Meet the Female Entrepreneurs Powering the Green Transition
Priya Selvaraj, a German entrepreneur and founder of Naturblatt (LeafCulture), knows it needs curative and creative iteration for a business idea to be viable.
Selvaraj was one of nine finalists named among the most promising green projects for the first edition of the WomenEntrepreneurs4Good initiative, a new accelerator program to equip women entrepreneurs and minority women’s enterprises with unique resources and capabilities to innovate and grow businesses aligned with the European Green Deal strategy.
As part of the program, more than 200 female entrepreneurs representing over 60 green projects participated in dedicated workshops and conducted customer research to explore the demand for their products and services, improving their business models. This initial phase was followed by two intense days of StartUp Design Sprint where these entrepreneurs presented their research, honed their ideas, and finalized their pitches for a pre-jury.
“WomenEntrepreneurs4Good has been a steppingstone for us to realize our potential and reap the benefits of our thought process,” Selvaraj said. “The final pitch to the esteemed jury was the culmination of our efforts, and we are glad to be among the final selection for incubation.”
Italian entrepreneur Camilla Carrara, founder of ZEROBARRACENTO, said the WomenEntrepreneurs4Good initiative was a huge opportunity for her company.
“It will give us the chance to professionally scale up our business while staying true to our zero-waste commitment and values,” Carrara said. “We truly can't wait for the next steps of this exciting path.”
In partnership with Procter & Gamble and HEC Paris, the Women’s Forum for the Economy & Society launched the WomenEntrepreneurs4Good initiative in March 2021, with an aim to provide immediate support for female entrepreneurs during the pandemic, and foster creativity and innovation to drive the green transition in Europe.
P&G has sponsored the initiative as part of P&G’s global commitment to supporting and championing women entrepreneurs and fostering green innovation. Fares Sayegh, Senior Vice President Europe and Global Supply Network Operations at Procter & Gamble, said he is thrilled that the accelerator program will enable these nine promising businesses to grow.
“My colleagues and I very much look forward to mentoring these incredible entrepreneurs,” Sayegh said. “Alongside our partners, we aspire to see this programme grow in scale and impact so we can create a diverse and dynamic ecosystem of entrepreneurs to drive the green transformation.”
The nine finalists will immerse themselves into a five-month incubator program, which offers tailor-made business coaching, networking opportunities, technical support, connections and access to an ecosystem of stakeholders and global partners with a variety of resources and business opportunities.
To learn more about the WomenEntrepreneurs4Good initiative, visit https://www.womenentrepreneurs4good.com/.
Meet all nine finalists of the WomenEntrepreneurs4Good
BugSafe - Marie-Noelle Sarocchi
BugSafe was founded with the aim of bringing new solutions to the growing problem of bedbugs. Its first product is a chemical-free, permanent and innovative device that will help victims take back control and reduce environmental, psychological and financial impacts.
The founders of the project Marie-Noëlle Sarocchi and Louis Gerondeau say: “WE4G has been an intense and perfectly orchestrated journey. The sprint skillfully led us to refocus our project around customer issues and expectations. Fine-tuning our deck and presenting our project to a jury as prestigious as the WE4G Grand Jury was a great milestone in the young history of BugSafe. WE4G is a unique opportunity to accelerate our growth and we are delighted to participate in the program and build on this momentum.”
Jungle Bike - Alice Battarel
Jungle Bike is the new bike equipment site that makes life easier for cyclists by allowing them to customize and repair their bike in a few clicks without being a mechanical ace.
Thanks to the online shop, you will find the right parts for your bike at the best price, as well as advises on how to repair it and ideas on how to customize it.
Founder Alice Battarel says: “My experience in the WomenEntrepreneurs4Good made me benefit from precious and positive feedback on Jungle Bike. In fact, the feedback given by the high standard jury was detailed and highly relevant. Moreover, I am convinced that being a member of the incubator will allow me to bring Jungle Bike to the next level. This program has also given me the incredible opportunity to access a network of highly skilled women entrepreneurs! I look forward to see this community grow and prosper.”
Les Enfants Dehors - Adriane Van der Wilk
Les Enfants Dehors is an ecological Third Place, offering a green and flexible space to co-work, socialize, eat and drink organic and local while the kids play and explore outside and acquire skills to become the drivers of the fight against climate change. It is a coffee-shop with co-work & co-play areas serving organic and locally sourced food and drinks for kids and adults and curated local & sustainable objects & products, a natural play area, school gardens, science classes, beehives and an eatable forest, and shared workshops for artists & makers exploring the links between nature, science and sustainability.
The founders of the project say: “The experience with WomenEntrepreneurs4Good has boosted our self-confidence and validated our belief in the business we intend to launch. This is of great value, especially for me as a woman founder.”
Loewi - Elisa Wallez—Dulieu
Loewi is the first platform dedicated to refurbished electric mobility: it allows everyone to find an electric mobility device with the same guarantees and the same quality as a new product, but at the price of a second-hand one. The project enables e-mobility users to give a second life to their used device by refurbishing it. Its ambition is twofold: to save thousands of devices from the trash, but also make E-mobility more accessible.
Founder Elisa Wallez—Dulieu says: “The WE4G program is a golden opportunity to meet project leaders from different backgrounds and with various personal stories. I’m very pleased to join a community of determined and brilliant women, where mutual assistance is at the heart of the exchanges.”
Naturblatt (LeafCulture) - Priya Selvaraj
The project aims to reduce the plastic usage with sustainable natural leaf-based alternatives with least processing, while providing livelihood to many women micro-entrepreneurs from rural areas. Naturblatt provides wide range of food service disposables, future packing solutions and bio-degradable solutions to the retail and food service industry.
Priya Selvaraj, founder of Naturblatt, says: “As an entrepreneur, any business idea however viable it is, needs a curative and creative iteration. WomenEntrepreneurs4Good has been a steppingstone for us to realize our potential and reap the benefits of our thought process. The final pitch to the esteemed jury was the culmination of our efforts and we are glad to be among the final selection for incubation.”
Umains - Elodie Özen
With Umains, retailers can quickly save all of their products (unsold, defective, waste), by having only one interlocutor who ensures: local reuse proposals, logistics (with solidarity and inclusive actors) and traceability.
Founder Elodie Özen says: "This experience quickly brought us forward on structuring elements for the project. Despite the distance, we felt a real positive energy and sharing between the participants."
WeCo - Cécile Dekeuwer
Considering that more than 141 billion liters of fresh water are used globally each day for toilet flushing, WeCo creates the first eco-friendly, innovative and off-grid Water-Recycling Eco Toilets (WRET). All excrements are recycled on site into treated water for flushing and watering green areas. We are developing the ecological toilets of the future for the B2G clients like the sustainable cities, and together with Alstom a plug & play industrial system ready to be connected to the public toilets of trains.
The founder of the project Cécile Dekeuwer says: “It was enjoyable and stimulating to work together a whole active week-end with HEC coaches and other great women entrepreneurs from all other the world.”
Yugen Earthside - Hilary Matson
Yūgen Earthside is a booking platform that offers sustainable, ready-made, self-guided, private, and small-group trips at a mid-range price point. Additionally, travelers will find free informational resources, our Earthsider Eco-Shop containing a curated selection of zero-waste travel products, and sustainable travel insurance on our platform. Yugen Earthside is a registered Social Purpose Corporation and donates a percentage of profits to sustainable tourism development projects aligned with the UN SDGs.
Hilary Matson, founder of Yugen Earthside, says: “Participating in the WE4G program has been nothing short of amazing. We came out of the sprint with better insights and clarity about our customers, their problems, and how we can help be part of the solution in a sustainable way. We can’t wait to see what progress we make over the next several months!”
Zerobarracento - Camilla Carrara
Z.W.A.F.M. by ZEROBARRACENTO is the acronym of Zero Waste Automated Fashion Manufacturing. MAKING GARMENT IS MAKING WASTE, with the zero-waste pattern making technique, we can bring this waste to zero. The project works to develop a technology to allow automated cutting, involving both hardware and software. The final goal is not only about scaling up the ZEROBARRACENTO’s production by using this system but also presenting it to brands that are looking for new sustainable strategies to integrate in their daily work.
Founder Camilla Carrara says: “Being part of this project is a huge opportunity for us, it will give us the chance to professionally scale up our business while staying true to our zero-waste commitment and values. We truly can't wait for the next steps of this exciting path.”