With the drive to support women enterprises gaining momentum in Singapore, it’s timely that Cartier has added an additional, 7th region to its Women’s Initiative Awards. Up to now, the 12-year-old global competition that recognises women-run, for-profit businesses that have a social impact have honed in on Europe, Latin America, the Middle East & North Africa, North America, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the Asia-Pacific. Starting from next year’s edition, the last category will be divided into Far East Asia and South-east Asia, testifying to the strength of budding female entrepreneurs in this region.
This year, in a glittery ceremony held at Capella Singapore, the prize for the Asia-Pacific category was awarded to Swati Pandey from India. Her plant biotech company, Arboreal Agro Innovations, produces a sugar substitute from the stevia plant, and aims to help boost farmer income and save the country’s resources. Indeed, speak to the 18 finalists from the six continents, and it’s clear that already accomplished women are making astute use of technology to address specific issues in their community.
Siroun Shamigian from Lebanon, for example, left her job as a high-school teacher to set up a Web-based platform to help teach Arabic, after discovering that teachers of the subject were lacking in tech support tools and that increasingly fewer students were able to write Arabic. Hanan Khader from Jordan, who started coding at the age of 10 and took her skills to Silicon Valley, launched coding education programme Hello World Kids when she found out her children were not being trained in this essential skill at school. Then there’s American Audrey Cheng, who’s all of 24 years of age, who moved to Kenya three years ago to work for a venture capital fund. Seeing that IT graduates were not getting jobs, she set up Moringa School in Nairobi to teach practical computer skills.
Cheng and Khader, along with 10 other finalists of the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards, received US$30,000 (S$41,00). Category winners, featured here, took home US$100,000.
Applications for Women’s Initiative 2019 close on Aug 31. Visit www.cartierwomensinitiative.com for details.
2018 AWARD WINNERS
These women found a problem worth solving.