Girls, Ladies, Women and rock stars – let’s do this!!! I love putting on my heels, rolling up my sleeves and helping accelerate the increasingly powerful role that women play in driving global economic growth and advocate for the importance of putting technology towards social change. Women share a unique approach to business. Do you know women (you) are using innovative technology to reach customers and utilize data in unprecedented ways to make a positive impact on people and the planet?
Dell and Cosmopolitan (Cosmo) Magazine partnered to host a contest to find and honor a few of the rock star women who are starting businesses with both a financial and social profit. I love women who put purpose into profit. The contest asked women to write about a business they’ve started, its social good impact, and how they are using technology to solve their greatest business challenges. The submission with the most creativity of vision, articulation of idea and feasibility was offered a trip to attend the 7th Annual Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network Summit in Cape Town, South Africa, where women can explore how they can grow and scale their businesses in tangible ways through keynotes, panel discussions, interactive breakouts, workshops and community engagement.
While there were many strong candidates, Sierra Twachtman’s aerial yoga business, Fly Yoga Studio, grabbed our attention with its scalable business plan, unique customer base and mission to promote health, wellness and body acceptance for women. Sierra discovered aerial yoga at the age of 13, but it wasn’t until July 17th, 2015 that she opened her own studio in East Greenbush, New York. In her first year of business, Fly Yoga Studio has far surpassed all of Sierra’s expectations, which she credits entirely to leveraging technology to promote her business on social media. When offering advice to other entrepreneurs, Sierra emphasized that nobody will care about your business like you do, and you can dream, but you must start somewhere. In her own words, “The dream is free, and the hustle is sold separately.”
Additionally, Dell selected five finalists who met the stated criteria and have started businesses that are using technology for good. The finalists were all given Dell XPS Gold laptops to help run their business. The entrepreneurs and their businesses include:
- WomanCast by Janice Kovach: Women do not always have the money network that men do and have a harder time asking for it. WomenCast is intended to change the playing field and give women a non-traditional opportunity to raise money and grow as candidates.
- HOPE by Jordyn Schara: Through the non-profit organization HOPE (Helping Our Peers Excel), Jordyn created WI P2D2 (Wisconsin Prescription Pill and Drug Disposal) and has started 10+ drug collection programs, hosted a flu shot clinic, a free sharps disposal and a free mercury thermometer swap, raised over $40,000, and has helped keep over 1,500,000 pounds of drugs across the country out of the hands of young children and teens
- Virtual Vaksen by Denise Windley: Virtual Vaksen harnesses the visceral and intellectual power of the arts for social good. Focused largely on Haiti, Virtual Vaksen facilitates action for sustainable and equitable change through photographic images, art, music, film, and, soon, empathy building programs in virtual reality. Their mission is to bridge the gap between donors and change makers with underserved populations and build a positive reality for all.
- ReJuve by Wanona Satcher: ReJuve is a nonprofit urban design lab that develops a systems approach to connect resources, catalyze opportunity and mobilize low-wealth communities to generate equitable solutions. They inspire and uplift low-wealth communities through innovative urban design strategies that revolutionize engagement between citizens, government and private enterprise around the globe.
- Giving Matters by Chris McLeod: GIVING MATTERS INC is a boutique advisory firm dedicated to helping entrepreneurs, athletes and musicians develop and translate their ambitious vision for change into reality. They identify high performing nonprofit partners and negotiate agreements to build an effective platform for their clients’ voice/brand.
To join the conversation at the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network Summit in Cape Town next week, follow @DellInnovators and #DWEN. We welcome you to share how you are working to leave a #legacyofgood either with your business or personally below!
Follow Elizabeth Gore, Dell's Entrepreneur-in-Residence on Twitter @ElizabethGore