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Folks, my team and I have compiled a list of 6 women who are really disrupting the startup world with social change. These women are in no particular order, but are listed here because their work is admirable, and they really have their boots on the ground, working to make a real difference.
Grace Garey: Co-founder, Watsi
Watsi is a Kickstarter-like website for medical treatments. Web visitors can go to the website, donate as little as $5, and 100% of that donation will directly fund medical care for a specific person somewhere in the world.
Grace says she’s “obsessed with the idea that connecting people can solve the world’s biggest problems.” She studied global development and politics in Santa Barbara, did refugee research in Ghana, worked at a hospital in India, and suited up to do humanitarian advocacy in DC before deciding that everyday people were actually the most powerful change agents the world had to offer. Now, she gets to spend her time connecting people from across the world and watching them change each other’s lives.
Rose Broome, Co-founder and CEO, HandUp
HandUp is a tech startup with a social mission. They’ve created a new way to donate directly to homeless people and people in need here in the US. Starting in San Francisco, they’ve partnered with Project Homeless Connect to help deliver new resources to the thousands of homeless and at risk people in the community.
Rose is passionate about using the power of data and technology to create positive social change. She believes we already have the tools, knowledge, and desire to create a better world, so let’s just do it! Rose started the SF Homeless Innovation Meetup to help bridge the gap between new technologies and the complex problem of homelessness. She’s also an organizer for Science Hack Day and works as a data science & research consultant for organizations, including SuperBetter Labs.
Servane Mouazan: Founder, Oguntê
Servane says, “I love helping women social innovators to be more influential and better connected.” Servane founded UK-based Oguntê and the Global Tribal Network, to prove that women can solve pressing social & environmental issues and create commercial opportunities at the same time, when given more skills and space to do so. “Being part of an ecosystem where everybody is included, can contribute and support others, is the highlight and the mission of [Oguntê ]. My drive is about supporting, connecting and promoting women who work in social enterprises, networks and campaigns, and contribute to making the world a better and more equitable place.”
Oguntê believes in social impact made by women. Influential and connected women with bold solutions to social and environmental issues, can create sustainable opportunities to make the world a better place. Influential and connected women are more likely to be listened to and valued as civic, political and economic citizens.
Joelle Berdugo Adler: Partner, President, and CEO, Industrial Revolution II
Besides being the President and CEO of Diesel Canada Inc and the Founder of the ONEXONE Charitable Foundation, Joelle is one of the founding partners and chairs of Industrial Revolution II. Industrial Revolution II is a different kind of garment factory.
They explain that, “Social advancement for our workers, their families and our neighbors is equally as important to us as delivering our customers the highest quality products and services. Our ‘shared value’ business model embraces the idea that not all profit is created equal. Profits involving a social purpose represent a higher form of capitalism, one that creates a positive cycle of company and community prosperity.”
Anna Sidana: Founder and CEO, One Million Lights
Anna has spent her professional life in high technology companies with careers ranging from marketing to business management. She currently works full time at Silicon Valley startups in marketing. Prior to that, she was at PayPal in San Jose as Director, Financial Products focused on Credit products.
Anna is also the founder of One Million Lights, an organization that distributes safe, rechargeable solar lights around the world, replacing dangerous and polluting kerosene lamps. While the organization is setup as a nonprofit, they have evolved into a more of an ‘entrepreneur’ based business model where donations are only a part of their business model to subsidize the price of a solar light to a level that is affordable in remote regions of the world. Their goal is to create a sustainable supply chain that can reach the people who need this the most. The retail price of a solar lights ranges from $25 – $50 and often that is too high for a family living at subsistence level. In most regions where the lights are delivered, the families live on less than $2-$5 per day.
Meg Wirth: Co-Founder, Matnernova
Matnernova is an Amazon-type platform, but for global health technologies. They link doctors and midwives with low-cost medical supplies to use overseas. Meg Wirth is not only the co-founder of Maternova, but also a S.E.VEN fellow and a Cartier Women’s Initiative finalist. She was named one of America’s Most Promising Social Entrepreneurs of 2011 by Bloomberg Businessweek.
Meg has worked on women’s health throughout her career in areas as diverse as starting a home visiting program for teen mothers in Appalachia to monitoring and evaluating a major Safe Motherhood initiative–funded by USAID and implemented by John Snow International’s Mothercare project– in Jakarta and South Kalimantan, Indonesia. Meg has also worked as a member of the Rockefeller Foundation’s Health Equity team and co-edited a major volume called Challenging Inequities in Health: From Ethics to Action. She was a co-author of the UN Millennium Project’s final report on child and maternal health.