Female Entrepreneurs Run The World

And they proved it at The Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards.

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SustainabilityResilienceCreativity

Those were the three words that hummed like an entrepreneur's mantra throughout the 2018 Cartier Women's Initiative Awards in Singapore. In an incredibly powerful display of female grit, 18 women finalists had come together from around the world to present their unique and innovative business ideas around solving contemporary global challenges.

Kicking off with a video address from Madame Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, First Lady of Canada and fierce campaigner for women and children, the 2018 ceremony celebrated the entrepreneurial spirit required to effect real change across the sectors of health, environment, education, culture, electronics and technology.

From life-altering solutions for dyslexia detection and treatment (Spanish scientist Luz Rello) to teaching coding to school children (Hanan Khader, from Jordan) and an evaporative power-free, no plumbing toilet addressing the lack of appropriate sanitation in developing countries (Egyptian-American biochemist Diana Yousef), the spotlight was firmly on incredibly talented, driven women.

"In the world, women who want to come into business face more problems that men, either because of their community or their family, or when trying to have access to financial systems, it's much more difficult," said Cyrille Vigneron.

Cartier's President and CEO spearheaded the growth of the awards this year, with six laureates now awarded US$100,000 in prize money, the remaining 12 finalists awarded US$30,000 in prize money, and all receiving personalised business coaching — as well as the option to attend INSEAD business school's executive program.

After a decade, of the 200 people who have been awarded, 80 per cent of the businesses thrive, which is an impressive rate considering nine out of ten start-ups are believed destined to fail. 

This year the awards welcomed an additional network, partnering with TED Women and presenting a series of rousing talks from women finding concrete solutions to today's most pressing problems. And when Gingger Shankar whipped out her double violin (she's the only women in the world to play one) to accompany a clip from documentary Akicita: The Battle Of Standing Rock, there wasn't a dry eye in the house.

The six laureates selected by an independent international jury (among nearly 2,800 applicants from over 130 countries) are as follows:

SWATI PANDEY, INDIA
Arboreal Agro Innovations: An industrial scale, vertically-integrated producer of stevia, a 100 per cent natural substitute for sugar.

KRISTINA TSVETANOVA, AUSTRIA
Blitab Technology: A tactile tablet for the blind and visually impaired.

PAULA GOMEZ, BRAZIL
Epistemic: A device that alerts patients and caregivers of an oncoming epileptic seizure up to 25 minutes in advance.

SIROUN SHAMIGIAN, LEBANON
Kamkalima: An online platform that uses artificial intelligence and data analytics to help learn and teach Arabic.

YIDING YU, UNITED STATES
Twiage: A digital platform that enables the transmission of real-time data from ambulance to hospital.

MELISSA BIME, CAMEROON
Infiuss: An online blood bank that collects and dispatches blood donations to hospitals.


This story first appeared on ELLE.com.au.

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