We thought we would give a nod to a few female social entrepreneurs, especially on International Women’s Day. These women are creating and building businesses that contribute enormously to not only a global economy but are solving real world social problems in innovative ways. We are both inspired and humbled by these women who are using business to help change the world.

International Women’s Day 2017: #BeBoldForChange

Natalie Kyriacou – My Green World 

Natalie Kyriacou is the Founder and CEO of My Green World and the Creator of World of the Wild mobile game app. My Green World is an organisation dedicated to wildlife and environmental conservation. Formally affiliated with 18 local and international charities and initiatives, My Green World is a platform for the public to connect with environmental and wildlife causes. Among other notable achievements, Natalie was responsible for the global ban on elephant rides by Australia’s largest travel wholesaler, Tempo Holidays.


Elizabeth Dearborn Davis – Akilah Institute for Women   

Elizabeth Dearborn Davis went to Rwanda at age 22, with very little experience, no relatives or support and couldn’t speak the language, yet she was determined to make a difference in the war-torn country. She co-founded the Akilah (“wisdom” in Swahili) Institute for Women, a nationally accredited college that offers degrees in hospitality management, information systems and entrepreneurship for women in Rwanda. Akilah aims to build future generations of women leaders and professionals in East Africa through the development of a network of campuses.


Fif Ghobadian – Road Twenty Two 

Named after the largest women’s correctional facility in the world, Road Twenty Two makes luxurious made-in America basics and employs former female prisoners. Fif Ghobadian, CEO and Co-Founder, wanted to create clothes that were both edgy and fun but also brought change. Road Twenty Two humanizes women who were formerly incarcerated, homeless, or suffering from substance abuse and helps them break through employment roadblocks. Road Twenty Two is now sold in about 200 stores.


Mélissa Calixte – Smile 2 Smile 

Mélissa is the founder of Smile 2 Smile, a Toronto-based company with a one-for-one model. Smile 2 Smile is dedicated to sharing the joy and playfulness that is central to childhood. For each limited-edition Buddy toy sold, another is given to a child going through difficult times, inviting customers to share happiness, imagination and play with little ones internationally. Mélissa has created several partnerships with international NGOs, as well as health organizations such as PIH and SickKids, to distribute their products to vulnerable children globally.


Jenny Amaraneni – SOLO Eyewear 

Jenny Amaraneni, CEO and Co-Founder of SOLO Eyewear, developed the concept of the company as a class project at San Diego State University. The company creates environmentally responsible sunglasses that restore vision for people in need. To date, SOLO has restored vision for over 13,000 people in need across 32 countries and it’s only the beginning. In addition to their vision restoring efforts, SOLO also utilizes recycled and repurposed materials in the construction of its eyewear. This effort has saved hundreds of pounds of virgin plastic from being produced each year.


Sheeza Ahmad Shah – UpEffect 

As Founder and CEO of UpEffect, Sheeza combines her background in Computer Science with her passion for social entrepreneurship to work with revolutionary founders on UpEffect, a crowdfunding and support platform to launch products doing good in the world. So far she has helped companies raise over £100,000 to positively impact lives in seven countries.


Jessica Blotter – Kind Traveler 

Jessica is the CEO and cofounder of Kind Traveler, the first digital ‘Give + Get’ hotel booking platform. The company was created after Blotter traveled to Belize and witnessed heart-breaking poverty, polluted swamps, and the plight of emaciated dogs roaming the streets. She asked the question “What if we could create a way that travelers could easily make a difference every time they traveled?” The answer was KindTraveler.com. Travelers ‘give’ to their favorite local or global charity; as a reward for their donation, they ‘get’ an exclusive rate to book directly with the world’s best hotels and unique properties. 100% to charities.


Mariama Camara – Mariama Fashion Production, and There is No Limit Foundation

At HeartPress PR, we recently watched the documentary ‘Dream, Girl’ and Mariama was one the entrepreneurs featured in the film. She is the founder and creative director of Mariama Fashion Production and the Co-founder of There Is No Limit Foundation. Born in the Republic of Guinea, West Africa, Mariama is one of the most influential rising African women in philanthropy and fashion. Her entrepreneurial spirit and humanitarian work has led her to interact with some of the most influential individuals in the business, entertainment, political and non-profit sectors.

You can see Mariama in the film Dream, Girl being screened at the University of Victoria on International Women’s Day (March 8th) at the next Dream Big* event hosted by our friend and fellow female entrepreneur Linda Biggs of makeher + co. The event includes a screening of the film followed by a panel discussion. The documentary is listed in Oprah’s Soulful 100 & has been screened at all the Twitter offices worldwide because it inspires women to dream big dreams.

Dream Big Campaign in YYJ Event Details:

  • March 8th, 2017;
  • Doors open at 4:30pm; *Screening at 5pm*; Panel Discussion from 6pm to 6:45pm;
  • University of Victoria – Fraser Building, room 159

Partial proceeds go to Girls Learning to Code events for local High Schools.

*HeartPress PR is a proud partner of the Dream Big Campaign.




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