In honor of International Women’s Day, we would like to recognize and celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women. Although International Women’s Day means different things to different people, the global focus on equality and celebration is clear. What better way to celebrate than to show the impact women have on this world? From Rwanda to Switzerland, women all over the world are being bold for change.
Solar Sister is the epitome of #BeBoldForChange. Their mission is to eradicate energy poverty by empowering women with economic opportunity. Founder Katherine Lucey envisions a world where women, girls, and their communities have access to the sustainable energy they need to create a prosperous life. Solar sister believes when you invest in a woman, you invest in the future.
Indego Africa is ran by a woman CEO, Karen Yelick. They provide opportunities for artisans in Rwanda and Ghana to earn a sustainable income by bringing to market handmade products that are made from local raw materials. Indego Africa works with 25 different artisan groups of more than 1,000 women. They also invest all of their profits from sales into education programs for the artisans. At Indego Africa, they believe women around the globe have the capacity, creativity, and determination to uplift themselves, their families, and their communities – all they need are the resources.
Sseko Design is using fashion to empower and educate women. Not only do they employ women in Uganda who are working to pursue their dreams and overcome poverty, but they also have enabled 87 women to continue on to university. Each and every woman of the Sseko Design team has goals and ambitions for the future, thanks to the opportunity they were given to make sandals. Founder Liz Bohannon believes that every woman has a dream and that when she is given the opportunity to purse those dreams, we are collectively walking towards a brighter and more just and beautiful world.
Empower Generation envisions a world where women lead their communities out of energy poverty, where human dignity for all and environmental sustainability are universal values. Empower Generation trains local women to sell solar systems, which provides their communities with the much needed energy solutions that enable families to work, study, and make their homes cleaner and safer. Co-founders Anya Cherneff, Sita Adhikari and Bennett Cohen believe in empowering women to power the world.
Lisa Curtis, founder and CEO of Kuli Kuli, is on a mission to improve nutrition through moringa superfood products. Kuli Kuli works with women-led farming cooperatives all over the world to drive economic growth, women’s empowerment and sustainable agricultural development. Over the years, they have supported over 800 women farmers to earn a sustainable livelihood. Kuli Kuli believes in using the nutritious leaves of the moringa tree to improve the lives of women in West Africa.
Divine Chocolates’ mission is to grow a successful global farmer-owned chocolate company by engaging and bringing people together to create dignified trading relations. Divine Chocolate is co-owned by the 85,000 farmer members of Kuapa Kokoo, the cooperative in Ghana that supplies cocoa for each bar of Divine. CEO Sophi Tranchell has played a key role in building the reputation of Fairtrade and social entrepreneurship in the UK. Divine Chocolate believes in equal training for women and prioritizes equal participation and equal access for women.
Castellano aims to improve the living conditions for the traditional artisans in Columbia and keep alive their unique craftsmanship. CEO and Founder Daniela Castellanos started Castellano with a desire to use fashion to reconnect women around the world. Castellano currently works with 200 Wayuu women and believes in empowering Indigenous women by enabling them to be self-sufficient and create a business for themselves.
Kristen Dickerson, the founder of Raven + Lily, is passionate about social business as a means to provide a dignified manner in which to alleviate poverty, especially among at-risk women. Raven + Lily is an ethical fashion and lifestyle brand dedicated to empowering women through design. They currently employ over 1,500 marginalized women at fair trade wages to give them access to a safe job, sustainable income, health care, education, and a chance to break the cycle of poverty. Raven + Lily believes that when women are empowered to earn an income, they reinvest 90% of their income back into health, education, food, children, family, and the community.
Bright Energy Africa (BEA) aims to improve youth and women unemployment, increase health education and reduce environmental stress. Founder and CEO Violet Ayoub started BEA to empower Tanzania to a brighter future by producing and distributing biomass charcoal in the form of cooking briquettes. BEA believes in raising women and youth living standards by increasing their income levels and providing training to women in Tanzania.
The Fabric Social is a conscious design label founded by Sharna de Lacy, Fiona McAlpine and Megan Schipp. They are empowering women to become more economically independent by working with women facing insecurity in Asia’s forgotten corners. The Fabric Social believes wherever you find armed conflict, displacement, natural disaster or poverty, you find resilient women trying to put communities back together.
All of these women founders and CEOs are empowering women all around the world to #BeBoldForChange. By celebrating and empowering women, we are seeing more and more women CEOs and Founders worldwide. McKinsey has released a statement that shows how much impact women can have on our world: if every country matched the progress towards gender parity of its fastest-improving neighbor, global GDP could increase by up to $12 trillion in 2025.
We asked our very own CEO, Brindusa Findanza, her thoughts regarding International Women’s Day:
What does #BeBoldForChange mean to you?
“Take chances, work hard and don’t listen to disparagers. Changing the status quo, bringing forth a new idea, building something worth a lot for many people is never easy business. Just like anything else in life: all worthy things are worth the fight.”
If you could tell a woman one piece of advice, what would it be?
“There is no reason to give a particular advice to a woman entrepreneur as compared to a man. Some walls and ceilings still exist for sure, but a lot of them we raise ourselves. Think about the number of times we justify to ourselves why that salary raise would probably not be accepted, why that title would probably not be timely, etc. On a side note, I have seen more accomplished and fulfilled women entrepreneurs than in 9-5 jobs. Perhaps that already shows a path.”
What inspired and motivated you to start The Ground_Up Project?
“By the time I decided to start The Ground_Up Project, I had spent my entire professional career traveling and working in many places around the world. After my program that created financing mechanisms for the green economy under the G20 was acquired by an international organization, I felt it was time to do something on my own. I had spotted a gap in the market – green SME investment was missing some serious links – and I set out to build a business to address it.”
Looking to discover more impact ventures? Join us at www.groundupproject.net