of human capital support for women impact entrepreneurs, including developing a strategic financial mind-set, speaking to inspire and scaling social impact.
• Community peer learning sessions
• ‘Strategic financial mind-set’ module that aims to support fellows in building their roadmap for growth
• ‘Speaking to inspire’ communication module that focuses on leadership presence and media training
• Strategy mentoring module developed by our academic partner INSEAD business school that supports fellows in refining their business strategies
• A scholarship to attend a one-week INSEAD Social Entrepreneurship Programme pending admission based on INSEAD’s eligibility criteria and selection process

For more information, please consult the Fellowship section.



Throughout the programme, 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



The Cartier Women’s Initiative is looking for women-run and women-owned impact-driven businesses. Entrepreneurs across all sectors and from around the world are encouraged to apply.

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

• For-profit: the business should be designed to generate sufficient revenues to support its operations and return some level of profit to its owners. Non-profit enterprises are not accepted.

• Early-stage: the business should have a proven business model and be in the initial phase of its development and growth (between 1 and 5 years of licensed/registered operations). For the 2021 edition, we are looking for businesses that have been registered between August 2015 and August 2019. Moreover, we are focused on companies that are majority-owned by founders and employees at the time of application.

• Revenue generation: the business should currently be generating revenue from the sales of its products and/or services for at least 1 year as of the date of application. 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. 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.

• Impact: the business should meet 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:  A woman must fill the main leadership position, for example as CEO, General Manager or Director of the company.

Ownership: The founder needs to be a woman and she must be the largest shareholder of founder equity in the company or own a share at least equal to that of her cofounder(s).

• Legal entry age: The lead entrant must be 18 on the day of the application deadline (July 31, 2020).

• English proficiency: A good command of the English language is required (both verbal and written). 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 specialisation, and an ability to interact with fluency and spontaneity with native speakers.

• Time commitment: The applicant must commit to participating in the fellowship programme from February 2021 to November 2021. She will be expected to dedicate up to 4 hours/week virtually to the programme from January 2021 to May 2021 and up to 2 hours/week virtually from June 2021 to November 2021. In addition to the virtual programming, the applicant will also be expected to attend two weeks of in-person training: one week from May 21st to May 28th 2021 and one week in November 2021.


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.



The Jury evaluates the applications based on the following criteria:

• Market analysis & fit
• Financial & business model sustainability
• Leadership team & character of founder
• Strategy & execution
• Embedded positive social impact
• Commitment to Cartier Women's Initiative
• Quality of submission

To view the detailed list of criteria used by the jury to evaluate your business, click here.



The selection process is divided into two rounds: the finalists' selection and the laureates' selection.

• Round 1: The jury selects 21 finalists, the top three applicants of each region (Latin America & the Caribbean, North America, Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East & North Africa, East Asia, South Asia & Oceania), on the basis of their application form.

• Round 2: The finalists are invited to the final round, which includes submitting further business information and presenting their business in front of their regional jury panel during the preparatory training week. Based on the selection criteria, one laureate for each of the seven regions is selected. The announcement of the 7 laureates for the Regional Awards, along with the laureate for the Science & Technology Pioneer Award, will take place during the Awards Ceremony.



• August 2020: The CWI team and selection committee screen out the ineligible and weakest applications.
• September - October 2020: Our due diligence partner runs a desk diligence on the top 10 best applications per region. This desk diligence includes a research call and the collection of additional documentation from the shortlisted applicants. The CWI team selects 5 applications to move on to the next stage.
• October - November 2020:  Our due diligence partner runs an in-depth virtual due diligence on the top 5 businesses per region. This involves a series of calls with the founder, senior management team, suppliers, partners and clients of the company. Additional documentation may also be requested at this stage. Our due diligence partner then drafts a detailed memo that is shared with the CWI team and the jury to support them in their decision-making. 
• December - January 2020: Each jury panel reviews the top 5 applications from its region. The jury members, who are granted access to the application form, supporting documents and the due diligence memo, are tasked with the responsibility of selecting the top three businesses per region on the basis of the CWI selection criteria. These top three businesses per region −which amount to a total of 21 businesses in total− are nominated as part of our 2021 cohort of fellows and move on to the next phase of the programme. 

The applicants who have not been selected will be informed of the status of their application by the end of the month of February.