5 Female Founders Whose Work Will Inspire You
21 March 2018 - Impact Hub

As the UN works toward meeting Sustainable Development Goal 5 (SDG 5), which focuses on gender equality, the Impact Hub community is also working diligently towards the same goal. In fact, the Impact Hub global team is 62% female — including the Executive Director — and 46% of the network is female. Even better? More than 300 members from the Impact Hub network are directly tackling SDG 5.

So we decided we wanted to highlight some of these extraordinary women and the work that they’re doing. Here are some of the top female social entrepreneurs in the Impact Hub network, by region.


Africa & Middle East

Noreen Chenesai Mukora-Mangoma, The Chenesai brand

Noreen Chenesai Mukora-Mangoma is the founder of the Chenesai clothing brand, which empowers women in Zimbabwe’s farming region of Marondera. It’s a region with few economic opportunities, as well as high teenage pregnancy and school dropout rates.

Chenesai is tackling SDG 5 by giving women in the region practical design, sewing and business skills, with a specific focus on traditional African textiles. Their work has already been featured in fashion shows held at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Harare International Festival of Art (HIFA), curated  a fashion show for the Polo Fine and Country Ambassadors Cup 2017 hosted at Bushman Rock, curated a fashion show held at StarFM and showcased at a fashion show in Nairobi, Kenya.


Latin America & Caribbean

Gaby Contreras, Fundación Tapp

Fundación Tapp is a South American NGO founded by social communicator Gabriela Arenas de Meneses that uses “learning through play to promote peace building in families, schools and communities in Latin America.” The organization holds workshops that combine elements of neuroscience, art, and pedagogy to help communities and individuals break longstanding patterns of violence.

“I created the organization to promote peaceful coexistence, generate projects for social development, and ventures that increase the welfare of communities.” says Gabriela, whose work with Tapp earned her an Ashoka Fellowship. She was also a finalist in the Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award of the Schwab Foundation and Venezuela sin Límites Foundation.


North America

Kimberly Bryant, Black Girls Code

Kimberly Bryant founded Black Girls Code as a result of her own experience as a woman of color who became a coder. She was dismayed by the fact that there were so few people who looked like her in her field — so she decided to do something about it.

The result is Black Girls Code, an Oakland-based organization that provides young and pre-teen girls of color with opportunities to learn skills in technology and computer programming. In 2015, Bryant and Black Girls Code were presented by Oprah Winfrey with a $25,000 grant from the Toyota Standing O-Vation award.


Asia Pacific

Thavry Thon, author of A Proper Woman

Thavry Thon was an average girl from a hardworking Cambodian farming family. Against tradition, her parents encouraged and supported her to get an education, going as far as to attend university in Europe.

Thon used that education to write a book about her journey, which she’s now using to inspire other Cambodian girls to go after their dreams. (And, of course, to get an education.) Thon also leads an eco-tourism company called Toursanak, which offers educational adventure travel experiences in Cambodia.



Annemarie Harrant and Bettina Steinbrugger, erdbeerwoche

erdbeerwoche is the first German-language site that aims to raise awareness about sustainable feminine hygiene products — and also sell those products. The site provides great information about menstruation and about menstrual products — including what materials are present that women might not be aware of. They’re also making a change in the Global South, by promoting sustainable hygiene products in parts of the world where women don’t always have access to any feminine hygiene products.

Across the world, women miss work and school when they don’t have access to feminine hygiene products. Companies like erdbeerwoche in Germany and Yoni in The Netherlands are addressing SDG 5 by giving more women more access to more sustainable products.


From fashion to technology to feminine hygiene, women in the Impact Hub network are making a difference. We feel inspired and proud to support their progress and growing impact, and hope their work will inspire you too.

All the above ventures’ work to ensure gender equality are contributing to the following Global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):

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