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Celebrating Asian Female Founders: Inspiration on International Women’s Day and Beyond

Every year on March 8th, we celebrate International Women’s Day, a day to acknowledge the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women worldwide. Last year, we celebrated 25 Inspirational Asian American & Canadian Women. This year, we want to shine a light on a specific group of inspiring individuals: Asian female founders making a positive impact through their early-stage businesses.

Their stories are not only testaments to their resilience and entrepreneurial spirit, but also serve as powerful inspiration for others, especially those who may not have considered entrepreneurship a possibility. Sharing their journeys can help foster a more inclusive and diverse landscape within the business world, paving the way for future generations.

Just like myself, I never anticipated becoming a business owner. Before Joeydolls, I believed the only option was the traditional path of working long hours for someone else, a path that ultimately felt unfulfilling and disconnected from my true self. But then, the dream of Joeydolls emerged, and with it, the realization that I could carve my own path and create something meaningful.

Joeydolls, a company I founded, is driven by the mission to celebrate the diverse ethnicities and cultures within Asia through a line of dolls. Witnessing the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes during the pandemic fueled my desire to create something that would help foster pride and self-acceptance in my daughter’s generation. Existing doll options often perpetuated harmful stereotypes and lacked the richness and diversity that truly reflects the Asian community. Joeydolls strives to fill this gap, not only with the dolls themselves, but by sparking conversations about racism, colorism, and the importance of inclusivity from a young age.

As I mentioned, my journey as a female founder has been incredibly rewarding. It has pushed me outside my comfort zone, taught me invaluable skills, and allowed me the independence to make decisions and pursue my dreams. But most importantly, it allows me to contribute to a cause I deeply care about – creating a more inclusive and diverse world for future generations. This is particularly meaningful for me as a mother, shaping the future I envision for my children.

Now, let’s meet five other exceptional Asian female founders who are making waves in their respective fields:

1. Miriama Au-Young, Co-founder of Reemi (New Zealand): Miriama Au-Young co-founded Reemi, a social enterprise creating reusable period products with a focus on sustainability and accessibility. Their self-disinfecting, natural fiber products are not only environmentally friendly but also address the issue of period poverty by directing profits towards health education initiatives and providing culturally appropriate period products for garment workers in Bangladesh. Reemi’s success story includes raising funds through Kickstarter as well as receiving investments from human rights organizations and collaborating with research institutions, demonstrating their commitment to social impact and innovation.

 


2. Michelle Zhu, Co-founder and CEO of Huue (USA): Michelle Zhu is the co-founder and CEO of Huue, a biotech startup developing sustainable dyes for various industries. Recognizing the environmental damage caused by traditional dyeing processes, particularly in the iconic indigo blue used for denim, Huue aims to revolutionize the industry with their biosynthetic alternative. Their product offers a five times lower toxicity potential compared to chemical indigo, ensuring a positive impact on both environmental and human health.

 

 

3. Myra Arshad, CEO and Co-Founder of ALT TEX (Canada): Myra Arshad, inspired by her family’s background in textiles, founded ALT TEX to address the environmental and ethical issues plaguing the fashion industry. Her company creates sustainable textiles from re-engineered food waste, offering a viable alternative to traditional, resource-intensive materials. This innovative approach has already secured significant funding, allowing ALT TEX to further develop its technology and expand its reach. Myra’s advice to aspiring entrepreneurs highlights the importance of tackling substantial problems and pursuing positive impact through innovative solutions.

 

 

4. Karen Yip, Founder and CEO of Choro (Canada): Karen Yip, the founder and CEO of Choro, created a digital platform connecting seniors with helpers for companionship and home assistance. Choro addresses a critical need within the community, especially with the rising issues of elder abuse and neglect. Their platform facilitates meaningful connections and ensures the safety and well-being of vulnerable individuals. Karen’s dedication and the success of Choro serve as an inspiration for utilizing technology to address social challenges and foster positive community engagement.

 

 

5. Miyoko Schinner, CEO and Founder of Miyoko’s Kitchen (USA): Miyoko Schinner, a pioneer in the plant-based food movement, founded Miyoko’s Kitchen. With decades of experience in the culinary world, Schinner leverages her expertise to create delicious and sustainable alternatives to dairy products. Her plant-based cheese and butter use significantly fewer natural resources compared to their dairy counterparts, demonstrating a commitment to environmental responsibility. Additionally, Miyoko’s Kitchen prioritizes social justice and animal welfare within its operations, making it a leader in the sustainable and ethical food industry.

 

 

These six remarkable Asian female founders represent just a glimpse of the incredible talent and dedication present within the entrepreneurial landscape. Their diverse ventures, spanning social impact, sustainability, technology, and food, showcase the multifaceted contributions of women to the global economy and society as a whole. As we celebrate International Women’s Day, let us not only acknowledge their achievements, but also strive to create a world where all individuals, regardless of gender or background, have the opportunity to pursue their ambitions and make a positive impact on the world.

The Road to Success: Perseverance in the Face of Challenges

The journeys of these Asian female founders are not without their challenges. Systemic barriers, unconscious bias, and the pressure to conform to traditional expectations can create obstacles for women, particularly those of color, in the business world. However, their stories are testaments to the immense perseverance, commitment, and drive that these women possess. They have navigated these challenges with courage, resourcefulness, and a deep belief in their ideas.

Inspiration for the Next Generation

These remarkable Asian female founders serve as powerful role models for aspiring entrepreneurs, especially those who may not have seen themselves represented in leadership positions. Their stories demonstrate that with passion, perseverance, and a desire to make a difference, anyone can create positive change. We are witnessing a new generation of Asian female founders who are not only breaking barriers but also redefining what it means to be a successful entrepreneur.

Social Impact Matters: Why These Founders Inspire Me

Social impact matters a lot to me, and making a positive change in the world is a driving force behind everything I do. This is why I find the stories of these Asian female founders so inspirational. They are not only building successful businesses, but they are also using their platforms to address important social and environmental issues. Their dedication to making a difference is truly commendable, and it motivates me to continue pursuing my own goals with a similar sense of purpose.

Let’s Celebrate and Support
As we celebrate International Women’s Day, let’s not only recognize the achievements of these incredible women, but also embrace the opportunities to learn from them, support their endeavors, and advocate for a more inclusive business landscape. By investing in women-led businesses, mentoring aspiring female entrepreneurs, and dismantling unconscious bias, we can empower the next generation of Asian female founders to change the world.

Together, we can create a world where all individuals, regardless of gender or background, have the chance to thrive and pursue their dreams.

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