Cartier Women’s Initiative Honours the New Age Change-makers

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The company’s entrepreneurship initiative seeks to give entrepreneurs more chances to develop “solutions for change.” Cartier has supported female entrepreneurs whose businesses have a good impact on the environment and society since 2006.

The jewelry company Cartier, which is owned by Richemont, is implementing this initiative under the name Cartier Women’s Initiative. In order to help them overcome obstacles including underfunding and lack of access, the project provides grants, expert guidance, networking opportunities, and money to women-owned or female-led firms in any field.

Prior to last year, the program was solely intended for women. However, Cartier welcomed men into the program in 2023 when it added a new diversity, equity, and inclusion pilot award. This award recognizes and honors business owners, male or female, whose ventures promote possibilities for under-represented groups.

Seventy business owners applied when the pilot grant was announced last year; Cartier reports that eighty percent of the applicants identified as female and twenty percent as male. (Cartier withholds the total number of candidates it receives for the program.) The D.E.I. prize category received 83 applications this year, with 20% of the applicants being men.

“We feel that the D.E.I. category should be open to all, regardless of gender, social background, religion, origin, size or sexual orientation because everyone can face challenges to access,” Cyrille Vigneron, the president and chief executive of Cartier since 2016, said by phone from Geneva. “Our objective is to create a sense of belonging in a more inclusive world.

The Cartier Women’s Initiative’s worldwide program director, Wingee Sampaio, reportedly stated that the D.E.I. category was aimed at “businesses who seek to solve an inclusion challenge” and was based in Paris. According to Ms. Sampaio, “these entrepreneurs typically select a problem because of a personal experience that motivated them to develop solutions for change.” “We don’t see those solutions emerging if they are left out of the entrepreneurship ecosystem.”

The newly created category showcases the evolution of the Cartier Women’s Initiative and its potential to buck the growing trend of business executives pulling back from D.E.I. programs.

The endeavor has been spearheaded by Mr. Vigneron. The Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society hosted a business-plan competition when the program first started in 2006. However, Mr. Vigneron made it a stand-alone initiative in 2017 and since then, almost 300 entrepreneurs from 60 countries have received grants totaling more than $9.5 million.

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