Cartier Women’s Initiative and INSEAD National Alumni Associations

Published by Sheila Loxham and James So for the Hoffmann Global Institute for Business and Society on 05 Apr 2020

INSEAD is the founding academic partner of the Cartier Women's Initiative (CWI). The school is proud to contribute its expertise in entrepreneurship, innovation, leadership and impact-driven businesses in support of women entrepreneurs worldwide. INSEAD is proud to partner with Cartier on this initiative to transform business and society, and promote business as a force for good.

Every year, INSEAD promotes the call for CWI applications and provides application preselection through MBA and Alumni volunteers. Once selected, INSEAD matches the 21 CWI fellows with volunteer coaches over a five-month period. The coaches focus on business strategy coaching to deliver maximum benefit to the fellow and her venture. Following the Awards Week in San Francisco in May 2019, INSEAD offered introductions to all CWI Fellows with the nearest INSEAD National Alumni Association.

The South Asia and Oceania region CWI Fellow, Carmina Bayonbong, met with the Philippine National Alumni Association (NAA) in June 2019. Co-founder and CEO of InvestEd, her company provides an investment platform giving student loans to underserved youth using a proprietary credit rating algorithm.

The North American Fellow, Margaret Magdesian, CEO and Founder of Ananda Devices is soon to meet with the NAA Montreal Chapter to speak about how her company is developing new models of human brain, spinal cord and innervated tissues using stem-cell and organ-on-a-chip technology to accelerate drug development.

The INSEAD NAAs can introduce potential media and professional contacts to help accelerate a company’s progress, in addition to members occasionally helping with funding.

2019 CWI fellow, Margaret Magdesian (in turquoise scarf), discussing innovation and women entrepreneurship with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Minister Mary Ng and Patrice Mousseau from Satya Organic at the SheEO World Global Summit in Toronto, March 2020. Photo credited to Dahlia Katz. 

In September CWI East Asia Fellow, Saaya Nakayama, gave a well-received presentation to the NAA Tokyo Chapter. Saaya’s CWI coach, Jad Salah (MBA 2017) helped organise this with James So of the INSEAD Japan Entrepreneurial Network.

Saaya Nakayama is CEO and co-founder of SHE Inc., a company dedicated to helping its 10,000 member community of Japanese Millennial women discover what they love, learn creative skills, and pursue new opportunities. Founded in 2017, Saaya’s company has quickly gained market traction, raised capital, built a core team, and featured in over 100 media publications. Japan ranks poorly at 110th out of 149 countries in gender equality. With more women working than ever and an aging population, women are an under-utilised resource in Japan and yet Japan is notorious for being unfavourable to working mothers and female executives.  Many women are working in supportive roles and only a small percentage of them are in management or leading start-ups. 

SHE Inc.’s ambition is to empower women to pursue their careers, lifestyles and passions with confidence. In order to build their personal identities and overcome these challenges, Japanese millennial women need help with the skills, confidence and necessary know-how. 

Saaya Nakayama, CEO and co-founder of SHE Inc. 

“We want to help women find what they love, acquire new skills and become passionate about their careers” said Nakayama. “SHE Inc. will help them become an integral part of the Japanese society while building their own brand and identity”.  An admirable mission indeed that will be a great benefit to Japan and beyond.

The Hoffmann Institute for Business and Society, INSEAD, and its National Alumni Associations are committed to Gender Equality and maximising the social impact potential of women entrepreneurs. While this clearly drives the progress for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 5 (SDG) of gender equality, the efforts of these CWI fellows also help ensure SDG3: good health and well-being, SDG12: responsible consumption and production, and SDG4: quality education. Through our continued partnership with the Cartier Women’s Initiative, we can all play a role in transforming business and society and achieving the SDGs.

Category:  Engagement

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