The Desi Touch At Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards

2 min


The Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards is a joint collaborative project initiated by Cartier, McKinsey & Company, and INSEAD Business School to encourage female entrepreneurs.

According to Forbes, the annual international business competition was founded in 2006 to identify, support, and encourage projects by female entrepreneurs. Since its inception, more than 18,000 women worldwide have applied to the CWIA, with 219 companies creating more than 7,000 jobs in 51 countries and 80% of these businesses are active to date!

For 2019, 21 finalists have been selected from 7 regions, viz., Latin America, Europe, North America, Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East and North Africa, Far East Asia, and Southeast Asia & Oceania.

The top 7 laureates will receive $100,000 in prize money and the rest will receive $30,000. Additionally, they will get, based on eligibility, a scholarship to attend the six-day INSEAD Social Entrepreneurship Executive Education Programme and ongoing support and/or mentoring for a year following the Awards Week to support the further growth and development of their business.

This year there is one finalist each from India and Pakistan – Priya Prakash and Fariel Salahuddin respectively.

Priya Prakash is a weight-lifter who started her project, HealthSetGo to instill healthy habits among young people in India. It is India’s largest healthcare organization for schools with the mission to nurture the world’s largest network of health promoting schools. The program currently operates in the schools of over 77 cities, impacting 5,00,000+ children and parents in India.

UpTrade, started by Fariel Salahuddin, is enabling people to purchase solar powered water pumps and home systems in exchange for 20-60 goats! According to its official website, it enables small-holder rural, off-grid farming communities to meet their farming and household needs using livestock as currency. E-Mandi is UpTrade’s electronic livestock market platform which provides an innovative solution to small-holder livestock farmers and low-income households looking for direct access to markets and alternative financing mechanisms. By enabling these communities to leverage their assets and unlock the non-cash liquidity of their livestock, UpTrade plays an important role in helping them purchase essential solar farming assets.

These unique initiatives, with women at their helm, not only helps to benefit the larger population but at the same time, it provides an out-of-the-box solution to an age-old problem.

The Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards celebrates the growth of female entrepreneurship around the world and at the same time provides them with the much-needed aid in the form of funds and guidance.

Entrepreneurial initiatives with such far-reaching impact, everyone is already a winner.

We wish them luck for tonight’s award ceremony in San Francisco!

Snigdha Pandey


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