Women Investing in Women Digital
For championing women entrepreneurs
Anu Bhardwaj is a serial entrepreneur, media expert, and blockchain influencer who got her MBA in from the Stockholm School of Economics and was a Fulbright scholar. Now, she’s using that extensive network to build Women Investing in Women Digital, which is a media platform focusing on global women’s issues, investment, and entrepreneurship. She says the key to all her ventures, including a radio network focusing on issues relevant to women, is hiring a strong team. “When people see that you’re after excellence, that’s when they want to follow, ultimately. It’s not about what you say, it’s about what you do.” –Gabrielle Bienasz
For bringing sustainability and positivity to the business of lingerie
For demonstrating that ecofriendly, affordability, and luxury can all co-exist, beautifully
With so many Americans isolated in their homes this year, more and more people are investing into making their homes a luxury stay-cation. This has especially benefited brands with a strong online presence, like home goods startup Parachute. With a background in marketing and a personal affliction for home design, Ariel Kaye launched the Venice, California-based company in 2014 as an online, direct-to-consumer brand that sold high-end bedsheets and towels.
The company has since grown to have brick-and-mortar stores around the country, and has leaned into the “stay at home” luxury experience, selling products as varied as dog beds to table linens. Most recently, Parachute broke into apparel, launching a line of premium $100 bath robes and loungewear. As a first time founder, Kaye says that her success as a leader is largely rooted in the entrepreneurial community around her. “Being a leader can be a lonely, isolating experience and it's easy to get caught up in what you're doing,” she says. “Community and connection with other founders is essential to surviving the highs and lows and it's such a reciprocal experience to give your time and step out of your world to see what's going on in others.”
The Alinker Inventions
For combining mobility and sociability
BE Alink is CEO of The Alinker Inventions, which makes an alternative mobility bike that allows wheelchair users to walk around with support at eye level. Before that, Alink played bassoon in a band in Amsterdam in the late 80s, led group sessions for drug users at Het Buiten Centrum in the early 90s and was a photographer for the first female member of parliament in Afghanistan, Fawzia Koofi, for a year in 2010. “I’m focused on building the world I want to live in,” Alink says.
To build that world, Alink has oriented the Alinker mission around three pillars the founder sees as the foundation for wellness in society: access to mobility, healthy food, and community. For mobility, there is the Alinker itself—Alink’s walking bike.
This year, Alink launched a farm that employs Alinker users in Grayson County, Kentucky, And through a crowdfunding opportunity to purchase the $1,977 device, an active social media presence, and an online learning platform with Alinker yoga, for example, Alink tries to create community. The founder used crowdfunding to launch the device initially in the Netherlands in 2014 and North America in 2016. Says Alink: “It takes all of us to do this company and to build this community.”-- Gabrielle Bienasz