Intel recently supported “She Will Innovate,” a contest organized by Ashoka and Changemakers. The three winners of the competition are social entrepreneurs whose endeavors improve opportunities for women and girls to access health information, education and economic opportunity.
The winners included Hesperian Health Guides, creators of a health app that provides potentially life-saving information about pregnancy and birth to women.
A start up called iSaveaGirl was also recognized for their Facebook-powered web application aimed to enable the anonymous reporting of female foeticide in India, where a strong preference for male children still persists despite legal efforts to quell the trend. The endeavor represents a novel employment of crowdsource technology to combat a pressing social issue. This is known as viral philanthropy. The growing trend is evident in successful project-funding platforms like kickstarter and indiegogo.
Women at the Helm
Successful women social entrepreneurs rely on networking to support their cause. The “She Will Innovate” winners all rely on communications technology to accelerate change.
On another front, Forbes Magazine ran a feature this year detailing the endeavors of 5 powerful women changing the world through social entrepreneurship related to empowering women through innovations in finance.
Women leaders are also emerging in the fields of healthcare and health technology. Rock health, an incubator for health technology startups, featured several women in their 2012 conference who are developing projects in the field of digital health. The projects range from web-based platforms for health information and discussion to product-linked sites like Cardiio which involve turning smartphones into biosensors.
Social Entrepreneurship in Healthcare
The practices of women’s healthcare can be dramatically altered through the innovations of social entrepreneurs in tandem with technological developments. The trends in social entrepreneurship in women’s healthcare are moving towards improving connectivity. By connecting communities facing similar problems, novel solutions emerge.
A notable example of social entrepreneurship in the field of is Genomera, (“the Facebook of health science”)–a startup with a crowd-sourcing approach to creating health studies and citizen-based data gathering. Here we see the trend of redistributing power in healthcare towards citizens, improving transparency.
Lucine Biotechnology also values the citizen-based approach and aims to connect women who are ready to take charge of their own hormonal health.
Social Entrepreneurship Resources
- Ashoka is a thinktank supporting global social entrepreneurship and harnessing the power of the citizen sector.
- The Skoll Foundation is a leader in cultivating social entrepreneurship worldwide and supports organizations that “disrupt the status quo and transform our world for the better.”
- This PBS article on social entrepreneurship is a good general introduction.
- Ashoka has compiled this list of top websites as resources for women social entrepreneurs.