6 Female Founders Changing the World with Social Business.
At Yunus Social Business we are proud to support female entrepreneurs all over the world who are innovating to solve social problems in a sustainable way. The theme for International Women’s Day this year is “Think equal, build smart, innovate for change”, so we wanted to take some time to celebrate the women we work with who are doing just that!
Founder and Managing Director, Rangsutra, India.
Rangsutra is a social business which seeks to bring about socio-economic development and inclusive growth to rural India. The business creates sustainable livelihoods for artisans, by building on the traditional skills that they already have. What makes Rangsutra unique is that it is owned by 2,500 rural artisans that it employs. The organisation celebrates International Women's Day every day as 70% of its artisans are women. The company builds on traditional craft skills like hand embroidery, applique, tie-dye, handloom weaving, leather craft, silver jewellery and beads. Sumita believes that people are interested in knowing the story behind their clothes and RangSutra’s philosophy is ‘Respect for all—the producer, shareholder and the customer.’
Founder and CEO of Guten News, Brazil
After 8 years working in financial markets, Danielle knew she wanted to make a change. She saw the problem in Brazil that around 70% of 9th graders weren’t achieving a baseline level in their literacy tests. With a population where almost 29% of people can be considered functionally illiterate, something needed to be done. Danielle founded the online platform Guten News providing content and activities for students to improve their reading and comprehension. The platform allows teachers to monitor students engagement and performance to improve literacy in schools. Guten understands that from an early age it is necessary to stimulate and offer creative, relevant, personalised content. They work at the intersection of content, technology and pedagogy. That is, thinking of the learning experience as a whole. Their mission is to impact the lives of young Brazilians, to transform the way they see the world and broaden their horizons. As of today, Guten reaches schools all over Brazil, having impacted over 55,000 students of all socioeconomic profiles and backgrounds
Geysa Borini Rodrigues & Marina Moreira Andrade
Founders of Assobio, Brazil.
Geysa and Marina set out to change the world by preserving Brazil’s amazing rainforest for future generations. Brazil has lost approximately 85 million hectares of native forest due to deforestation. Their social business Assobio replants native forests to regenerate the natural environment by working together with the local community. Assobio replants areas of forest, maintaining native seedlings as well as providing forest monitoring services and the creation of private reserves. So far they have preserved over 200,000 hectares of forest.
Co-Founder and CEO of LeapSkills, India
After leaving an investment banking job in NY, Megha moved back to India to work as a researcher in the education sector. She observed first-hand the apathy of teachers in government colleges in rural India to students and their aspirations. Megha believes that success should not be a function of where you are born but rather of audacity and sheer determination. These factors motivated her to incorporate Leap Skills.
Leap, established in 2013, is a skill development social business aimed at narrowing the skill gap between job aspirants and jobs available in the market, and enabling access to opportunities. Its recently launched program ‘Propeller’, a blended learning program for fostering communication and behavior skills for employment, was awarded the Inclusive Innovation Award by MIT in 2017.
Leap has trained 35,000+ students across India and is committed to challenge the skill development quandary facing India.
Co Founder and CEO of Yunus Social Business, Germany.
At YSB we are proud that the majority of our senior leadership team is female, and of course, we are driven by our CEO Saskia. A leader in the social business movement, Saskia co-founded Yunus Social Business (YSB) together with Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Prof. Muhammad Yunus and Sophie Eisenmann. YSB operates a Philanthropic Venture Fund that turns donations into investments in sustainable social businesses that provide employment, education, healthcare, clean water and clean energy to over 5 million people worldwide. (See some of the social businesses we support in this article!) Under Saskia’s leadership, YSB has also been working with over 20 global corporations to help them use their core competencies to address social problems.