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The WE Empower UN SDG Challenge is the first-of-its-kind global competition for social entrepreneurs who are advancing the UN Sustainable Development Goals and inspiring entire communities to act to create the world we want by 2030. The WE Empower Challenge honors innovative women leaders from around the world who are pushing the SDGs forward through sustainable business practices and inspiring others to follow suit. The opportunity recognizes their innovative work and provides Awardees with capacity-building training sessions and opportunities to connect with an unparalleled global network to advance their enterprises. This program elevates and showcases the valuable contribution women entrepreneurs and business leaders can make toward the SDGs and solving the world’s greatest challenges. 

In 2022, the WE Empower Challenge Awardees will participate in events surrounding the 77th UN General Assembly as well as connect with renowned business experts from around the world. Awardees will also participate in a dynamic pitch competition, hosted by fashion designer, activist and Vital Voices Board Member Diane von Furstenberg, to present their business for the opportunity to receive a $20,000 grant. 

PROGRAM LEAD PARTNERS

 

Global Innovation Partner 

Equality Accelerator

Challenge Pacesetter

SDG Advocate

2022 WE EMPOWER AWARDEES

Danielle J. Harris

2022 Fellow, Managing Director of Engagement and Innovation, Elemental Excelerator

Danielle J. Harris is the Managing Director of Engagement & Innovation at Elemental Excelerator. Elemental is a new non-profit model for funding climate tech deployment. They are on a mission to redesign the systems at the root of climate change. Breaking down barriers to innovation alongside climate entrepreneurs provides Elemental unique insight into the policy, market, and technology interventions needed to rebuild systems to promote equitable practices, uplift people, and create truly sustainable communities around the world.  

Elemental’s approach to investing in startups is unique because they believe technology is only half the solution, and that the communities in which these technologies are deployed make up the other half. Alongside investment in technology innovation, Elemental also invests in gathering community wisdom from nonprofits, community-based organizations, and government agencies before making funding decisions. We understand that investing in community knowledge will enable us to decarbonize faster, center equitable solutions, and be better investors. 

Danielle J. Harris is a passionate advocate for environmental and racial justice. She believes a more inclusive and collaborative approach is the key to tackling big problems like social inequity and the climate crisis. Her overlapping, and at times contradicting, identities have empowered her to activate unconventional teams that together develop people-centered, innovative solutions. Danielle leads with empathy because an acceptance and understanding of differences will support more equitable social structures and sustainable environments. 

Danielle is a natural at finding Elemental’s audiences; her authenticity, vulnerability and humor captivates and inspires people to reimagine their lives, cities, and society. Over the past five years, Danielle has spoken at over 100 national and international tech, civic and academic forums, promoting equity-focused civic and climate tech innovations. As Managing Director of Engagement & Innovation at Elemental Excelerator, she invigorates individuals’ hearts and minds to achieve an equitable and resilient transition of markets, environments, and neighborhoods in response to the climate crisis.  

Previously, Danielle led Elemental’s mobility strategy as Director of Mobility Innovation, enhancing the breadth and depth as well as founder diversity of the portfolio, ensuring technology solutions relevant to all people’s lived-experiences have an opportunity to thrive in the market. Prior to joining Elemental, Danielle had a nine-year career as a city planner for the City and County of San Francisco where she focused on community engagement and increasing investment in neighborhoods most in need. During this time, she witnessed first-hand the impacts of tech on the communities. This experience led to her shaping the SFMTA’s first Office of Innovation — a unique team rooted in genuine curiosity, collaboration, and inclusion responsible for assessing, piloting and integrating emerging technologies in San Francisco and ultimately facilitating the city’s relationship with private tech companies. 

Harris’ organization supports the following SDGs:

SDG 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

SDG10: Reduced Inequality

SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities)

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United States

Priyanka Srinivas

2022 Fellow, Founder, The Live Green Co.

Priyanka’s entrepreneurial journey began when she co-founded The Live Green Co (TLGC) after the arrival of her little niece, Naina, in 2018. Having to study the nutrition labels more carefully than ever, Priyanka realized what she later described as a “huge gap in the food system” – the absence of entirely clean-label, additive-free foods in the market – and she was motivated to make a change.  

Raised in a household serving whole, fresh, homemade food, Priyanka knew the power and benefits of natural ingredients, which she believed were best captured by her native Indian ancestors. At the same time, she firmly believed that the key to bringing a disruptive change to food production and the food industry was embedded in science and technology. This brought her to the creation of the Live Green Co and CharakaTM – a technology that blends ancestral wisdom of plant nutrition with modern biotech and machine learning to find 100% natural plant-based alternatives to synthetic, processed, and animal-based products.  

Priyanka decided to base her company in Chile due to the heterogeneous population, affectionate culture, and abundant resources for entrepreneurs like herself. The Live Green Co has since been revolutionizing the movement toward a cleaner and more sustainable food industry with its disruptive technology. As the company continues to grow, Priyanka and her team have been expanding into the United States, further establishing themselves as a dominant force in the plant-only food market worldwide.  

Prior to founding TLGC, Priyanka completed both an undergraduate degree and a graduate degree in retail management in India. After graduation, her career took off, and she worked for many major brands both nationally in India and internationally, including Calvin Klein, FCUK, Unilever, and Target.  

While she had never imagined being an entrepreneur, Priyanka quickly dived into the field when The Live Green started. She excelled with pleasing results in various entrepreneurial studies programs in Chile, Mexico, and Berlin, as well as an Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program offered by the Wharton Business School in 2019.  

Priyanka’s perseverance and hard work pushed her to star status in the plant-based food world and as a female leader in the startup landscape. Some of her recognitions include the People’s Choice Award (Sigma Tastech, 2019), Top 10 Startup in 10 years (StartupChile, 2020), Top 10 Food Innovations of Chile (Transforma Alimentos, 2020 & 2021), Women Building the Future (Vegan Women Summit & Impossible, 2021), Female Founder Award (Extreme Tech Challenge, 2021), and Better Life Top 2 (World Food Forum – UN FAO, 2021). In recognition of her achievements, Priyanka has been named one of the 100 Women Leaders of Chile in 2020 and 2021 and was invited to numerous conferences and workshops such as the Falling Walls Science Summit in Berlin, the ftalks Food Summit’21 hosted by KM Zero Food Innovation Hub, and the InvestChile e-Seminar. To this day, Priyanka has made over 5 publications on platforms like TechCrunch and Vegan World Mag, sharing her experience and perspectives on sustainability, entrepreneurship, and gender-equity topics. 

Srinivas’ business supports the following SDGs:

SDG  3: Good Health and Well-being

SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

SDG12: Responsible Consumption and Production

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Chile

Dina Abdul Majeed

2022 Fellow, Founder & CEO, 360Moms

Dina is the founder and CEO of 360Moms; an online bilingual platform and mobile app aimed to revolutionize the digital support offered to mothers. Dina began her career studying graphic design, which led to working in media and advertising agencies including working at Yahoo as (Head of the Creative) in the Middle East and Africa. She has 20 years of experience in online digital solutions, online advertising, branding, and online & offline design. She has held leadership positions for most of her career. Dina is passionate about empowering women, and she’s dedicated to continuing her vision of supporting all mothers digitally regarding their children’s health and wellbeing through “360Moms”, which won several regional and local awards. She lives with her husband, Omar, and her two children in Amman, Jordan. 

Abdul Majeed’s business supports the following SDGs:

SDG 3: Good Health and Well-Being

SDG 5: Gender Equality

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Jordan

Bharti Singh Chauhan

2022 Fellow, Founder & CEO, PraveenLata Sansthan & Carvers India Trades LLP

Bharti Singh Chauhan is a Social Entrepreneur, Founder & CEO of CarversIndia Trades LLP, a For Profit Company & PraveenLata Sansthan, a Not Profit Organization based in Jaipur Rajasthan, that works to empower women and girls across India. Bharti works for the behavioral, social and economic transformation of women and girls through innovative and sustainable solutions in the area of education, health & safety and sustainable livelihood. Her expertise includes spreading awareness about menstruation through Capacity Building Programs, disseminating social myths, and commitment to creating a natural and safe world for women to lead their lives with confidence and happiness. Bharti holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Rajasthan University and is a Fellow from The School for Social Entrepreneur, India. Additionally, she is an Incubate from Niti Ayaog Atal Incubation Centre Banasthali by Government of India. She is the President Awardee Recipient of the 100 Women Achievers of India and is known as the ‘Pad Woman of India’. She is also recognized as an exceptional woman across South Asia by University of California, Berkley and Facebook HQ, Silicon Valley under Tell Her Story. She has been declared a Business Leader in the 50 Under 50 by Business Mint Magazine.  

Bharti had gone through challenges at a young age, she had to drop out of school due to financial constraints, fight for her rights when forced to marry at an early age, and challenged societal myths and taboos. Today, she stands to be a role model for many girls and women who are inspired from her experiences. 

At PraveenLata Sansthan and CarversIndia Trade LLP, Bharti came up with an innovative reusable cloth pad made of bamboo fabric that lasts for more than 5 years as a sustainable product to help women live a hygienic lifestyle. In Jan 2022, the Government of India gave her the opportunity to showcase the Merapad at the Dubai Expo at Indian Pavillion, which was highly praised. 

Bharti has contributed as an Ambassador of the International Girl Rising Campaign, World of Difference by Vodafone Foundation, World Pulse and is a Global Goodwill Ambassador. She has received more than 46 national and international awards including the ICICI Advantage Women award, City Rising Gender Champion Award, and Women in Red. She has contributed to make a difference in lives of more than 1 Million women and girls at the grassroot level through various initiatives with PraveenLata Sansthan and CarversIndia Trade LLP.  

She shares her expertise with various corporations by providing services as an External Member on the Sexual Harassment Committee with JW Marriot Group of Hotels and Fairmount. Bharti provides contributions and support in brand building, mentoring, and social sector development with her experience in grassroots level organizing and stands to be a role model in her country. 

Chauhan’s business supports the following SDGs:

SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being

SDG 5: Gender Equality

SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

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India

Yetunde Ayo Oyalowo

2022 Fellow, Founder, Market Doctors

Yetunde Ayo Oyalowo is the Founder of Market Doctors, a social enterprise creating access to healthcare in the informal sector of Nigeria through mobile clinics and health posts in market locations. They are reducing the “unseen cost” of healthcare – journey times and waiting times – while creating equitable access to healthcare resources.  

Healthcare access for the informal sector is a huge challenge. Many people working in the informal sector earn a daily income where they cannot afford huge healthcare costs. They choose between healthcare, feeding themselves, or income loss. Primary Healthcare Centers [PHC] are far from where they live or work and are only utilized 20% of the time, due to poor services, prescription shortages, and lack of medical personnel for a nation of 200 million people. Market Doctors eliminates the journey time and waiting time of going to health center which comes as a cost to the patient and prevents patients from earning income during that lost time.  

In a country where unemployment rate is around 33% according to studies and the ratio of doctors to patients being 1:5000, Market Doctors had to get innovative by training health agents to act as a connection between patients and medical workers in remote communities. Over 100 health agents have been trained, alongside providing a source of income to 54 doctors, 127 nurses, and 213 administrative staff since its inception. Over the past five years, Market Doctors has had employment of 88 staff and more than 350 volunteers, of which 80% are women. 

Under Yetunde’s leadership, Market Doctors has reached over 120 000 people and conducted over 5,000 first time face to face medical consultations. Within these consultations, there have been 25% measurements in the discovery of high blood pressure amongst patients and 15% of high blood sugar. Market Doctors has executed outreach in nine states of the federation, maintains two clinics outside busy markets, and drives seven mobile clinics to over 180 communities. Market Doctors maintains partnerships with large corporations and big pharmaceutical companies with over 112 partnerships spread across various sectors.   

Oyalowo’s business supports the following SDGs:

SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being

SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

SDG 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goals.

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Nigeria