SHE Named The 2012 Cartier Women's Initiative Award Winner for Sub-Saharan Africa

SHE Named The 2012 Cartier Women's Initiative Award Winner for Sub-Saharan Africa

New York, NY (October 15, 2012) – SHE’s Julian Kayibanda and Elizabeth Scharpf were honored as the Sub-Saharan African Laureate for the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards at a ceremony held at the Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society in Deauville, France this past week.  As the Sub-Saharan African Laureates, Julian and Elizabeth received USD $20,000, coaching support for a full year, access to international networks and media visibility and an exclusive trophy designed by Cartier. 

Julian, Chief Operating Officer, Rwanda is a Rwandese business leader that returned to her home country to contribute to rebuilding her country after the trauma of genocide in the 1990’s. Elizabeth, Founder and Chief Instigating Officer is a Harvard MBA-MPAID graduate with a passion for raising awareness of overlooked problems that have dire socio-economic consequences and a talent for finding market-based solutions.

Together, Julian and Elizabeth launched SHE’s first initiative, SHE28, in Rwanda to address the lack of access to affordable menstrual pads for girls and women.  This overlooked, but pressing, problem is faced by millions of girls and women across emerging economies, many whom cope with sub-optimal choices of using cloth, bark, or even mud, which present reproductive health risks. SHE estimates the economic loss for missed days of school or work in Rwanda alone is at $115 million a year.  SHE’s sustainable approach helps individuals to jumpstart their own businesses to manufacture & distribute locally produced, low-cost, eco-friendly menstrual pads using banana fibers as the absorbent core, i.e the SHE LaunchPad.
“It has been an amazing journey from when we learned that we were a finalist to being here at the Women’s Forum and being completely enriched by meeting amazing women entrepreneurs and business leaders,” says Kayibanda. “This recognition affirms our sustainable model of increasing access to our pads for girls and women in Rwanda and beyond. This award will enable SHE Rwanda to continue to move forward with our industrial-scale pilot phase.”

Recognition as a Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards Winner demonstrates that investing in women-led businesses can drive shared economic growth that benefits entire communities. SHE has been at the forefront of garnering global support for developing a sustainable system to address public health taboos.

About Sustainable Health Enterprises
Sustainable Health Enterprises (SHE) is a social venture that invests in overlooked people and ideas to drive social and economic change.  Its first initiative, SHE28, is addressing females’ lack of access to affordable menstrual pads, causing significant costs to their health, education, productivity, and dignity. To learn more about SHE, please visit its website at

About Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards:
Created in 2006 by Cartier and the Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society, in partnership with INSEAD business school and McKinsey & Co., the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards is an annual international business plan competition for women entrepreneurs. To view the awards ceremony, watch here: 

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