Cover Photo: Cartier

Tackling social and environmental issues, these inspiring changemakers and entrepreneurs are leaving a positive impact on their communities

Empowering women has always been at the heart of the Cartier Women’s Initiative. This year, Cartier took to Dubai to celebrate the 15th anniversary of its entrepreneurship programme, as well as to spotlight the achievements of its 2022 laureates.

This year’s theme, Break The Bias, looked to the ways that women could join forces to overcome stereotypes, discrimination and other barriers to gender equality in the workplace, the media, the world of sports and beyond.

The Cartier Women’s Initiative 2022 event was hosted by Tiffany Dufu, founder and CEO of the US women's training organization The Cru, and saw special guests like four-time Olympic gold medallist Guo Jingjing and actress Yara Shahidi.

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But the real stars of the night were the nine Impact Awardees who were selected for the changes that they have created through their businesses. Encompassing social entrepreneurs and business leaders, these women were honoured for one of three categories: Improving Lives, Preserving the Planet and Creating Opportunities.

In support of their missions to solve the most pressing challenges around the world, Cartier has granted the three first-place awardees with US$100,000 in prize money, while the rest received US$60,000 and US$30,000. All nine leaders were also given human capital support worth US$10,000 each.

Below, meet the nine awardees of 2022 and discover how they’re shaping the world for the better.

Temie Giwa Tubosun, founder and CEO of LifeBank (Nigeria)

Following her graduate fellowship at the World Health Organisation, Tubosun founded the Nigerian health technology startup LifeBank in 2016. Her mission is to make life-saving blood transfusions more accessible for patients in the African country, especially pregnant women. Tubosun’s own difficult delivery of her son exposed her to the problem of blood shortages in Nigeria. Today, LifeBank has expanded its operations to deliver blood from registered blood banks to over 600 hospitals in Nigeria and Kenya, saving more than 10,000 lives in the process. 

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Charlotte Wang, founder and CEO of EQuota Energy (China)

With the help of artificial intelligence and big data, Wang’s EQuota Energy creates innovative solutions that aim to reduce energy consumption and emissions in China. Since its establishment in 2014, the company has worked with the biggest members of China’s energy supply chain, including industrial zones, distributed power plants, as well as commercial and industrial buildings.

“I feel like it’s my mission to use the technology I developed for the good of the next generation,” said Wang. “When I had my first child, I felt a responsibility to create a low-carbon future that preserves our earth.” EQuota Energy has reduced carbon dioxide emissions by more than 82 million kg to date, leading to cleaner air and bringing Wang’s dream closer to a reality.

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Fariel Salahuddin, founder and CEO of UpTrade (Pakistan)

An energy specialist, Salahuddin is dedicated to bringing renewable energy to rural villages in Pakistan and improving the livelihoods of its residents. UpTrade allows farmers from these off-grid communities to exchange their livestock for solar-powered water pumps and farming essentials, as well as access to other renewable energy systems.

Thanks to UpTrade, these low-income households have not only become more self-sufficient, but their communities also see an improvement in health and hygiene with access to clean water and energy. With more efficient farming systems in place, over 8,500 women and girls have also been allowed to focus on their education and making a livelihood through local handicrafts.

Nneka Mobisson-Etuk, co-founder and CEO of mDoc (Nigeria)

After losing her father to a stroke—which could have prevented if he had had access to a team of doctors—Nigerian paediatrician Mobisson founded mDoc Healthcare in 2013. The digital platform connects people living with chronic disease to doctors, nurses and healthcare providers, allowing them to easily reach out for consultations via SMS, voice and video calls. Mobisson hopes to improve the health landscape in Africa and enable people to live longer, healthier lives.

Joanne Howarth, founder and CEO of Planet Protector Packaging (Australia)

As environmental issues continue to take precedence, Howarth saw a need to eliminate the use of polystyrene, aka Styrofoam, around the world. She introduced her solution through Planet Protector Packaging, which uses waste wool to create thermal packaging that can replace the non-recyclable polystyrene. Howarth’s company has managed to repurpose over 3.5 million kg of waste wool (which is biodegradable and leaves a smaller carbon footprint) and currently works with over 350 clients across Australia and New Zealand.

Carmina Bayombong, co-founder and CEO of InvestED (Philippines)

On a mission to make education in the Philippines more accessible, Generation T honouree Bayombong cofounded InvestED in 2016. The startup offers low-cost financial aid that follows a study-now-pay-later model, enabling financially disadvantaged youth to pursue university education. InvestED also empowers its student borrowers with coaches that guide them towards job security and financial security, on top of training them in financial literacy and entrepreneurship.

Read more: How This Social Entrepreneur Is Turning College Admissions On Its Head

Rasha Rady, co-founder and COO of Chefaa (Egypt)

Powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and GPS, Rady’s digital pharmacy platform Chefaa connects thousands of chronically ill patients in Egypt to nearby pharmacies, from which they can conveniently schedule, order and refill their recurring prescription medicine. Through Chefaa, Rady is leading the Egyptian pharmaceutical industry towards a tech-enabled future that will make patients’ lives easier.

Carol Chyau, co-founder and CEO of Shokay (China)

Chyau’s sustainable textiles company Shokay works with poor Tibetan herders in Western China to harvest yak down, a cashmere-like fibre. The yak fibres are sent to women knitters in in Chong Ming Island, Shanghai, who in turn create high-quality home furnishings and children’s clothing and accessories that Shokay sells in stores across China. Through Shokay, herders can receive a sustainable income that supports their way of life.

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Lorna Rutto, founder and director of EcoPost (Kenya)

In an effort to tackle Kenya’s plastic waste problem, Rutto launched EcoPost in 2009. The recycling company repurposes plastic waste to create durable fencing posts, eliminating both waste and the need for timber. EcoPost also uses its plastic lumber to make floor tiles, signposts and shelters for refugees, generating jobs around the region.

“Thirty pieces produced by Ecopost saves one full matured tree,” shared Lorna. “The number of trees being cut down [in Kenya] has reduced.”

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