International Women’s Day 2018 has arrived and Futurpreneur Canada is joining the world in celebrating the social, economic and cultural achievements of women across the globe.

This celebration is also a call-to-action to accelerate gender parity. This year, the International Women’s Day (IWD) organization launched the #PressForProgress campaign— “a strong call to motivate and unite friends, colleagues and whole communities to think, act and be gender inclusive.”

With this in mind, Futurpreneur is extending this invitation by celebrating the women we have supported over the years that have ‘pressed for progress’ in their own communities or around the world.

Here are six female entrepreneurs that are not only doing what they love while supporting social causes and making a real impact in the world.

 1. Alyssa Bertram, founder of Easy Period

 

International Women's Day

Before launching her business, Alyssa found that most tampons, pads and liners in the market were made in a harmful way. Easy Period delivers 100% organic and unbleached cotton feminine hygiene products to their subscribers’ doors every three, six or 12 months.

Menstruation and feminine hygiene products are still a taboo conversation to this day but Easy Period’s #PressforProgress is working towards eliminating the stigma. Alyssa’s business also makes a difference by donating 5% of every order’s profits to ZanaAfricana—an organization dedicated to providing pads and health education to girls in Kenya.

2. Bobbi Paidel, founder of Tribe of Lambs

International Women's Day

Tribe of Lambs is a unisex jewelry and clothing brand that designs and produces its products ethically in India. During her travels, Bobbi was made aware of the continuing epidemic of HIV+ children in India and wanted to make a difference.

The unique and high-quality pieces not only add a finishing touch to any outfit, but a portion of the proceeds from every order goes towards the brand’s current passion project. The last project focused on how HIV+ children still face prejudice when enrolling in school.

Bobbi and her team #PressForProgress to ensure that children aren’t losing out on an education based on discrimination. Tribe of Lambs was able to provide 48 children affected by HIV with tuition for their education.

3. Brianne Miller, founder of NADA

International Women's Day

The food and grocery industries often add to the ongoing destructive behaviours of food waste and plastic pollution. NADA, Vancouver’s first zero-waste food market, has customers bring their own containers when shopping. The pay-what-you-weigh system produces less food waste and eliminates unnecessary packaging by utilizing reusable containers.

Not only does Brianne Miller, founder and CEO, #PressForProgress by contributing to local community organizations, she also has a team of empowered women leading the NADA business and cause.

4. Merichel Diaz Fuentes Mora, founder of Maya Mia

Taking care of your skin does not always mean piling on a mountain of expensive creams and serums. Oftentimes, high-quality, simple ingredients can be more effective than unnatural fragrances and other harmful chemicals.

Maya Mia focuses on what the earth has to offer. Their soaps are all made by founder Merichel Diaz Fuentes Mora. Originally from Mexico, Merichel wanted her business to be as ethical as possible.

Maya Mia handmade soaps #PressForProgress by supporting the isolated Mayan beekeeping community through a Fairtrade business partnership, which benefits working women by offering better pay and childcare opportunities. The Mayan honey-enriched soaps were started by a woman who wanted more for her future and for the community that continues to inspire her.

5. Mai Eilia, Founder of Magnum Construction

International Women's Day

Labour and skilled trades are typically male-dominated industries and it’s not common to see women at the forefront of construction companies. Mai Eilie’s #PressForProgress is founding Magnum Construction despite the stereotypes and assumptions that many women face in the industry.

“To be honest, it has been a journey,” Eilie says. “It’s a man’s world but it gives you thicker skin. I wouldn’t have imagined in my whole life, a Syrian woman like myself, becoming a well-known contractor in Vancouver.”

From drywall, to interior design, Magnum Construction focuses on delivering a high quality product to customers with any budget. Eilie is a female entrepreneur with a variety of skill sets that enabled her to pierce through the market. Her success has been extraordinary. Since landing in Canada not too long ago as a Syrian refugee, Eilie has built a future for herself and her family in British Columbia.

6. Gelaine Santiago, co-founder of Cambio and Co.

International Women's Day

Cambio Market defines empowerment as you. While the world works in many ways to capitalize on the labour of the less empowered, Gelaine Santiago and her co-founder (and partner) Jérȏme Gagnon-Voyer, started this business to bring artisanal products from the Philippines and around the world to Canadian consumers.

Gelaine and Jérȏme, “discovered a vibrant community of ethical enterprises combatting poverty and inequality,” during their trip to the Philippines. This inspired them both to start a project that would empower the community they had met.

Gelaine’s #PressforProgress provides these artisans, many women, with a platform to sell their craft internationally. Cambio Market features original bags, jewelry and clothing from these various designers.

As you can see, Canadians have a lot to celebrate today. Happy International Women’s Day 2018!

Written by: Sara Pivato, Social Media & Content Coordinator, Futurpreneur Canada

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