Three Women Who Are Building the Future

By Kevin Horek of Building the Future

Here are three recent Building the Future interviews innovative women are leveraging their skills to create positive change across the globe. Each of these conversations touch upon various SOCAP18 themes, including gender lens investing, investing in Africa, and solving global challenges through social entrepreneurship.

1. Toyin Umesiri:  Supporting Sustainable Economic Growth in Africa

Toyin Umesiri is convener of the Trade with Africa Business Summit and CEO of Nazaru, a U.S. based company that facilitates trade between Africa and companies around the globe. Toyin’s experience spans developing technology solutions and global strategy for Apparel Merchandising, Manufacturing, Finance and Controlling, Logistics and Supply Chain for leading brands. She also led the team responsible for designing the Global Sourcing and Supplier Management solutions at Walmart. After over a decade working in corporate America, she made the big leap to full time entrepreneurship to follow her passion for Africa.

2. Marcia Dawood: Gender Lens Investor

Marcia Dawood is a General Partner in MINDSHIFT Capital, which focuses on investing with a gender lens in post-seed early-stage companies in the U.S., Europe and Middle East. She is passionate about narrowing the funding gap for female-led ventures. Marcia is also Managing Director in two angel investment groups, BlueTree Allied Angels in Pittsburgh and Golden Seeds in New York City. Marcia also serves on the Board of the Angel Capital Association (ACA), an organization that represents over 12,000 accredited investor members, 220 angel groups and accredited platforms that have invested in well over 10,000 entrepreneurial companies.

3. Amy Nelson: Lowering the Barriers for Entrepreneurship for All

Amy Nelson joined Venture for America in 2013 and worked her way up to CEO in 2017. Venture for America is a two-year fellowship program for recent college grads who want to work at a startup and create jobs in American cities. Their mission is to create economic opportunity in American cities by mobilizing the next generation of entrepreneurs and equipping them with the skills and resources they need to create jobs. Fellows learn important startup skills at their five-week Training Camp, apply for jobs within a vetted company network, and work for two years as full-time, salaried employees in one of 18 cities. When Fellows are ready to start a company—be it two years after college or ten—VFA has the resources (like a crowdfunding competition, accelerator, and seed fund) to help make that dream a reality. As CEO, Amy is focused on helping lower the barriers to entrepreneurship for all.


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