Positive Change: InvestEd's Carmina Bayombong Wins Cartier's Women’s Initiative Impact Award - Meaningful Life

For the school year 2020 to 2021, InvestEd supported 320,000 children from low-income families to get an education.

Founded in 2006, the Cartier Women’s Initiative (CWI) supports businesses and social enterprises that positively impact society and the environment. Each year, the entrepreneurship program accepts applications worldwide to empower women-run ventures.

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On March 8, International Women’s Day, the luxury jeweler staged a digital panel discussion with Southeast Asian entrepreneurs: Jane Wang, CEO of Rocesco Technologies, Nikasha Khemka, creative director of fashion label Nika & Nikasha, Proud Limpongpan CMO of tech company Zimpex, Shinta Dhanuwardoyo, CEO of startup platform Bubu.com, and Tu Ngo co-founder of law firm Touchstone Partners.

In addition, Cartier held a Q&A with Filipina Carmina Bayombong, the CWI Laureate 2019, and Impact Awardee 2021. Bayombong founded InvestED, a development program that supports under-resourced youth from getting quality education to transitioning to adulthood. 

By chance and choice

In the past six years, Bayombong has provided Filipino students with loans and opportunities; however, she was discouraged by financial experts. The officials considered students and women “non-contributors.” 

“My journey with InvestED really started out by chance and by choice. By chance, I was born to parents who broke out of poverty by getting a college degree,” the awardee shared. “So they always taught me since I was young that education, especially higher education, is a powerful tool for success.” 

With InvestED, Bayombong was included in Forbes’ 30 under 30 list, awarded The Philippines Outstanding Women in Nation’s Service, Cartier Women’s Initiative Laureate for Southeast Asia, and Dubai World Expo’s Top 120 Global Innovators. / Photo from cartierwomensinitiative.com

Bayombong added that two million college students yearly drop out due to financial struggles, “I saw my own friends and relatives become part of that statistic.” When she was 23 years old, the engineer pitched the idea to six bank presidents. However, her goal to be a leading company that provides counseling was quickly shut down.

Fueled by passion

“Everybody told me ‘that’s crazy, there’s no successful lending company that has coaching,'” Bayombong recalls. “But while I’m here in Dubai, someone told me that only a woman would think of that idea of having such a holistic lending program for the youth.” 

The encouragement fueled the social entrepreneur’s passion for serving and stayed inspired by remembering her upbringing. 

With her tenacity, Bayombong was able to help nearly 133,000 students get an education in the school year 2019 to 2020. From 2020 to 2021, InvestEd supported 320,000 children from low-income families. 

Making a difference

InvestED also bridges small businesses and large corporations to help the youth. International companies like the Seattle Seahawks, Thompson Family Foundation, Boeing, and John and Marilyn Warner have pledged to support the cause through events, auctions, or branded campaigns.  

With her accomplishments, Bayombong was included in Forbes’ 30 under 30 list, awarded The Philippines Outstanding Women in Nation’s Service, Cartier Women’s Initiative Laureate for Southeast Asia, and Dubai World Expo’s Top 120 Global Innovators.

Cecile Naour, the CEO of Cartier in Southeast Asia Oceania, said in her remarks, “when women thrive, humanity thrives.” The next call for applications to enter the CWI starts on May 16 and closes on July 15, 2022.

Banner photo from @CarminaBayombong on Instagram.

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