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    Cartier Women’s Initiative rewarded visionary female entrepreneurs

    Jessica Michault

    Salma Bougarrani took home the prize for water sanitation work in Morocco

    In a grand celebration of innovation, impact, and female empowerment, the Cartier Women’s Initiative once again shone a light on the transformative journeys of visionary women entrepreneurs. Against the striking backdrop of Shenzhen, China, the 2024 awards ceremony unfolded with all the elegance and dynamism that has become synonymous with Cartier. 

    Under the theme “Forces for Good,” this year’s initiative underlined once again Cartier’s enduring commitment to championing women’s causes and catalysing positive change on a global scale. From the opening notes of the Zhejiang Conservatory of Music’s enchanting performance to the thought-provoking dialogue led by luminaries like writer Sandi Toksvig, the evening was an ode to collective action and solidarity.

    This year, Salma Bougarrani was awarded as the winner for her work revolutionising sanitation in rural Morocco. With a low-tech, passive filtration system, her company treats wastewater for agricultural irrigation, reducing water stress and empowering communities. Since 2018, Green Watech has impacted over 15,000 lives, promising a sustainable future for North Africa.

    Amal Clooney, the co-founder of the Clooney Foundation for Justice, lent her powerful voice to the proceedings. “Waging justice to advance women’s rights and gender equality means gathering our forces and forging alliances to create change. My collaboration with Cartier is grounded in a belief that partnerships with the private sector are an important tool to create positive impact and build more inclusive societies,” said Clooney in a video message played for the attendees. 

    Salma Bougarrani, winner of the Cartier Women's Initiative. Image: Supplied

    Clooney made it clear that the way forward is through partnerships, be that between the private sector and advocacy groups or individuals working together to drive progress that will change the world for the better. Cyrille Vigneron, CEO and President of Cartier, echoed that sentiment, saying that this synergy lies at the heart of Cartier’s ethos: when women thrive, humanity flourishes.

    Also on hand at the event were guests of honour Karlie Kloss who has pivoted from her work as a supermodel, to become an entrepreneur and philanthropist. She has focused her energy on supporting the next generation of women looking to get into the male-dominated STEM fields. Kloss was joined by Guo Jingjing, the Olympic diving champion who has used her platform to advocate for public welfare and environmental protection. As catalysts for change, both women shared their perspectives on gender equality and emphasised the significance of inclusion so that women from all walks of life can be empowered to realise their potential. 

    The spotlight then shifted to the remarkable Cartier Women’s Initiative 2024 fellows, the boundless creativity and entrepreneurial acumen of these women are reshaping industries and communities worldwide. Against a backdrop of mounting social and environmental challenges, these trailblazers exemplify resilience, innovation, and unwavering determination. And with Cartier’s support they will be able to continue to forge ahead and follow their callings.

    The crowning moment of the evening arrived with the announcement of the first, second, and third-place awardees across 11 categories, each a testament to the transformative power of visionary leadership.
    From groundbreaking scientific endeavours to forward-thinking initiatives fostering diversity and inclusion, these women represent the vanguard of social entrepreneurship.

    Next year the Cartier Women’s Initiative will take place against the World Expo in Osaka, Japan. It looks to be shaping up to be a landmark event that will focus on impact-driven enterprises and showcase the tangible results of the Initiative’s unwavering support of previous winners. The hope is by recognising former fellows whose ventures have yielded significant, measurable impacts, the 2025 ceremony will reaffirm the enduring legacy of the Cartier Women’s Initiative.

    Central to this project is the generous financial support provided by Cartier, with each award amounting to $100,000 – an investment in the future of female-led innovation and social change. Coupled with the invaluable network of fellows and tailored mentorship programs that Cartier has lined up, this support ecosystem propels female entrepreneurs toward ever-greater heights of success and with them the hope for a brighter future.

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