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Cartier Women's Initiative 2020: Get to know the finalists who are making a global impact with their social enterprises

Cartier Women's Initiative 2020: Get to know the finalists who are making a global impact with their social enterprises

Big steps

Text: Karelle Ng

Editor: Crystal Lee


The Cartier's Women Initiative is an annual international business programme that identifies, supports and encourages projects and businesses by female impact entrepreneurs around the world. Since 2006, 240 remarkable women from 56 different countries has received over US$3 million for their socially- and environmentally-conscious enterprises.

For the first time this year, representatives of countries including Australia, Benin, Denmark, New Zealand, and Sweden are amongst the 21 finalists to be selected. In June 2020, Cartier will award seven laureates, one from each region, up to US$100,000 of funding as well as other benefits like media visibility, strategy coaching, and international networking opportunities. Below, we spotlight on three that are making a global impact.

Cuantix

Cuantix is a cloud-based impact measurement platform that helps social enterprises measure and quantify how they change people's lives and solve social challenges.

When businesses seek out partnerships or funding, data and numbers have to be brought to the table. With social good, it's hard to quantify "impact". Cuantix does that by recommending the most relevant impact variables to be measured and automates data collection through technology and social networks.

"I have seen so many projects fail because they don't have the data to make good decisions," says founder and CEO Adriana Mata. She had experienced that first-hand as a corporate social responsibility manager for a Venezuelan company. "I talked to the president about all the good things we were doing. He said, 'Adriana, you seem very happy but you haven't shown me any numbers.' Even as an engineer I didn't see the importance of data. It was frustrating. They cut off the project because I couldn't show the good we were doing."

Mata started Cuantix in July 2018 to help organisations raise more funds and address a broader range of social challenges. "I liked to complain a lot, but I wondered, what am I doing to help?" she says. Well, Mata is definitely making her mark now.

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Queen of Raw

A marketplace to buy and sell unused textiles — think of it like an Airbnb for fabric — Queen of Raw keeps discarded fabrics out of landfills and turns pollution into profit by connecting factories, mills, retailers, and brands with buyers.

"I was exposed to the voluminous amount of waste (in the fashion industry)" says founder Stephanie Benedetto. "I would see walls upon walls of perfectly good stuff collecting dust... I thought, this doesn't make any sense. There's a supply and demand mismatch." Inspired by her grandfather who repurposed wasted garments by hand to be sold to locals, Benedetto's block chain-powered textile marketplace already have saved millions of dollars and more than a billion gallons of water — enough to last a total of 1.43 million people for three years.

Beyond fashion and textiles, the company is currently lookint to extend their technology to other industries and to other parts of the supply chain.

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Geospiza

Founded by former emergency manager Sarah Tuneberg, Geospiza analyses and visualises risk for climate-exposed organisations to enable better decision-making in the face of deep uncertainty.

Tuneberg developed Geospiza after Hurricane Sandy, where she found herself struggling to interpret data that was essential to predict and mitigate disasters. With a desire to build a software tool that presents understandable and actionable data, she signed up for a tech conference and soon entered the world of pitch decks and venture capital.

According to a 2018 ReliefWeb Report, catastrophic events cost the world US$131.7 billion. This is where Geospiza comes in — to help global multinationals "understand their risk and make resilience strategies to ensure that they can continue". Her company also impacts individuals in on a smaller scale: the Kansas City fire department uses the app to make targeted delivery of smoke detectors to people at greatest risks to prevent the number of home fires.

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Visit Cartier's Women Initiative to see more inspiring women creating change.

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