Early last year, Apenyo quit a well-paying job as a copywriter in one of the advertising firms in Kampala to open up a women-only gym 'FITCLIQUE AFRICA" with an aim of seeing women stronger and healthier. The gym is the first of its kind in Uganda. In one of her previousblogs, she posts, “I’m sick of hearing things like: all women go crazy for chocolate, a Ugandan chick won’t date you unless your wallet is larger than her behind, women will date the first person who shows them attention, not because I can prove them wrong but because it’s terrible to judge all women by some narrow standard you got from dating all of three. Femininity cannot be narrowed down to diamonds or shoes or wallets or the color pink.”
Samantha Morshed's interest in social enterprise started in 2004 with a basic question ‘how do you create sustainable employment without micro-finance debt or economic migration for rural women?’. To solve that question Samantha founded Hathay Bunano (now Pebble Child) with a personal initial investment of $500. A decade later Hathay Bunano has evolved into a thriving social enterprise, comprising a non-profit organization in Bangladesh and three limited companies in Bangladesh, UK and Malaysia, with employment creation for more than 6000 artisans in more than 60 rural production centers throughout Bangladesh and export of handmade toys around the world.
Jo Caley, a Make a Wave Incubator fellow, runs highstreetfitfinder.com, a website that helps women to buy the right size clothes first time. You can connect with Jo and High Street Fit Finder on Twitter: @highstfitfinder @wiseonsize
Hi Jo, what are you doing differently?
Jo: As well as helping women to buy clothes that fit, quickly and easily, we want to help women to stop defining their self-worth by being, or wanting to be, a certain size, and to be happy in their own skin.
We aim to do this by making “size” irrelevant; it should be just a number that is used to purchase something, and by only allowing additional advertising on the website that is body positive, body diverse and not airbrushed, women can shop without comparison to unrealistic body ideals.
Born in Glasgow, raised in Pakistan and living in London, Hera knew from early on she wanted to empower women. During her MA in Economics & Psychology at University of Glasgow, she found herself drawn to tech start-ups and the ways technology can be utilised to solve social issues. Starting out as a freelance marketing and events consultant for start-ups, she moved on to social entrepreneurship through her involvement with OxfordJam and MakeSense, where she cemented her status as a community leader in London's start-up scene. It was after she helped two friends escape abusive homes, support the legal process of divorce and help them start a new life that she decided to use her skills and knowledge to found the award-winning Chayn - a global network of skilled volunteers who work pro-bono to empower women in suppressed situations. Hera has spoken at various conferences and been interviewed numerous times in the press (e.g. Dawn News, De Mundo, The Diplomat) on the issues of abuse. She is also a keen member of the Wikipedia movement, most notably as one of the key organisers of Wikimania 2014 - the largest and most successful conference yet of the movement. She is continually involved with not-for-profits such as MakeSense, Startingbloc, WEF's Global Shaper and Yunus&Youth - all networks of social entrepreneurs - as well as Creative Commons and Open Corporates.
Good and Cheap is a free PDF cookbook for people with very limited incomes, particularly those using food stamps. It has been downloaded more than 500,000 times. Brown, a native of Canada, is a food scholar and avid home cook who now lives in New York. Prior to writing Good and Cheap, Brown authored another cookbook, From Scratch.
Miss Macaroon C.I.C. was started by Rosie Ginday to combine her passion for beautiful hand-crafted food, baking, and her desire to help disadvantaged young. Rosie is a Michelin star trained Pastry Chef, training young ex-offenders to be the Chefs of tomorrow.
Connect with Rosie on @iammissmacaroon and missmacaroon.co.uk
Nathalie Richards (MBA) is CEO of EduKit, an online platform that connects schools with programmes that help to raise student attainment and that measures how students are performing whilst on programmes, allowing instant reporting for school stakeholders and inspectors. Nathalie is a former trustee of youth support charity Generating Genius and former governor at Beckmead Family of schools in Croydon.
EduKit is a partner of Project Oracle (the Youth Evidence hub) and a recent recipient of a prestigious Department of Education award for Innovation. As EduKit has already registered over 500 London-based service providers, Nathalie is able to provide a unique insight of the breadth and impact of youth interventions and programmes available across the capital
Chipsafer is a platform that will transform the way farmers care for their livestock. It not only tracks and detects anomalies in cattle behaviour, but does so remotely, autonomously and in real time. Chipsafer then sends all this information directly to the farmer, who can access it on a laptop or phone. This is of vital importance in poorer communities, as livestock are a key source of income. Through ChipSafer technology farmers can not only learn where their animals are and receive warnings if an anomaly is detected, but obtain stats about the animals’ performance, helping them to improve herd production and in turn their profits. ChipSafer also sends out a warning message if the animal passes a specified perimeter or if the device is taken off, in order to prevent the cattle from being stolen.
To make the city's roads safer for women and children, a few social ventures are training women from different backgrounds to take the wheels of taxis and school buses.
The women's wing at industry body Ficci is launching an initiative to bring more women into non-teaching jobs in schools, including as bus drivers, in Bengaluru and other large cities. Maruti Suzuki has committed to train 1,500 women as drivers across 15 chapters of Ficci Ladies Organization, or FLO, for free. The candidates need to have finished high school and be between ages 18 and 35.
Talks are going on with private and public schools in the city to hire more women for new staff," said Rati Dhandhania Mundrey , chairperson of FLO Beng alur u chapter."Depending on the number of schools that will come on board, the number of women who will be trained can be determined."
The women will be ready for employment in six months.
In addition to being a push for women empowerment, such initiatives are becoming crucial in cities where crimes are increasing against women and children, even in schools. Bengaluru is considered relatively safer than cities like Delhi, but instances of abuse are becoming more prevalent here too. In another initiative, women from across Karnataka are being trained to drive taxis by R2R Ventures, a forprofit social enterprise. The taxi venture, known as Womencabs and launched in April, works with a few companies through the week to transport women employees. On weekends, it caters to the public, but only women
Ayesha is the founder and director of Fashion ComPassion, an online fashion retail site set up as an ethical business whose aim is to create positive change through fashion by bringing socially responsible brands to a global audience. Ayesha now partners with 15 such brands.
It all started when at 16 Ayesha flew to Bangladesh, to work for the Grameen Foundation, a cause she was very passionate about. She started interning for the Grameen Check, a project to revive the handloom industry of Bangladesh, a skill that was under threat because of mass production.
While working to develop new patterns that would be marketable to international markets, Ayesha’s fascination grew as she watched the previously disheartened weavers gain confidence, become entrepreneurs and take life into their own hands.
She went on to complete her undergraduate degree in Economics and Politics from Mount Holyoke College, Massachusetts U.S.A and her Masters in Mass Media and Communications from City University, London.
Jennifer Corriero is the co-founder of TakingITGlobal—one of the world's first social networks—which engages hundreds of thousands of youths around the world to make a difference in their communities. On stage, she looks at the impact of new technologies on classrooms and workplaces. Corriero knows what makes the plugged-in kids of the Net Generation
After six years in the banking/technology industry, Regina Agyare decided to follow her passion and founded her own social start-up called Soronko Solutions, which creates and manages ventures that apply technology to promote social development. Among the projects that Agyare has launched at Soronko include one that introduced deaf girls to technology at the State Deaf School in Ghana – including apps that help promote communication in a society where use of sign language is limited.
Agyare has led Soronko Solutions to develop a number of applications for disabled persons, as well as to promote interest in technology among girls and women.
An architect and a social entrepreneur with a dream to make this world an environment-friendly place, Manisha believes in pioneering change – something that she learnt from her family early on. “My father did a lot of social work, while my mother was the founder of a women’s group,” says this 41-year-old, who imbibed the love for nature from her spiritual teacher.
Meet Laura Willoughby from Club Soda, who helps people change their drinking whether they want to cut down, stop for a bit, quit or stick. Laura is a fellow of the Ogunte Make a Wave Incubator for Women Social Entrepreneurs.
Follow Club Soda on Twitter @joinclubsoda
Ogunte: What is it that you are doing differently?
Laura: We are using technology to help people take a self-guided journey to change a specific habit. We use recognised behaviour change techniques to create a club that brings everything you need in one place, from technology to track your goals through to real-world gatherings. After all we get drunk together so... why should we get sober alone?
So tell us how do you manage to successfully run your venture?
Extreme boot strapping has forced us to experiment and not waste cash. It means we have had to learn before we build, which is a good thing.Collaborating with others, a lot of people who have supported what we have done are doing it for free (or very little). They are keen to help us experiment and we pay that back in kind too. So do ask!People come and go. Start-ups are hard work so don't take it personally.Don't spend lots of money on tech - we used off the shelf tools for our first MVP. We know it's terrible but people don't see those same flaws. And now we have the cash to build some more.Always have a spare phone charger - you can do a lot on the move.
Click on the picture to read the full interview... Follow Laura's blog on Club Soda and @joinclubsoda
Ila Asplund is the founder and CEO of Half Sky Journeys, building a global network of changemakers who travel with a purpose: to boost the impact of women-empowering programs worldwide.
What’s different about Half Sky Journeys?
Ila: “When I was three, my mom had a stroke that left her unable to form words, like a circuit severed from her brain to her mouth. After recovering (she is alive and well!), she told me that losing her voice—her ability to communicate—was more devastating than having half her body paralyzed. When I was older, a study abroad to Indonesia sparked my wanderlust, and since then I’ve always jumped at any cross-cultural opportunity. From ‘getting by’ where I don’t speak the language, to becoming an English teacher for people hungry to learn—it’s really through travel I’ve learned again how important our voices are.
Meika Hollender is an MBA graduate of NYU Stern School of Business who used her skills to launch a new brand of sexual health products called Sustain with her father. These include Fair Trade condoms free of toxic chemicals. Meika tells who is her ideal professor... "Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood. On top of being a female business leader in a male-dominated world, she also runs an organisation that addresses issues that people in the country don’t want to talk about. Even among backlash and criticism, she is incredibly strong and brave, not letting anyone impede her mission. She really is a huge inspiration"
Carney co-founded Gardens for Health, a program in Rwanda that integrates agricultural support with comprehensive health education to fight malnutrition. To date, the organization has worked with over 1,700 families through a Health Center Program, helping to ensure that approximately 8,500 children have the healthy food they need to grow and thrive. Carney is an Echoing Green and Ashoka Fellow.
Follow Julie Carney @_juliecarney and Gardens for Health @Gardens4Health
There’s a dirty little secret behind washing your clothes. " Melissa Power has created For the Love of Laundry, an organization that helps low-income and homeless people meet the basic need of clean clothes through free laundry events
Katharine Hibbert, founder and director, is excited about getting empty homes into use to support communities and volunteers. She has been working on the issue of Britain’s wasted homes for the past 8 years – first as a journalist, campaigner and consultant, and now through Dot Dot Dot. She has been a volunteer all of her adult life, currently as a writer for The Pavement, a magazine for homeless people, and as a trustee of Headway East London, a charity that supports people affected by brain injury.
Servane Mouazan's insight:
Connect to Katherine on twitter @kathhibbert and @3dotproperty
Emanuela Vartolomei has 10 years experience in financial services through which she gained insights into how alternative finance, especially crowdfunding, can help social enterprises to gain access to funding. Emanuela’s personal beliefs are anchored in democratic finance, fair and affordable service for all, decentralised systems and strong ethical values.
All Street provide online independent research reports for private and institutional investors with a focus on impact investments.
Doris Leung was working as a broadcast journalist in her native Hong Kong when her mother, suffering from brain cancer, began to experience mobility problems. By mid-2007, Doris’ mother was wheelchair bound. ‘As the main caregiver, I experienced the frustration of trying to take her wheelchair to frequent doctor visits.’ When she could not drive her mother, the only option was a taxi, but while some wheelchair-accessible cabs did exist, many were illegally operated without insurance. Doris talked to a group of friends working with Social Ventures Hong Kong, an organisation that invests in social enterprise. ‘They told me they were looking at improving transportation for wheelchair users and I offered to do the research.’ Before Doris knew it, she was leaving her job and setting up Diamond Cab. With funds from Social Ventures – where Doris is now an executive director – and investment of her own, Doris imported five Welcab taxi vans from Japan. Each costs US$51,500, a large outlay for a small social enterprise, and can transport two wheelchairs.
Lamice is an award-winning entrepreneur whose passion and energies have seen her many child-centred businesses thrive for nearly two decades. Her Lebanon-based ventures are all about educating, entertaining and caring for children.
Lamice’s beginnings in entrepreneurship began when she was looking for a suitable nursery for her first born. When she couldn’t find one she and her mother opened Dent De Lait (Milk Teeth) nursery in 1997. Three other companies followed: In 2001 Lamice launched Mazitou, a production house created to encourage young Lebanese talent. They were the producers of Disney’s High School Musical on stage in 2008.
In 2009 she launched Frizzy, described as an edutainment centre for Tweens and Teens, aiming to celebrate and educate all parts of the brain. And a year ago Lamice added My Doll & Me to her portfolio of businesses, a doll retail concept for young girls.
Abi Billinghurst created Abianda in 2011 as a social enterprise designed to tip the balance of power in society in favour of marginalised and disenfranchised people, helping them inform the decisions and policy that affect their lives. Abi has worked for more than 15 years with young people and disadvantaged groups within society, supporting them to have a voice.
Panmela Castro was born and raised in the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She is the president of Nami Network (Rede Nami), a feminist organization that promotes women's rights through graffiti-art. She travels the world with her art and has been honored with numerous international awards for her work.
"I explore, I create, I dream:artistic experiences about the female body in the urban landscape "
More than a decade ago, Ewa Wojkowska remembers driving at night in complete darkness through a remote town in East Timor. Located in one of the poorest districts of that new country, the town had no electricity and there was a total lack of any nocturnal activity. “When night fell, the population of 60,000 had very little to do,” she told me on a recent visit to her office near Ubud. “That was the situation up until about two years ago. It would be pitch black. In the last two years we have distributed more than 6,000 solar lights in that community.” Now after dark you’ll see lights all over the place with people socializing, women weaving, people reading and children doing their homework
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