Their Mission: Empower Women Everywhere

Filling the darkness in rural villages across India. Bringing sustainable jewelry from Colombia to the world.

Savitha Sridharan MBA’14 and Angela Sanchez MBA’11 are two entrepreneurs united by one extraordinary mission—to empower women everywhere to create a better future for themselves, their families, and their communities.

They are two of many Babson entrepreneurs who have created an international ripple effect, creating worldwide social and economic value. Bringing a mission, vision, and entrepreneurial mindset with them to the Babson MBA, each of these founders left with the tools and support they needed to impact the lives of women around the world.

Socially and Environmentally Responsible Jewelry

Angela Sanchez MBA’11 was brought up in Bogotá, Colombia, by two entrepreneurial parents who owned and operated successful rebar and hardware companies. As Sanchez grew older, her parents envisioned a future in which their daughter would become their successor. Attending Pontifical Xavierian University to earn a degree in civil engineering, Sanchez’s entrepreneurial path had been laid out clearly in front of her. But, soon after graduation, a drug trafficking crisis escalated throughout Colombia and created economic instability, forcing her family to close the business.

It was time for a new plan.

Seeking an entrepreneurial future, she set her sights on Babson College. “I was immediately drawn to Babson’s entrepreneurially focused MBA program because it felt like home,” said Sanchez. “Having grown up in an entrepreneurial household, it just made sense to me.”

She finished her MBA with a desire to start a business in the construction industry.  Instead, she co-founded a company in health care high tech with two Babson friends. When that business failed, she was looking to start something new but lacked an idea. Her aha moment came when she realized she’d been wearing her business opportunity all along. People always asked about the brightly colored jewelry she wore. Made from seeds, berries, and other natural ingredients, the pieces had been created by women artisans in Colombia. Each time she returned home, Sanchez would spend time talking to these women and supporting their businesses by buying jewelry for herself, her friends, and her family.

“I’ve always loved fashion,” she said. “I just never seriously considered launching a business in such a saturated and competitive space.”

She launched Artyfactos in 2015. After completing the Women Innovating Now (WIN) Lab® as a Babson alumna, Sanchez’s distribution skyrocketed and Artyfactos found a home in 90 boutiques worldwide (including Macy’s) with plans to expand.

“I am proud that I am able to help create jobs for women in Colombia who didn’t have the same exposure and opportunities as I did. In fact, one of my artisans just purchased her first home and to me … that means everything.”

Powering Communities, Empowering Lives

Savitha Sridharan MBA’14 grew up in Bangalore, India, and launched her journey at Babson with one specific mission: help women in India find meaningful work and financial freedom.

In 2014, with the help of the Women Innovating Now (WIN) Lab and the Lewis Institute for Social Innovation, she launched Orora Global, a social enterprise that builds truly sustainable communities using affordable renewable energy. At first, Sridharan utilized her electrical and computer engineering degrees to develop an affordable solar product that would increase access to energy in the rural areas of India. Six years later, Orora Global transformed into something more impactful. Now, she and her team train local women in solar engineering to design and build the solar products themselves, creating new employment opportunities and financial independence, while bringing immediate sustainable solutions to over 250,000 people.

Her entrepreneurial dreams continue to expand with plans to scale and grow globally, creating more jobs and financial independence for women around the world. “Right now, our engineers are working to create solar-powered products for garment making in India, called the Orora Power Hub.” This kind of clean technology has the power to provide necessary platforms to develop innovative solutions for education, healthcare, telecom, water, and more, impacting the triple bottom line in sustainability and allowing Savitha to achieve the very vision she brought with her to Babson.

 

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