The Responsible Entrepreneur Prize ("le Prix de l'Entrepreneure Responsable") is organized by the Professional Women's Network (PWN) in partnership with Helena Rubinstein. The award recognizes women entrepreneurs who show a social, societal and/or environmental approach in business. On September 29, 2015, it was Hélène Grassin, the founder of Paulette à Bicyclette who won the prize. Here's our chance to learn more about her initiative.
The first "fairminded" jeweler in France, Paulette à Biyclette, offers "ethical and fair" jewelry in recycled or certified precious metals. It was an "obvious" decision for creator Hélène Grassin. The brand requires that no child works in the mines with which the company works. What's more, the miners must have decent salaries and safe working conditions. The entrepreneur adds "Knowing the irreversible damages that the extraction of precious metals and diamonds can cause to the environment and population, I struggled to find partners who are sensitive to the protection of the environment, to be able to offer a line of eco-friendly jewelry".
Founded in 2006, Paulette à Bicyclette opened with 10 Parisian collaborators, providing income for several tens of mining families in Colombia and Peru. This artisanal model was commended by the jury. Between innovation, sustainable development and economic viability, the company is seen as a model for responsible entrepreneurship.
This award will provide Hélène Grassin with support from a team of experts, all members of the PWN network, who will accompany her for a year in the areas necessary for her to develop her company. Since its launch in 2010, the Responsible Entrepreneur Prize has enabled each of its laureates to grow their business rapidly, while also benefitting from the support of an international network of women executives and directors. It marks "a significant turning point", according to the entrepreneur.
Winning this prize is a source of great pride for the founder of Paulette à Bicyclette: "It will enable me to be trained to make the right strategic choices and help my brand shine. Our ecological responsibility is part of the brand's DNA, and guides us through each step of our jewelry's fabrication. Not having an official qualification in jewelry (I self-trained and was taught by an artist-jeweler) nor in business management (I'm a former French teacher), for me this is the equivalent of a degree, a recompense for my perseverance and my desire to provide alternative jewelry that respects humans and nature. I'm incredibly proud."