Smart Women, Innovation, TED, Clinique and $20,000.

Did you know that Australian women are starting small businesses at twice the rate of men? Research by BankWest using Bureau of Statistics data revealed strong growth in the rate of women starting up businesses over the past five years (7 per cent) compared with men (1.9 per cent).

That is an incredible amount of women with ideas and innovation and with more and more women wanting to start their own businesses (particularly Mum’s wanting to work around their children) what better way to kick start your idea than with $20,000? And the application  process is even less scary than pitching to the sharks on Sharktank!

In a power coupling like no other, leading prestige beauty brand Clinique has partnered together with non-profit ideas based organisation, TED.

Clinique will lead a global campaign alongside TED to find the next bright and engaging idea. This plan was conceived with the aim of engaging and encouraging women all over the world and from different walks of life to share their intelligence, ambition, and creativity.

“When Carol Phillips started Clinique, she had pamphlets at the counter explaining what the pill does to women’s skin,” she said. The Clinique contest was set in motion last July, when Clinique released Smart Custom Repair serum, an anti-ager touted as being able to selectively target skin issues, which is the first of a new line. When the company started looking for ways to promote it, linking up with TED to create a contest seemed an obvious answer. “Who better to help us come up with another smart idea?” said Jane Lauder, Clinique’s Global Brand President.

The idea viewed to be the most compelling will receive funding of up to $20,000 to help make it a reality, along with the opportunity to share that idea with the women profiled in the Smart Women series at the TEDWomen conference in 2016.

To get the conversation started Clinique and TED will profile three women from the TED community; Jessica Matthews, the founder and CEO of Uncharted Play, a social enterprise grounded in play and the happiness of life, which has also developed the SOCCKET, a energy-harnessing soccer ball; Jane Chen, the co-founder and CEO of Embrace, a social enterprise that aims to help the millions of vulnerable babies born every year in developing countries through a low-cost infant warmer; Finally Erin Bagwell, a feminist storyteller and Director of Dream, Girl.  A documentary that tells the stories of female entrepreneurs with the aim to change the public perception of the roles that many women can fill.

As for the type of submission to send, they’re open to brainstorms both pragmatic and altruistic. Lauder’s favorite speakers at the conference included an MIT scientist who develops programs that enable computers to recognize human emotions and a woman whose company makes rings that can sync to your smartphone and be set up to vibrate when you receive certain calls. “We’re looking for practical ideas that make your life better,” said Lauder. “Those are what really inspire us.”

How to know if you’re on to something? “What I’ve noticed is that when you have a great idea, it’s easy to bring to life,” says Lauder. “If it doesn’t come fast, you know you’re struggling.” They’ll be accepting submissions through September 30, and the winner will be selected in October. Good luck! As they say on Shark Tank, “A goal without a timeline is just a dream.”

Clinique Australia is thrilled that Australia will have a call to entry on their local e-comm site, – this will go live on June 10th.

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