H&M Foundation 500 (Women Changing the World)
H&M Foundation along with CARE has launched the Foundation 500, a list of successful female business leaders from emerging markets. Nowhere near Silicon Valley, these business are thriving in the harshest of start-up environments from Sri Lanka, Philippines, Nepal and Indonesia. The H&M Foundation and CARE are challenging and re-defining what a business leader looks like. The reason for that is to help reduce poverty and achieve UN Sustainable Development Goals on Women's Empowerment and Gender Equality.
The 500 female entrepreneurs spotlighted are indeed inventing the future in various industries. Each with their power portraits and stories of their empowerment and decision to break the cycle of poverty and instead create economic growth. What H&M Foundation 500 is showing are these women in the same kind of light that powerful business men are accustomed to and that female entrepreneurs are just as influential and successful, if not more.
Rocío del Pilar Ochoa García
Co-founder, El Bosque de Acopalca
The key to increase yield in agricultural production lies in the refinement further up the develpment chain. Rocío del Pilar Ochoa García and her association have understood that.
Q: You are about to launch your range of dried mushroom products to the
food market, what makes your products competitive?
A: That is a question with many answers. But we are seeing an increased demand for
our products, which means that the natural next step for us is to expand. Our products will now be sold in supermarkets, packaged and labeled as 12 gram units, which is very good for our development.
CEO, Uncle Ping Meatballs
Meet Husriana on her world-enhancing mission, armed with her unexpected weapon of choice: healthy meatballs.
29-year old entrepreneur and business leader Husriana is a veritable troubleshooter. Her solution is bold and innovative, and combines technology, health, canny marketing and a delicious product.
Q: You left a promising career within the educational sector to make a deep dive into the food industry instead, what caused your shift of focus?
A: I saw great potential within the meal-production industry and how it can provide jobs for many people at low cost. But more importantly, there was something in my heart that said I didn’t reach my full potential, and that I could do so by founding my own business. That’s how Uncle Ping Meatballs was born.
Founder and owner, Kirupaliny Saris
Meet the business leader who set high standards for her handmade products.
That high quality materials and high standard hand crafting is the foundation of building a luxury brand is something Karunakaran Kirupaliny is well aware of. While making high quality, handmade Saris, she is refining the art of weaving.
Q: Producing luxury products, how do you make sure the quality of your
product answers to the high set standards?
A: For me handloom weaving is more of an art than a business and since I feel so passionate about it, the quality of my work is improving all the time.
Agent, Live Well
Social entrepreneur with a clear mission to improve the health care industry.
“My strong incentive is to help those who are sick in the community,” declares social entrepreneur Penelope Likwasi.
Penelope Likwasi is an agent at Live Well, a health care initiative that provides people with medicine through a flexible and innovative distribution model.
Q: You are a social entrepreneur within the field of health care, how would you
define your driving force?
A: I have a strong incentive with what I do and that is to help those who are sick in the community.
President, Trout producers association PACTAN
President of a Peruvian farmers’ association and entrepreneur in the aquaculture business.
Not every 20-year-old can call themselves president of a farmers’ association, or say they are running a trout farm. However, Andrea Gala from Peru is the exception – breaking conventions and paving way for a new ge- neration of self-made entrepreneurs.
Q: Having chosen quite an unusual career path for a person your age, can you tell us about a normal day for you?
A: I wake up a 5 AM and have a very set morning routine. At about 8 AM I get out to the farm. On a normal day I make sure the fish are fed and the ponds are cleaned and then I meet with buyers. On Sundays, I sell our product, which is grilled fish from the farm, on a local farmers’ market.
Q: You are an association of 20 women who are producing trouts, how does it work?
A: We all have trout farms, and together we try to improve both quality and the business itself. It’s a more lucrative business than field work and by collaborating, we can create something really big.
There are more 495 female entrepreneurs that you need to read about here.