Cartier has announced the 18 finalists for the 2017 Cartier Women's Initiative Award nominees, and once again it promises to be an inspirational group of game-changers who have made the list. For the past decade, the Cartier Awards has become synonymous with supporting creative excellence from around the world, with more than 160 entrepreneurs from 45 countries being showcased during that period.
Cartier, in partnership with INSEAD Business School and McKinsey & Company, have announced the much anticipated 2017 Finalists of the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards. The 18 finalists were selected fromnearly 1900 applications representing 120 countries.
Since 2006, the Cartier Awards has supported women entrepreneurs leading creative, for-profit start-ups that are financially sustainable and socially impactful. This prestigious global competition continues to contribute to the global economy, by seeking out audacious female entrepreneurs who are making concrete contributions to finding effective and affordable solutions for future generations, as well as to encourage more women to achieve their full potential.
Meet the 5 inspirational women finalists representing Africa in 2017:
Kathy Ku, Spouts of Water, Uganda
When Kathy Ku spent a summer in Uganda she was struck by the lack of access to safe water. Convinced change was necessary, she teamed up with fellow Harvard student John Kye to form SPOUTS of Water in 2012. This social enterprise is on a mission to provide access to safe drinking water for all Ugandans. SPOUTS produces the Purifaaya ceramic water filter, a low cost, ceramic water filter made from locally sourced materials creating an easy to use solution for providing safe, pure water to Ugandans. The filters are locally produced in a factory outside Kampala and distributed to all four regions of Uganda as well as to South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Website: WWW.SPOUTS.ORG
Nneka Mobisson, Mdoc Healthcare, Nigeria
A mobile platform that provides people living with chronic disease with 24/7 access to virtual healthcare providers.
When Nneka Mobisson lost her father following complications from a massive stroke, the tragedy highlighted a huge gap in Africa’s healthcare support and led her to launch a revolutionary digital health social enterprise which is saving lives. "My father died at the age of 53 largely because he didn’t have access to a team of doctors who could support him to manage his uncontrolled hypertension.” In 2013, the 41-year-old Nigerian, a paediatrician by training with a Master’s degree in Public Health, launched mDoc Healthcare, an integrated healthcare management platform providing 24/7 access to virtual, credentialed doctors, nurses and allied healthcare providers via SMS, voice and video platforms. The business is helping people live longer, happier and healthier lives and Nneka believes that developing the health landscape in Africa will help unlock the continent’s true potential. Website: WWW.MYMDOC.COM
Salma Abdulai, Unique Quality Product, Ghana
Processes and markets fonio, a nutritious and climate resistant indigenous cereal.
Driven by a desire to tackle malnutrition and transform rural women’s lives, 31-year-old Salma Abdulai, from the impoverished, drought-prone North Ghana, launched Unique Quality Product Enterprise, a company which processes Fonio, a sustainable indigenous crop with extraordinary health benefits. While nobody else thought of processing the almost extinct crop, Salma had a brainwave. Drawing on her extensive knowledge and academic experience – she holds a Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Agriculture Technology and a postgraduate degree in Agricultural Economics – she discovered the potential of Fonio, which takes only eight weeks to mature, and is drought and flood-proof. In 2014 she launched Unique Quality Product Enterprise, processing and marketing the cereal, registering farmers to produce the crop and building a team based in Tamale to process precooked Fonio for the markets. The business has a proven holistic approach to social, economic and environmental problems. It is also addressing food insecurity and unsustainable land management, particularly for landless female farmers with no access to fertile lands. Salma started Unique Quality Product Enterprise with 10 landless women and to date, the business has supported 500 farmers – 350 women and 150 men – to produce raw Fonio for the enterprise. Products are marketed under the DIM Fonio brand – ‘dim’ means eat in the local language. Website: WWW.UQUALITYPRODUCT.COM
Samira Negm, Raye7, Egypt
A mobile application that provides a secure, real time ridesharing service suited for developing countries.
Working as a senior software engineer for auto brands in Cairo, and feeling fed up with wasting five hours a day travelling to and from the office, 29-year-old Samira Negm thought there must be a solution to her commuting frustration. Inspired by this everyday challenge of life in Cairo, she launched Raye7, a culturally sensitive ride-sharing mobile app that helps reduce the amount of time Egyptians are stuck in traffic and provides safe car sharing for women. Cairo is the second most congested city in the world, with annual losses of $US12 billion because of time wasted in traffic, but the congestion problem impacts people in other ways too, affecting health, psychological wellbeing and the environment. While public transport use in Egypt is extremely high, it can be humiliating for women who are most often sexually harassed on this mode of transport. The Arabic word for ‘going’, Raye7 uses information from social media platforms, including LinkedIn and Facebook, to connect friends and co-workers for easy and safe ridesharing. Website: WWW.RAYE7.COM
Sara-Kristina Hannig Nour, Sara and Lara’s Baskets, Egypt
Harvests and delivers weekly shipments of organic produce directly to customers in large cities.
Growing up on her family’s farm in Switzerland, Sara-Kristina Hannig Nour was accustomed to easy access to fresh produce. When Sara moved to Egypt to begin a Master’s Degree in organic farming at Cairo University she found that this was not the case for others. Despite being blessed with hours of daily sunshine, Sara found that Egypt suffers from a dearth of healthy produce options, with city dwellers lacking access to high quality, healthy food. Arriving in Egypt, she was amazed by the produce available she quickly came to realise that because of chemical and pesticide usage what looked beautiful on the outside was not always good for the inside. In January 2014, she launched Egypt’s first foray into farm-to-table delivery with her company Sara and Lara’s Baskets, delivering weekly shipments of organic, seasonal produce, fresh from the field and direct to customers in the city, all in locally handwoven baskets. As their produce is delivered from the source direct to the customer, this reduces associated carbon emissions and the naturally grown and primarily organic produce retains nutrients usually lost through transport and shelf-sitting. Website: WWW.SARASORGANICFOOD.COM
The full list of 2017 Cartier Women's Initiative Award Finalists by region:
- Kathy Ku, Spouts of Water, Uganda
- Nneka Mobisson, Mdoc Healthcare, Nigeria
- Salma Abdulai, Unique Quality Product, Ghana
- Samira Negm, Raye7, Egypt
- Sara-Kristina Hannig Nour, Sara and Lara’s Baskets, Egypt
- Thea Myhrvold, Teach Me Now, Dubai
- Ana Lucia Cepeda, Bolsa Rosa, Mexico
- Carolina Medina, Agruppa, Colombia
- Candice Pascoal, Kickante, Brazil
- Angela Braren, Instrumentl, San Francisco
- Katelyn Anderson, Save Water Co, Dallas
- Rhonda Harper, Penrose Senior Care Auditors, Dalla
- Ciara Donlon, THEYA Healthcare, Ireland
- Lise Pape, Walk with Path, UK
- Marina Ross, Nanobarrier HYDROP, Russia
- Trupti Jain, Naireeta Services, India
- Xania Wong, JOBDOH, Hong Kong
- Yunye Shin, Zero Space Inc, South Korea