On International Women’s Day, we had the opportunity to head down to PayPal and participate in their IWD celebrations. Our co-founder, Laina, took the stage and presented about poverty alleviation through women empowerment. She started off with asking us a question - what are we doing, or consuming, that perpetuates poverty? Using the example of fast fashion and fast food, Laina made us stop to think - are we doing more harm than good by consuming the way we do?
She went on to talk about the feminisation of poverty - research has shown that in the vicious cycle of poverty, women tend to have the lower end of the stick and they suffer the most. However, at the same time, women hold the key to poverty reduction (World Bank, 2012). The impact of income is better amplified in the hands of the mothers where it is spent on child health, nutrition and education (UNDP, 2010). In the economy, women entrepreneurs bring in 20% more revenue with 50% less money invested than their male counterparts (Kauffman Foundation). It is evident that investing in women is the smart solution to alleviating poverty and improving economies.
Laina then introduced the concept of social businesses - businesses that create a positive social impact above profit generation. Inspired by Muhammad Yunus’ revolutionary book, Creating a World Without Poverty - Social Business and the future of Capitalism, Laina started Angels of Impact along with Audrey Tan, our other co-founder. It is Angels of Impact’s ethos that women are at the forefront of social businesses, and that women hold the solution to poverty alleviation and betterment of society. The Social Enterprises (SEs) that we have onboarded so far also fit this ethos, where our SEs tackle the feminisation of poverty at its root, and bring about capacity building and sustainable practices to the communities they impact.
Laina raised a few examples of our SEs to drive home the point. She first brought up Krakakoa, a beans-to-bar artisanal chocolate brand started by ex-McKinsey consultant, Ms. Sabrina Mustopo, to tackle the problems within Indonesia's chocolate sector. Through working with farmers in Lampung, Indonesia, on improving farming practices and paying them prices beyond Fairtrade minimum, Sabrina was able to increase productivity of these farms multi-fold.The farmers that Krakakoa has worked with have also seen their incomes increase by 20%-30% due to an improvement in productivity levels.
Laina also introduced Torajamelo, a fashion/textile social enterprise started by Ms. Dinny Jusuf to rejuvenate the weaving culture of Indonesia. Torajamelo aims to offer livelihood to young girls who otherwise would be working overseas as sex workers or migrant workers. Her efforts have helped to restore the weaving culture of Toraja, Indonesia, and the fashion pieces of Torajamelo have been featured on international platforms. More people are getting to know the weaving techniques unique to Toraja, and Torajamelo has succeeded in bringing local culture to the global market.