Calling all Singaporean girlbosses: The Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards 2018 wants you

Application now open

Text: Angelyn Kwek

Cartier is putting out the nationwide call for all exceptional female entrepreneurs, and if you — or someone you know — has a brainchild that’s #drivingchange, read on to find out why you should give the Women’s Initiative Awards a go ahead

Got a business you've sunk your heart and soul plus your sweat, blood and tears into? Any entrepreneur worth their salt knows all too well the struggle in getting a venture off the ground, especially in the competitive pool that is the Singaporean market, not to mention being seen and heard is another ballgame with the advent of social media. And once you've made it to #girlboss, staying on top is a full time commitment, between juggling day-to-day operations, growing your platform, and in the midst of all that, attempting to have a semblance of work-life balance. The saying 'it takes a village to raise a child' — or a business, in this case — feels pretty apropos right about now.

In a bid to even the playing field, the Cartier Women's Initiative Awards (CWIA) is exactly the programme that supports female entrepreneurs leading creative start-ups that are financially sustainable and socially impactful. Founded 10 years ago in partnership with INSEAD Business School and McKinsey & Company, the Awards has since seen scores of women from over 120 countries coming forward to spotlight their companies on an international competitive stage. Not only is it an opportunity to push your business forward, it is also a chance of a lifetime to meet, share and connect with hundreds of like-minded, aspirational women from all over the world.

2017's CWIA finalists — who were selected by an independent international jury — saw a diverse squad whose innovative start-ups ran the gamut from organic produce (Sara and Lara's Baskets from Egypt) to water management solutions (Naireeta Services repping the Asia-Pacific region). Narrowed down from a pool of 1,200 applicants, a lineup of 18 finalists gathered forthe annual Awards ceremony held in Singapore for the very first time, where six laureates took home a winning package that included substantial prize money and one-to-one personalised business mentoring.

Additionally, the programme's funding and coaching opportunities contribute to the global economy by enabling its laureates to spread their wings further to reach greater heights and create new job prospects — the overarching goal of which is to encourage more women to pursue their dreams and achieve their full potential.

As the CWIA embarks on the 2018 edition of the Awards, Cartier is casting its net far and wide in the search for exceptional girlbosses whose businesses are driving change and disrupting the status quo, making concrete contributions that seek effective and affordable solutions to better future generations. So be part of this inspiring girl power collective and get your voice heard.

In the lead up to Awards week, finalists can expect:

One-to-one personalised business coaching
Entrepreneurship workshops, knowledge sessions and networking events
A place on the INSEAD Social Entrepreneurship 6-Day Executive Programme
Networking opportunities through the Cartier Awards community
Media visibility

First prize for the six laureates: US$100, 000 in prize money and a one-to-one personalised business mentoring

Second prize for the remaining 12 finalists: US$30, 000 in prize money

The main leadership position must be filled by a woman, with the company being an original, for-profit business creation in the start-up phase (between two to three years of operation). Selection will be based on financial sustainability, social impact and creativity. The competition is open to women from all countries and sectors of industry.

Applications for the 2018 edition of the CWIA will close on 31 August, 2017 at 2pm Central European Time (CET). Finalists will be announced early next year.

Find out more about the Cartier Women's Initiative Awards here. To apply, click here. Follow CWIA on Instagram.