From East Africa to California: Celebrating Female Entrepreneurship

 

By Cristina Bernardo

Women entrepreneurship is undoubtedly on the rise in both the U.S. and Europe amongst other places. A recent report of the State of the Women Owned Businesses in 2015 concluded that women owned businesses in the U.S. had grown 74% between 1997 and 2015, 1.5 times the national average. Since 1997, 9.4 million new firms have been created, 14% of which were created by African American women. All together women owned businesses employed over 7.9 million Americans and added 340,000 jobs to the economy since 1997. Similarly, the Statistical Data on Women Entrepreneurs in Europe found that of the 40.6 million entrepreneurs in the Europe-37 (the 28 EU members and 11 other nearby countries), 29% were women.

In commemoration of International Women’s Day on March 8th,  we wanted to highlight our very own female alumni who have surpassed the tremendous hurdles that often face women entrepreneurs highlighted in the recent New York Times article, to start their own social enterprises and traditional businesses.

All MBA graduates from IE Business School in Madrid or McGill University in Canada, these tremendous women have ventured out into what was once a male dominated world, to start, manage, and grow their own organizations.

Stay tuned for a more in depth look at each organization, but for now, please enjoy learning about these four wonderful endeavors.

 

  Impact Rising logo

Founded by: Jasmine Youssefzadeh, NexGen Alumni Sept ‘11, IE Business School

Impact Rising is a cultural movement agency. They lead community activation and engagement strategies. In doing so, they build movements and stories that inspire, activate, and unite people in support of brands and causes that matter. Harnessing innovation in media, technology, and design, they create participatory movements that drive audiences towards action.  www.impactrising.co

 

Markit Opportunity logo

Founded by: Ashley King-Bischof, NexGen Alumni June ‘14, IE Business School

Markit Opportunity is a social enterprise designed to increase income of women smallholder farmers in the East African Community. Their holistic approach to empowering rural farmers offers its customers opportunities to access information about the markets they buy and sell in, exchange high-quality produce through a mobile auction platform, and procure transportation services. This multi-pronged approach allows the regional supply chain to connect with existing and new suppliers in their chain. With the advancement of mobile money technology and smartphone penetration, Markit Opportunity sees the potential for EAC farmers to connect with the best prices and highest quality standards in international trade. http://markitopportunity.com

 

The O logo

Founded by:  Rose Wilson, NexGen Alumni Jan ‘14, IE Business School

​The O is a wearable device with a mobile app that is designed to offer users  proactive personal assistance. Users must simply attach THE O to their most important belongings that they cannot afford to lose or to forget. The app will immediately notify them if they are about to lose or accidentally leave one of them behind. www.owithme.com

 

galavanta-logo

Founded by: Cristina Consuegra, NexGen Alumni June ‘13, McGill University

Galavanta is a local agency specialized in experiential luxury travel to Colombia. At Galavanta, they take the time to truly understand travelers desires and preferences in order to craft their ideal itinerary – from the dates and destinations, to the guides and restaurant reservations. They collaborate with travelers to modify the itinerary until they achieve the perfect blend of luxury, adventure, relaxation, and excitement. www.galavanta.com

* Rumor has it Susan Sarandon did a trip with Galavanta!

 

We salute these amazing female alumni proving that #SheMeansBusiness. Though the numbers themselves are encouraging, the road to success for women in entrepreneurship can still be a perilous journey, where only 8% of Venture Capital funding is currently going towards women according to research by CB Insights. According to one study by Harvard Business School, 68% of investors studied preferred an investment pitch when given by an attractive male over the same pitch by a woman.

With such data it is clear that women still have to overcome many difficult hurdles and double standards when it comes to the world of entrepreneurship. We are proud that in spite of such difficulties, Jasmine, Ashley, Rose, and Cristina have all still taken upon themselves to join the ranks of successful entrepreneurs, encouraging many women behind them to follow suit. s Day on March 8th,  we wanted to highlight our very own female alumni who have surpassed the tremendous hurdles that often face women entrepreneurs highlighted in the recent New York Times article, to start their own social enterprises and traditional businesses.

All MBA graduates from IE Business School in Madrid or McGill University in Canada, these tremendous women have ventured out into what was once a male dominated world, to start, manage, and grow their own organizations.

Stay tuned for a more in depth look at each organization, but for now, please enjoy learning about these four wonderful organizations.

Photo: Social Entepreneur Ashley King-Bischof, of Markit Opporunity, meets with leading social enterprises in Peru with fellows Christine Chang and Mariana Alvarez Gonzalez during the NexGen Fellowship in June 2014.

 


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