By Yasyn MouhirRabat – Mouna Abbassy, a young businesswoman originally from Morocco, received the 2015 Cartier Women’s Initiative Award for the Middle East and North Africa on Thursday, October 15, in Deauville, France.Her project featuring original Moroccan products, and called “Izil Beauty,” won over the jury in the competition.  Izil Beauty produces cosmetics made of Argan oil and other rare natural ingredients imported from Morocco. The winner of the Women’s Initiative Award receives $20,000 business monitoring for a year and a trophy.The 33-year-old dedicated her prize to all of the Amazigh (Berber) women who inspired her through their traditional beauty methods.“It’s an honour to receive this award. I dedicate it to all the Berber women working with me and handling this rare and precious resource. Today, argan oil is known everywhere in the world and it’s thanks to their labour, Abbassy said upon receiving the award.“These women live in very harsh conditions and so this award is truly for all them. All I can say is thank you very, very much,” she added.Abbassy moved to Dubai from Morocco 10 years ago to start a career as a marketing professional for multinational cosmetic brands.  Rediscovering the age-old Moroccan beauty rituals, she decided in 2013 to launch her own brand, Izil Beauty. Izil means “pure” in Moroccan Berber.The Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards is a business plan competition created in 2006 by Cartier and supported by the Women’s Forum of McKinsey &Co, and INSEAD.  Since its inception, it has championed young businesswomen whose projects meet three criteria: creativity, viability, and impact on society and the environment. Since 2006, the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards has supported 160 women and 44 award laureate.Edited by Elisabeth Myers

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