Female Founders To Watch: Triple Bottom Line Business Entrepreneurs

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This week, we look to some leading ladies in social entrepreneurship.

By Angie Chang (Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief, Women 2.0)

Happy Arbor Day – the day where children plant trees ceremoniously around the country. Today at Women 2.0, we look to Arbor Day as a reminder to look broader at business and innovation.

The double bottom line is a business term used in socially responsible business. Upping the ante, the triple bottom line adds a third component – an awareness and responsibility for the environmental impact as well.

Here are some triple bottom line women entrepreneurs that crossed our radar – let us know who we missed in the comments below:

Heatherjean MacNeil (Founder & CEO, Proxy Apparel)
After helping women start businesses in rural Latin America, Heatherjean started Proxy Apparel to create economic opportunities for women. Follow Heatherjean on Twitter at @proxybird.

Lauren Bush Lauren (Co-Founder & CEO, FEED Projects)
Lauren, through FEED Projects, provided over 65 million school meals to children around the world, through the sale of tote bags. Follow Lauren on Twitter at @laurenbushtweet.

Rachael Chong (Founder & CEO, Catchafire)
Rachel founded Catchafire and won’t rest until every professional can volunteer their skills and every nonprofit has access to skilled volunteers. Follow Rachel on Twitter at @CatchafireCEO.

Rebecca Kousky (Founder & Executive Director, Nest)
Rebecca founded Nest, a nonprofit “micro-barter” organization dedicated to changing the lives of women in developing countries, when she was 24. Follow Rebecca on Twitter at @buildanest.

Saba Gul (Co-Founder & Executive Director, BLISS)
An engineer from MIT, Saba founded BLISS to bring working girls to school via monetary incentives, compensating for wages lost in education. Follow Sala on Twitter at @sabagl.

Shivani Siroya (Founder & CEO, InVenture Fund)
Shivani founded InVenture Fund to provide tech help and affordable capital for micro-businesses to lift themselves and their communities out of poverty. Follow Shivani on Twitter at @shivsiroya.

Siiri Morley (Founding Partner, Prosperity Candle)
Siiri launched Prosperity Candle, a social enterprise that aims to empower women entrepreneurs in regions of conflict. Follow Siiri on Twitter at @siirimorley.

To read more about the social entrepreneurship and triple bottom line businesses, check out Triple Pundit or the Skoll Foundation’s Social Edge. The Next Billion 2.0 provides an interesting lens on the development and implementation of business strategies that open opportunities and improve the lives of the world’s approximately 4 billion low-income producers and consumers (BoP).

As Siiri Morley, Founding Partner at Prosperity Candle says, “We don’t hire women to make candles. We make candles to hire women.”

She explains the three aspects of a triple bottom line business like Prosperity Candle: “The social impact of helping women rebuild their lives and offering them an economic opportunity to earn above a living wage is paramount. The financial impact is what we need to ensure to make our social impact viable (i.e. without selling and profiting from the sale of our candles, we have no means of offering opportunity to women). The environmental impact of our work is something that is less critical from a business point of view, but we see it as a critical part of working responsibly in the world. Environmentally sustainable practices make good economic sense and help us deepen the trust with our customer base.”

Let us know about more female-founded triple bottom line ventures in the comments below!

About the writer: Angie Chang co-founded Women 2.0 in 2006. She currently serves as Editor-In-Chief of Women 2.0 and is working to mainstream women in high-growth, high-tech entrepreneurship. Previously, Angie held roles in product management and web UI design. In 2008, Angie launched Bay Area Girl Geek Dinners, asking that guys come as the “+1″ for once. Angie holds a B.A. in English and Social Welfare from UC Berkeley. Follow her on Twitter at @thisgirlangie.