SDG05 – Gender Equality

These social entrepreneurs are accomplishing Sustainable Development Goal 5, Gender Equality: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

Hacking the Diversity Gap, with Kristen Womack, Hack the Gap

Hack the Gap is a weekend event where women come together to build a project as a team.

Kristen Womack, Hack the Gap

Kristen Womack, Hack the Gap

Kristen Womack is a bona fide techy. She worked as a product manager for some well-known tech companies. She runs Night Sky Web Co. And she has been involved in the local tech scene from Geekettes to Mpls MadWomen. And yet, as she attended hackathons, she couldn’t help but notice the lack of women. “When I went to the bathroom, there was no line,” she told me.

The diversity gap in tech has been widely reported. The problem starts early in life.

  • In a recent survey, only 0.4% of teenage girls plan to major in computer science.
  • Only 6.7% of all women graduate with a STEM degree.
  • According to a study by MIT, about 20% of undergraduate engineering degrees are awarded to women, and only 13% of the engineering workforce is female.
  • According to Google’s annual report, only 31% of its employees are women. Worse still, Hispanic workers account for only 4% of their workforce and black employees make up only 2%.

Kristen and Jenna Pederson of Hack the Gap believe that, while there is a problem with getting more women in the tech pipeline, the problem goes deeper. Tech has a culture problem. Kristen says that “We fundamentally believe that, if we increase the pipeline of women and girls who are interested in technology, they are going to enter a world where they could potentially drop about due to death by a thousand cuts.”

A recent New York Times article painfully documented the culture of sexual harassment in the tech industry. Male founders of tech companies have come to a slow realization that their practice of hiring from within their network has caused them to exclude talent from diverse backgrounds.

Kristen points out that the problem is multifaceted. “We have to fix every part of the journey from childhood to adulthood for women in technology.” That’s a big undertaking, Kristen acknowledges. “So, we decided to focus on this one particular segment of adult women.”

Hack the Gap is a weekend event where women come together to build a project as a team. During the weekend, women can become more confident in their skills, or learn a new skill. Not all the women who participate in Hack the Gap are coders. Some have skills in project management, marketing or other skillsets.

The Hack the Gap event strengthens the community of women business leaders. Kristen says, “We have seen several women come out of our hackathon and go on to continue with the business from what they built at Hack the Gap.”

Social Entrepreneurship Quotes from Kristen Womack

[spp-tweet tweet=”“There is a need for everyone at the hackathon.” @kristen_womack, @HackTheGap”]

[spp-tweet tweet=”“12% of all engineers are women.” @kristen_womack, @HackTheGap”]

[spp-tweet tweet=”“The problem is multifaceted,” @kristen_womack, @HackTheGap”]

[spp-tweet tweet=”“How do we show the rest of the community what these women are doing, and elevate them even more?” @kristen_womack, @HackTheGap”]

“There are more men named John who are CEOs of Fortune 500 companies than there are women CEOs.”

[spp-tweet tweet=”“We might have more diversity in technology if we had more women in hiring positions.” @kristen_womack, @HackTheGap”]

“These women are bringing real-world problems into the hackathon, and building tech that will solve those problems.”

[spp-tweet tweet=”“Testing your idea in the smallest state possible is really key.” @kristen_womack, @HackTheGap”]

[spp-tweet tweet=”“You start to see patterns when you start small.” @kristen_womack, @HackTheGap”]

Social Entrepreneurship Resources:


Equipping Emerging Game Makers with Tools for Success, with Evva Kraikul, GLITCH

GLITCH promotes the exploration of digital games as a culture, career and creative practice.

Evva Kraikul, GLITCH

Evva Kraikul, GLITCH

If I were to tell a joke about Evva Kraikul, it might go something like this “A game designer, a neuroscientist and an entrepreneur walk into a bar. She ordered herself a drink.” Evva brings her experience in game design and neuroscience to the startup world where she is the cofounder of GLITCH.

Evva was an extraordinarily early adopter of technology. At the age of four, she was interested in all things digital. She used a laptop to explore online. When she was ten-years-old, she set up a website and sold Beanie Babies. Her first online transaction was for $1,000. She built battle simulators in AOL chat rooms. She is a true digital native.

Evva’s parents encouraged her to be either a doctor or lawyer. “Those seemed to be my only two options,” she remembers. She pursued her degree in neuroscience at the University of Minnesota, but her interests in all things digital would not let her go. She looked for local resources for emerging game makers but found none.

Evva and fellow student Nic VanMeerten set up programs and events. They invited gaming industry insiders to give lectures and workshops. Fellow students were enthusiastic, paying to attend these events. With this proof of concept under their belts, Evva and Nic were awarded a $45,000 grant to continue their work. This work eventually led to the startup, GLITCH.

GLITCH supports emerging game makers through a series of ongoing programs, events, and residencies. GLITCH recently began providing small grants to game makers who are doing interesting work.

By supporting emerging game makers, GLITCH is bringing a unique perspective to the gaming industry.

Social Entrepreneurship Quotes from Evva Kraikul

“My parents didn’t believe me when the first sale was $1,000.”

[spp-tweet tweet=”“There was something missing.” @Evvahs, @GlitchMN”]

“There weren’t a lot of resources and support for emerging game makers.”

[spp-tweet tweet=”“We tested them. We did small programs.” @Evvahs, @GlitchMN”]

[spp-tweet tweet=”“That’s the most powerful thing – going in open minded.” @Evvahs, @GlitchMN”]

“My initial ideas change drastically. They aren’t the same as when they started.”

“How do we allow people to be vulnerable and talk about the issues they’re facing, in games?”

“All you can do is put your design in the world, let people use it, and iterate.”

[spp-tweet tweet=”“Everything you put into the world should be a living thing.” @Evvahs, @GlitchMN”]

“The thing that was the hardest and continues to be most difficult is learning how to lead.”

[spp-tweet tweet=”“I’ve been learning how to say yes, and more specifically how to say no.” @Evvahs, @GlitchMN”]

“I want to support emerging game makers who are doing interesting and innovative work.”

[spp-tweet tweet=”“I love games. I don’t love where games are right now.” @Evvahs, @GlitchMN”]

[spp-tweet tweet=”“Be bold. Be daring.” @Evvahs, @GlitchMN”]

[spp-tweet tweet=”“Find a community that you’re specifically passionate about.” @Evvahs, @GlitchMN”]

[spp-tweet tweet=”“Find a problem you’re itching to solve. Jump in and shut it down.” @Evvahs, @GlitchMN”]

Social Entrepreneurship Resources:

Stories that Inspire African Women to Start and Grow Businesses, with Lisa O’Donoghue-Lindy, She Inspires Her

She Inspires Her is an online and mobile media platform that shares stories about women entrepreneurs in emerging African markets.

Lisa O'Donoghue-Lindy, She Inspires Her

Lisa O’Donoghue-Lindy, She Inspires Her

Lisa O’Donoghue-Lindy was born in Ireland. When she was 12 years-old, she moved to the United States with her family. After college, she went back to Europe working with major corporations in communications roles. Lisa and her husband have lived in South Africa, Greece, and Finland. As we spoke, they are in the process of moving to Namibia. Because she has moved so often, she has done work that can be accomplished from anywhere in the world.

In 2014, Lisa and a friend launched a side project called Career 2.0. They wrote stories of women who had experienced major mid-life shifts. They featured women, mainly from the US and Europe, who had found a way to live a fulfilling life.

It was through this work that Lisa wrote a story about Hyasintha Ntuyeko, an entrepreneur from Tanzania. After the story came out, Hyasintha applied for the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) fellowship. She included the story in her application. When Hyasintha was accepted, she wrote an email to Lisa telling her about the difference that the story had made. This had a profound effect on Lisa. “I made a difference in someone’s life,” she realized. It was at this point that Lisa pivoted away from Career 2.0 in order to start She Inspires Her, focusing on women entrepreneurs in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Women in Sub-Saharan African only own about 10% to 15% of formal businesses. Most women in Sub-Saharan Africa are stuck in the informal economy. Their businesses are not sustainable. They do not create jobs. These businesses cannot scale and grow.

For many women in Sub-Saharan Africa, there are legal, cultural, financial and structural barriers that keep them from owning formal businesses. In some cases, local culture reinforces the idea that the woman’s place is in the home. Women often lack access to education. Women can lack property, which can block access to credit.

Highly successful African women entrepreneurs are often featured in Forbes or CNN Africa. And, there are other women who are incredibly savvy at social media who can tell their stories. However, Lisa says “There’s a real dearth of stories of everyday women in markets like Uganda, Rwanda or Tanzania who are not able to get their stories out. And these women are remarkable. My goal is to get these stories out there so that younger women, or even girls, can read them and see themselves in those stories.”

She Inspires Her provides role models, connects women to networks, promotes women-owned businesses and raises awareness to barriers to female entrepreneurs. Their main objective is to share relatable stories that get more women to start and grow businesses in Africa.

Social Entrepreneurship Quotes from Lisa O’Donoghue-Lindy, She Inspires Her

[spp-tweet tweet=”“You can’t be what you don’t see.” Lisa O’Donoghue-Lindy, @SheInspiresHer”]

[spp-tweet tweet=”“Small and Medium Enterprises are crucial drivers of job creation.”  Lisa O’Donoghue-Lindy, @SheInspiresHer“]

[spp-tweet tweet=”“In countries like Cameroon and Ghana, SMEs are responsible for more than half of employment opportunities.” Lisa O’Donoghue-Lindy, @SheInspiresHer“]

[spp-tweet tweet=”“My objective is to get more women out of the informal sector and into a formal business.” Lisa O’Donoghue-Lindy, @SheInspiresHer“]

[spp-tweet tweet=”“It was in working with her that I realized where I could really make a difference.” Lisa O’Donoghue-Lindy, @SheInspiresHer“]

Social Entrepreneurship Resources:


Amplifying the Voices of Muslim Women, with Nausheena Hussain, Reviving the Islamic Sisterhood for Empowerment (RISE)

Reviving the Islamic Sisterhood for Empowerment (RISE) is amplifying the voices and power of Muslim women.

Nausheena Hussain, Reviving the Islamic Sisterhood for Empowerment (RISE)

Nausheena Hussain, Reviving the Islamic Sisterhood for Empowerment (RISE)

Nausheena Hussain was raised in a small town north of Chicago. She grew up believing in the American dream – work hard, go to college and you’ll succeed. But she found that there are invisible barriers. She is a woman. She is the daughter of Indian immigrants. And, as a woman of color with a piece of cloth on her head, she says “People feel threatened by me, or fear me.” So, she asked herself an important question. “What can I do to break through these barriers, especially because I have a daughter myself?”

Nausheena was working in a corporate role with a major retailer. She says, “You look around and the economy is tanking, the housing bubble has burst, people are losing their jobs and their homes, and you’re sitting in corporate America in your cushy job, trying to sell a sixty-five inch TV.” She began to ask herself “What is the purpose of my life? What am I here on this planet to do?” She recognized that she has skills, but was she really applying these skills in alignment with her values?

In 2011, Nausheena found a job at the civil rights organization, the Council on American-Islamic Relations. She loved the work and found it to be important. But there was something that bothered her. Where were the women? Most of the leadership positions were filled by men. When press conferences were called, she had a tough time convincing women to step into the spotlight. And yet, women were donors. They were doing the work in the background. But their work was not always acknowledged.

As Nausheena was thinking about this challenge, she was accepted into a fellowship program at Studio E. The fellowship had her working in 90-day sprints to develop her idea. In September 2015, she began a series of conversations with Muslim women about their challenges. These women shared their challenges in finding others with similar aspirations. Nausheena began to see the need for a platform that would connect Islamic women and help them tell their stories. By November 2015, Nausheena gave a talk at Ignite Minneapolis where she proposed the idea of Reviving the Islamic Sisterhood for Empowerment (RISE).

Nausheena says that “Often, when you think of a Muslim woman, a lot of negative things pop into your head. We realized that, that is because somebody else is always telling our story. So, how do we change that narrative, if we’re not the ones doing the storytelling? My hope is, the more Muslim women step up into spaces and places, and exercise their rights and power, I think that’s going to have a significant impact on public policy.”

RISE has three areas of focus: leadership, community engagement, and philanthropy. Nausheena says “If we gain the necessary skills, and we show up, then we can create positive social change.”

Social Entrepreneurship Quotes from Nausheena Hussain

“We’re trying to get Muslim women to engage in their communities to make society a better place for all.”

“We think Muslim women are not engaged or not interested, but that’s not the truth at all.”

[spp-tweet tweet=”“How can I be what I cannot see?” @nausheena, @RISEsisterhood”]

[spp-tweet tweet=”“It’s the public perception of Muslims that influences public policy.” @nausheena, @RISEsisterhood“]

[spp-tweet tweet=”“I struggled to understand, what is the purpose of my life?” @nausheena, @RISEsisterhood“]

[spp-tweet tweet=”“We are on this phenomenal growth trajectory.” @nausheena, @RISEsisterhood“]

“Let’s listen to the women and ask them what types of workshops they want.”

“How do you tell your story that is authentic and genuine?”

[spp-tweet tweet=”“When I see her, I see me.” @nausheena, @RISEsisterhood“]

“We were sold out weeks before the conference.”

“The very first conversation I had was with eight women.”

[spp-tweet tweet=”“You can’t do it alone.” @nausheena, @RISEsisterhood“]

[spp-tweet tweet=”“This vision is not just mine. It is all of ours collectively.” @nausheena, @RISEsisterhood“]

[spp-tweet tweet=”“Remember self-care.” @nausheena, @RISEsisterhood“]

[spp-tweet tweet=”“When you’re at the table, think about who is missing.” @nausheena, @RISEsisterhood“]

“Get to know your neighbor, even the 5 or 6 houses around your own.”

Social Entrepreneurship Resources:

Amplifying the Voices of Muslim Women, with Nausheena Hussain, Reviving the Islamic Sisterhood for Empowerment (RISE)

Changing Media to Empower Girls, with Madeline Di Nonno, Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media

The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in the Media is a research-driven organization that is changing media to empower girls.

Madeline Di Nonno, Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media

Madeline Di Nonno, Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media

While watching television with her daughter, Geena Davis noticed that women were not well represented. She was concerned about the messages that were being sent to her daughter and to her twin boys. Geena launched a research project and was disturbed by what she found. In 2009, Geena met with Madeline Di Nonno, a 30-year veteran of the entertainment industry. Together, they launched the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in the Media.

Here is what they found. Women and girls make up 51% of the population and yet, if you watch movies and television, you might not know that. For every minute of female screen and speaking time, there are three minutes of male screen and speaking time. Women make up around 17% of crowd scenes. And only 17% of the top 100 feature films of 2015 featured solo female roles.

The kinds of characters played by women are also off-balance. 80% of the characters seen working are male. Women in films make up less than 5% of the C-Suite roles. Men play attorneys or judges 13 times for every time the role is played by a woman. Men play professors 16 times for every time a woman plays the same role. And men play medical professionals nearly 6 times for every time a woman plays the same role.

Children consume about 7 hours of television per day. So, media plays an oversized role in influencing their understanding of society. Given the statistics above, children, both boys and girls, are fed a steady diet of messages that women and girls don’t matter to society.

The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in the Media is a research-driven organization. Through research, they have amassed the largest body of research on gender prevalence in family entertainment spanning over 25 years. They partnered with Google to create a software that analyses video and audio. The software measures the GD-IQ (the Geena Davis Inclusion Quotient).

They research directly to decision makers and creators in the entertainment industry. They collaborate with the media and entertainment industry to expose gender imbalance, identify unconscious bias and remodel characters to achieve equity.

In a recent impact study, 68% of entertainment industry executives familiar with the Institute’s research changed two or more projects, and 41% changed four or more projects.

Social Entrepreneurship Quotes from Madeline Di Nonno

[spp-tweet tweet=”“The problem is centered around unconscious gender bias.” Madeline Di Nonno, @GDIGM “]

“Even when there are female leads, they receive three times less speaking time than the male leads.”

[spp-tweet tweet=”“Female-led films are earning 16% more at the box office.” Madeline Di Nonno, @GDIGM“]

[spp-tweet tweet=”“We’re focused on research, action, and results.” Madeline Di Nonno, @GDIGM“]

[spp-tweet tweet=”“I learned a lot by reading obituaries.” Madeline Di Nonno, @GDIGM“]

[spp-tweet tweet=”“I thought, could I use my power for good?” Madeline Di Nonno, @GDIGM“]

“It’s important to do a SWOT analysis.”

[spp-tweet tweet=”“Is there another organization that you can partner with?” Madeline Di Nonno, @GDIGM“]

[spp-tweet tweet=”“Whatever you do has to be measured in finite terms.” Madeline Di Nonno, @GDIGM“]

[spp-tweet tweet=”“We’re dealing with huge systemic change.” Madeline Di Nonno, @GDIGM“]

Social Entrepreneurship Resources:

More Stories of Sustainable Development Goal 5, Gender Equality

In 2017, we’re emphasizing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). In April, we are focusing on Sustainable Development Goal 5, Gender Equality. You can read more about the Sustainable Development Goals here.

My Unconscious Bias

The problem with unconscious bias

I had no idea that I had an unconscious bias. I thought that I was being even-handed in having an equal number of women and men as guests on the podcast, Social Entrepreneur. Then, early in 2016, I counted. I was shocked. At the time, only 40% of my guests were women. I had no idea. That’s the problem with unconscious bias. I was not conscious of it. Data helps. Until I had data, I was not aware. So, I refocused. By episode 100, counting all the way back to episode one, 46% of my guests were women. Today, at episode 143, a little more than 48% of our guests have been women…counting from the beginning.

My goal is to ensure that at least half of my guests are women. This is important to me, not because of some self-imposed quota, but because at least half of the people on the earth are women. If I am not featuring an equal number, well, that’s on me. I have two daughters and and three granddaughters. It is important to me that I have guests that represent positive choices for them. As the actor Geena Davis says “If she can see it, she can be it.”

A few years ago, Geena noticed that, while watching television programs with her daughter, she did not see as many positive female role models as she did male. So, she counted. She formed the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media a research and advocacy organization. They have created the largest body of research on gender prevalence in entertainment. Here are a few facts that they have found:

  • Female Actors are outnumbered 3:1 for speaking roles.
  • When it comes to actors playing medical practitioners, there are 5.75 male actors to one female actor.
  • Men play attorneys or judges 13 to one when compared to women.
  • And when it comes to college professors? Well, there are 16 men featured for every one woman professor.

These numbers matter. If the girls in your life see someone like them in important roles, they might aspire to take on these roles some day. If she can see it, she can be it. the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in the Media helps studio executives to have data. It helps make unconscious bias explicit. It gives them data.

My Goals for Social Entrepreneur

I want any aspiring social entrepreneur in the world to be able to look at my work and to see herself or himself there. If they can see it, they can be it. While balancing the number of women on the podcast, I am also attempting to represent global South about as often as global North on the podcast…though I’m not succeeding. I love South-South social enterprises, but I have to focus on that more.

I try to find social entrepreneurs from different continents, but I have not been even-handed there. I just featured my first guest from the Middle East. I don’t know what took me so long.

I also did an exercise recently where I categorized my interviews according to one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). I found that in the last year, I had guests who are working on each of the 17 SDGs, but moving into 2017, I am using an editorial calendar to be intentional on giving a broad view of the SDGs.

It’s a lot to balance. But it’s also important. And to do so, I have to be conscious. The data helps.

My Unconscious Bias

117, Safeena Husain, Educate Girls | The Power of an Educated Girl

Safeena Husain of Educate Girls works with volunteers across Indian villages to find out-of-school girls, bring them back to school and to educate them.

As an educated, successful woman, Safeena Husain visited a village, accompanied by her father. Because they were strangers in the village, the local residents were naturally curious. The local villagers asked Safeena’s father about his family. When her father explained that this was his only child, a daughter, the reaction shocked Safeena. “You poor thing,” they said. “Perhaps it is not too late for you. You can still try to have a son.” Safeena thought to herself, “If I can feel like this, what happens to the girls in the villages?”

When a girl is educated, they have the potential to enter the formal economy, gain employment and lift their families out of poverty.

Educate Girls works at the root cause of gender inequality in India’s education system. They work with thousands of schools, reaching millions of children in some of India’s most remote areas. Through their work, they have achieved over 90% enrollment and higher attendance for girls. They have also worked to improve school infrastructure, quality of education and learning outcomes for all girls.

Social Entrepreneurship Quotes from Safeena Husain

“We find every girl who is out of school. We make sure she is brought back to school, stays in school and is learning.”

[spp-tweet tweet=”‘To find the girls out of school, we go door-to-door.’ @safeenahusain, @educate_girls”]

“It’s not enough to have her in school. If she’s not learning, everything would be worthless.”

[spp-tweet tweet=”‘India has the highest number of out-of-school girls in the world.’ @safeenahusain, @educate_girls“]

“We have the highest number of child brides anywhere on the planet.”

“And we also have the highest number of women or girls that are trafficked.”

“The World Bank says that investing in a girl’s education is the best investment a country can make.”

“For each additional year of schooling for a girl, family income goes up by 10% – 15%.”

“Once she is educated, she is 500 times more likely to educate her children.”

[spp-tweet tweet=”‘These are not the rules. These are just the rules we have made.’ @safeenahusain, @educate_girls“]

“I thought I have to do something in girls’ education, because I found my pathway through education.”

“They gave me a list of 26 critical gender gap districts.”

“I learned from a lot of best practices in this sector.”

“In terms of learning, we had an almost 30% better result than a regular government school, in our school.”

[spp-tweet tweet=”‘My job is to have a vision of success.’ @safeenahusain, @educate_girls“]

[spp-tweet tweet=”‘It’s a mindset issue.’ @safeenahusain, @educate_girls #LetGirlsLearn“]

Social Entrepreneurship Resources:

099, Mallika Dutt, Breakthrough | Culture Shift to Prevent Violence against Women and Girls

Mallika Dutt works at the level of culture to prevent violence against women and girls.

Mallika Dutt was born in Calcutta and grew up in a crowded home with lots of boys. As a result, she says that she grew up as a tomboy. She wanted to do what the boys were doing and resisted traditional roles for girls, especially cooking or sewing. She also resisted the idea of marriage. She wanted to craft her own path, which led to obtain a degree from Mount Holyoke College.

At Mount Holyoke she found the encouragement she needed to blaze her unique trail. This led her to pursue a law degree and to work in several organizations focusing on human rights, civil rights and social justice. She started organizations in New York. She found her way back to India where she was the Human Rights Program Officer for the Ford Foundation.

It was while she was at the Ford Foundation that she began to focus on culture change and how to transform the norms that lead to human rights. In 2000, as Mallika was focusing on the role of culture in perpetuating violence against women and girls, she produced an album and a video that brought attention to this important issue. And so, her organization, Breakthrough was born.

The Problem of Violence against Women and Girls

A few days before I spoke with Mallika Dutt of Breakthrough, news broke that Brock Turner had received what most saw as a light sentence for rape. Around the world people were outraged about violence against women and girls, campus safety, rape culture, male privilege, race privilege, and the criminal justice system. And, in just a few news cycles, the conversation moved on to other topics.

Violence against women and girls is a massive problem. Prior to the rape by Brock Turner, there was, on average one rape every two weeks on Stanford’s campus. One in three women, around 35%, will experience physical or sexual violence. Violence against women and girls is not a women’s issue. It is a human issue. Violence can only exist in a culture that allows and supports it.

The Solution to Violence against Women and Girls

Breakthrough is a global human rights organization whose mission is to make violence against women and girls unacceptable. They bring together media, arts and technology with community engagement in order to help people examine the gender norms that leads to violence and discrimination.

Quotes from Mallika Dutt about Violence against Women and Girls

[spp-tweet tweet=”‘We’re really looking at how we can drive culture change.’ @mallikadutt of @BreakthroughUS”]

“It isn’t enough to deal with the problem after the problem has occurred.”

“Culture is like the sea that we swim in.”

“I was born a feminist.”

“In 1999 I really started to grapple with this idea of culture change.”

“All of a sudden, this experiment was showing results.”

[spp-tweet tweet=”‘Culture change happens in the tiniest of places and it also requires larger shifts at scale.’ @mallikadutt of @BreakthroughUS“]

[spp-tweet tweet=”‘Human rights are really about how we treat one another wherever we are located.’ @mallikadutt of @BreakthroughUS“]

“How we treat each other as human beings is the basis on which we build all of our other systems and processes and structures.”

[spp-tweet tweet=”‘Dream big and take baby steps.’ @mallikadutt of @BreakthroughUS“]

[spp-tweet tweet=”‘Do power differently, in ways that bring in love and compassion and kindness.’ @mallikadutt of @BreakthroughUS“]

Social Entrepreneurship Resources:


Free Live Training: 10 Steps on the Path to Social Entrepreneurship

Join this free live training on Thursday. You can choose from three different times. Here’s what you’ll learn:

  • How to overcome the five roadblocks to becoming a social entrepreneur. What if you could run a profitable business with a social purpose? What would that make possible?
  • The key characteristics of effective social entrepreneurs. Do you have what it takes to take on a cause?
  • How to establish where you are on your journey. What is your aspiration? What kind of social business will you design?
  • The next steps to building your social enterprise and the surprising key step that is often missed.

You won’t want to miss this. Register for the free live training today: .

085, Nur-E Farhana Rahman, Knotty Gal | Authentic Startup Life

Startup life is not for the faint of heart. When Nur-E Farhana Rahman tells you about startup life, she is authentic, transparent and genuine. There are worries about cash flow. There are struggles with hiring the right people and picking the right suppliers. She tells a painful story of falling short on a Kickstarter campaign. In her stories, there is nothing glamorous about startup life.

That is not to say that her jewelry startup, Knotty Gal, has not been successful. On the contrary, they have been able to grow the company while bootstrapping. Customers stop them on the street to comment on their products. They have been featured in Forbes, Huffington Post, Daily Candy, Conscious Magazine, MSNBC and other news outlets. As their revenues rise, so does their impact.

Through Knotty Gal, Nur-E is able to support girls attending Bhandari Girls’ School, one of the first all girls’ school in Bogra, Bangladesh. The school has special meaning to Nur-E. Her great grandfather started the school. Her mother graduated from there. It’s a cause big enough to help her meet every challenge startup life sends her way.

Startup Life Quotes from Nur-E Farhana Rahman

[spp-tweet tweet=”‘We had the cause first. We had no product.’ Nur-E Farhana Rahman of @KnottyGal”]

“People started sending me stories. ‘On the subway today, someone asked me about my necklace.’”

[spp-tweet tweet=”‘Scalability is key.’ Nur-E Farhana Rahman of @KnottyGal”]

“I read an article that one in three founders suffers from depression.”

“You’re constantly thinking about running out of money.”

[spp-tweet tweet=”‘You need a support system.’ Nur-E Farhana Rahman of @KnottyGal”]

[spp-tweet tweet=”‘We’re constantly comparing our behind the scenes to everyone’s highlight reel.’ Nur-E Farhana Rahman of @KnottyGal“]

“We’ve been bootstrapping the entire time.”

[spp-tweet tweet=”‘You will fail. It’s guaranteed. It’s just a matter of how you bounce back.’ Nur-E Farhana Rahman of @KnottyGal“]

[spp-tweet tweet=”‘Perseverance is the one key trait that all successful entrepreneurs have.’ Nur-E Farhana Rahman of @KnottyGal“]

[spp-tweet tweet=”‘Do one thing that scares you’ Nur-E Farhana Rahman of @KnottyGal“]

Social Entrepreneurship Resources:

Culture Shift Learning Academy

We’re moving closer to the launch of Culture Shift Learning Academy, a comprehensive system to help you flesh out your social impact idea and start achieving it.

Enrollment isn’t open yet, but you can join the waiting list with other changemakers. Just go to and enter your email address. As a thank you, I’ll send you the Social Entrepreneur Startup Readiness Assessment. This useful tool is designed to help you to determine where you are on your startup journey and to successfully focus your development efforts.

Grab The Assessment

085, Nur-E Farhana Rahman, Knotty Gal | Authentic Startup Life

063, Gretchen Steidle, Global Grassroots | Conscious Social Change

Gretchen Steidle and Global Grassroots looks for change agents in the most marginalized communities in post-conflict East Africa. Their mission is to catalyze women and girls as leaders of conscious social change. They provide mind-body trauma healing, a conscious social change curriculum, mentors and seed capital.

In Conscious Social Change, Global Grassroots emphasizes five key areas:

  1. Cultivating presence.
  2. Becoming whole
  3. Ensuring balance
  4. Staying attuned
  5. Leading from within

Social Entrepreneurship Quotes from Gretchen Steidle of Global Grassroots:

[spp-tweet tweet=”I was intrigued by what it takes to scale and replicate the best ideas. @ConsciousChange of @ggrassroots”]

“I recognized that this is where change was happening. It was happening from the grassroots level up.”

“I wanted to find a way to finance more social innovation in the world.”

“I found change agents among illiterate farmers who had escaped genocide.”

“Here was the niche I felt I could serve best, where rebuilding efforts had already begun, but where grassroots needs were still not being met.”

[spp-tweet tweet=”Everything we do is extremely experiential. @ConsciousChange of @ggrassroots”]

“We incorporate trauma healing work with our change agents.”

“Conscious social change is the intersection of mindfulness with social entrepreneurship.”

“We teach mindfulness as a leadership principle.”

“For example, a water venture might sell water to those who can afford to pay for it, but that underwrites orphan school fees and women’s heath fees and their programming on domestic violence.”

[spp-tweet tweet=”Do not assume you know what is needed. @ConsciousChange of @ggrassroots“]

“Go there, listen, ask questions, engage and support local solutions.”

“The more you can recognize that every stakeholder has wisdom that is valuable to the whole, the more quickly you can clearly and accurately define the issue and design a solution that is going to result in long-term transformation.”

“Constantly evaluate if what you are doing is really alleviating the underlying social issue.”

“The most important thing that we can do is work on our own self-awareness.”

[spp-tweet tweet=”Start with your own breath – by taking three breaths. @ConsciousChange of @ggrassroots“]

Social Entrepreneurship Resources:

063, Gretchen Steidle, Global Grassroots | Conscious Social Change