My Heroes: 8 Female Social Entrepreneurs who make the World a better Place

A piece in honour of International Womens' Day by Author, Social Entrepreneur and GoodTimes Co-Founder Asheem Singh

To coincide with International Womens’ Day 2018 – I wanted to bring readers of GoodTimes this piece, published for Policy Press to coincide with the recent release of  The Moral Marketplace: How Mission-Driven Millennials and Social Entrepreneurs are changing Our World. Here I talk about eight women from across the globe, some well known, some flying below the radar, many of whom feature in the book, who are changing the world through fierce leadership and social entrepreneurship. They are, quite simply, my heroes.

1. Betty Makoni. Betty was a child rape victim in Zimbabwe whose assault was hushed up. She grew up to become a teacher, advocate and researcher and set up the Girl Child Network, which lets girls share their experiences in classroom settings. GCN has spread across Africa worldwide helping tens of millions of girls find their voice and there is even a chapter in Basildon, Essex.

Supermodel Adwoa Aboah recently set up a sassy, online, generation-Z variation on the network called Gurlstalk last year, which we covered for GoodTimes here – check it out.

2. Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, born 1980, is an Ethiopian social businesswoman and inspirational speaker and the founder of SoleRebels, Africa’s fastest growing footwear company. From humble beginnings now supplies 30 countries worldwide, and is ecologically sustainable and ethical in all its production ‘to boot.’

3. Lily Cole is already well known as more than a supermodel. With a double first in history of art from Cambridge University, she has also set up the social enterprise platform Impossible. This year, despite the absurd objections from some craven quarters, she will help lead the celebrations to mark the bicentenary of Emily Bronte’s birth (another pretty amazing woman, tbh). A true renaissance woman.

4. Laura Bates is the British grad who founded the everyday sexism website. A simple blog has become a global movement, the hashtag itself is an icon of our times and a testament to the accessibility and potential of social entrepreneurship in our time. She is the one I look to when young people approach me and ask how they can get involved in social entrepreneurship.

5. Talia Frenkel. A former photojournalist, she now makes condoms and other sanitary products that women in developing countries are not afraid to carry around. One pack purchased here, sees one given free to a vulnerable person in an AIDs danger zone. A wonderfully simply and thoughtful idea.

6. Eden Full. A young woman and an engineering and innovation genius. Just brilliant. When she was 19 years old, Full dropped out of Princeton University to turn her high school science fair project, the SunSaluter, into a global juggernaut. It provides both clean water and electricity for poor communities being as it is a solar panel that tracks the movement of the sun across the sky, making it significantly more energy efficient than sedentary flat panels. It can now be found in 15 countries around the world and Full has no plans of stopping there. Inspiring stuff.

7. Wendy Royskopp. A Princeton grad who realised that quality of teaching was essential to life chances. The social movement she founded, Teach for America, its British counterpart, Teach First and other chapters are revolutionising education.

8. Malala Yousufzai. What more is there to say about Malala? She was oppressed, denied an education. She was butchered, she got up, she spoke out, she won the Nobel prize for peace. She now studies law at Oxford. And still she has so much to give. An enduring inspiration.


This article was first published by Policy Press. The moral marketplace by Asheem Singh is available with 20% discount on the Policy Press website. Order here for just £10.39.


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