By Jessica Stillman (Editor, Women 2.0)
Some founders aim to change the world by developing and selling cool new products, while others take a more direct route, starting businesses with the immediate aim of solving social problems. These social entrepreneurs make no bones about the scale of their dreams — they want to make the world a better place — and many of those doing the most interesting and impressive work are women. Here are just a few of these extraordinary female social entrepreneurs:
Eden Full (Founder, Roseicollis Technologies)
Eden Full won Mashable’s Startup for Good Challenge in 2011 at age 19 with SunSaluter, before grabbing a place in the inaugural class of the 20 Under 20 Thiel fellowship. Follow her on Twitter at @roseicollistech.
Lily Liu (Founder & CEO, Public Stuff)
New York-based Public Stuff lets residents make real-time requests of local government (think a cheaper, better 311) that proved its worth during Hurricane Sandy. The company just raised $5 million in new funding late last year, according to TechCrunch.
Melissa Rich (Founder & President, InterSchola)
San Francisco-based InterSchola helps schools sell surplus goods. The company has won many accolades, including being named one of Businessweek’s 2012 Top 5 Most Promising Social Entrepreneurial Ventures. Follow Rich on Twitter at @MellisaRich_IS.
Christine Rizk (Co-Founder & COO, Fashion Project)
Boston-based Fashion Project aims to transform castoff designer clothes into dollars for charity. Together with co-founder Anna Palmer, Rizk started the company after experiencing the frustrations of fundraising firsthand. The company raised $450,000 in seed funding from angel investors last year.
Shivani Siroya (Founder & CEO, InVenture)
Siroya founded InVenture to help businesses that are too small for traditional banking, developing InSight, a mobile tool to calculate their “credit scores.” She was a TED Fellow and participated in The Unreasonable Institute. Follow her on Twitter at @shivsiroya.
Lindsay Stradley (Co-Founder, Sanergy)
Stradley’s resume includes stints at Yale and MIT Sloan, but these days she’s left the ivory tower to help solve one of the world’s dirtiest problems – sanitation. Sanergy builds compact toilets that Kenyan women run as franchises. Follow her on Twitter at @LindsayStradley.
Roshaneh Zafar (Founder & Managing Director, Kashf Foundation)
What does her organization do? New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof boils it down: “Roshaneh Zafar… fights extremism with microfinance.” Last year Kashf partnered with Kiva to provide more microloans in Pakistan. Follow her on Twitter at @RoshanehZafar.
Women 2.0 readers: What other female founders would you nominate for a list of social entrepreneurs to watch?
Image credit: hoyasmeg via Flickr.
About the writer: Jessica Stillman is a freelance writer with interests in unconventional career paths, generational differences, and the future of work. She writes a daily column for Inc.com and has blogged for CBS MoneyWatch, GigaOM, and Brazen Careerist, among others. Follow her on Twitter at @entrylevelrebel.