Prestigious Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards reveals 2019’s top female entrepreneurs

The 2019 Cartier Women’s Initiative Award has named its seven laureates with winners in France, the United States, Mexico, Cameroon, South Korea, UAE and the Philippines.

The Cartier Women’s Initiative was created as an annual international business competition to identify, support and encourage projects by women entrepreneurs. It was founded in 2006 by Cartier in partnership with McKinsey & Co., a global management consulting firm, and the INSEAD Business School.

The seven laureates of the 2019 edition of the Cartier Women’s Initiative were revealed by Cartier CEO Cyrille Vigneron at an awards ceremony, held in San Francisco, USA on 3rd, May 2019. Each laureate has been awarded US $100,000 in prize money, having been selected by an independent international jury, from nearly 2,900 applications from 142 countries.  

All laureates will be receiving personalised business coaching, media visibility, networking opportunities as well as the option to attend an INSEAD Executive Programme (ISEP).

Since its inception, more than 18,000 women worldwide have applied to the CWIA, with 205 companies creating more than 7,000 jobs in 52 countries. Over the years these women entrepreneurs were supported by nearly 400 jury members and coaches.

In less than a decade, more than 18,000 women worldwide have applied to the Cartier Women’s Initiative. It has transformed the lived of 198 women entrepreneurs in over 49 countries. Cartier has supported 184 companies, of which, 80% are still running today.

2019 Cartier Women’s Initiative Award Laureates

This year’s laureates have been sharing what it takes to succeed as a female entrepreneur and the challenges they have overcome as part of their journey.

The 2019 laureates:

Latin America

Liza Paola Velarde Calvillo, Mexico

Delee Technologies – A blood test that detects the presence of circulating tumour cells (CTCs) in cancer patients, enabling physicians to better monitor the progress of the disease.
Within the next five years, Liza plans to be one of the leading innovation centres in Latin America, as well as continuing her mission to develop technologies that can have a profound impact on the medical profession.

North America

Ran Ma, United States

Siren – Smart socks for diabetics made of neuro fabric, a proprietary technology fitted with micro-sensors that continuously monitor foot temperature. By monitoring temperature, medical professionals can identify leg injuries in the early stages – avoiding ulcers, amputations and even premature death. 


Zineb Agoumi, France

EzyGain – An affordable space-saving and connected gait rehabilitation device that secures patients at the pelvis and monitors their progress. Zineb identified that with significant growth in degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimers and Arthritis, the need for daily assistive devices for the handicapped is rapidly increasing.

Sub-Saharan Africa

Manka Angwafo, Cameroon

Grassland Cameroon Ltd – A premier grain-handling service that works closely with smallholder farmers in the North West region of Cameroon. Raised on a grain farm by her grandmother in remote Cameroon, inspired Manka to create this system that made the harvesting process more efficient and easier for women.

Middle East & North Africa

Hibah Shata, UAE

Maharat Learning Center – A specialist school for young children with Specific Learning Difficulties (SLD). Since opening the centre in 2017, Maharat Learning Center now helps over 70 clients, offering a range of specialised tutoring programmes for children and young adults in the UAE. 

East Asia

Yeon Jeong Cho, South Korea

SAY Global Inc – An online language learning platform that connects retired seniors in Korea with language learners from around the world. Over 75% of teachers currently employed by SAY are over 50 years old and with Korea having one of the fastest ageing populations in the world, many baby boomers still require employment.

South Asia & Oceania

Carmina Bayombong, Philippines

InvestEd – An investment platform that provides student loans to underprivileged youth in the Philippines. To date, InvestEd has helped provide education loans to 141 students and plans to be the country’s leader in education financing in the next five years.

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