North America

Priyanka Bakaya

To start, let’s go back to the origins of the name PK Clean. The initials stand for Percy Kean, an Australian inventor who was like an extended member of Priyanka’s family. ‘He was always coming up with new technologies,’ Priyanka recalls. ‘He would show me oil in a jar and say “Look, I made this from waste!”’

Danielle Zurovcik

When Danielle Zurovcik, 32, was a Master’s student at MIT, her class was asked to find a cheap way to bring negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) to populations in Honduras. Danielle became passionate about the project, changing her thesis to develop a solution for it. ‘NPWT is the application of a low vacuum to a wound cavity,’ she explains. ‘Treatment involves filling the wound with gauze, sealing it with tape and applying a vacuum over it, 24 hours a day, seven days a week until typically it heals.’ This can take anything up to four months.

Leslie Meingast

Leslie Meingast is the CEO of The Personnel Department, an award-winning Human Resources Corporation that provides public and private companies Recruiting, Staffing, and Customized HR Solutions.

Since 1980, Leslie has grown The Personnel Department into a global organization which has been named a Best Employer by various institutions. Under Leslie's leadership, the company has also been honoured with the global Growth Award from Women Presidents' Organization.

Ting Shih

When Ting Shih was an MBA student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she was given the challenge of creating a healthcare business that would serve a billion people in the developing world. ‘The key word is people: before you even tackle the issues of the healthcare market, you need to address people’s access to it,’ she explains. ‘In developing countries they have scarce access to healthcare, but they do have mobile phones, and the idea spread from there, and all the way to the developed world too.’

Patricia Compas-Markman

Figures from the Red Cross show the world suffered an average 728 natural disasters each year from 2000 to 2004, more than double the annual rate since 1980. Much of the rise is attributed to climate change – a trend apparently not set to change. Hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, tsunamis… From 1995 to 2005, the OECD reported a threefold increase in the number of deaths provoked by natural disasters, which totalled 249,816. Those not immediately stricken find themselves homeless, helpless, without food or clean water and vulnerable to disease.

Anna Stork

When the world faces disaster, what are the first things people thinkof sending? Food, water, medical supplies, clothing… ‘What about light?’ says Anna Stork, the founder of LuminAID Lab, a bright idea she set up with her business partner, Andrea Sreshta. ‘Conditions once the sun goes down can be very unsafe, especially for women and children. After the earthquake in Haiti, there were many cases of violence, kidnapping and rape. Light is a basic human need, but costs too much to ship and pack as part of disaster relief.’

Peggy Wallace

Peggy Wallace was one of the first investors to join Golden Seeds in 2005. Her deep Wall St experience as a senior investment banker provided institutional quality capabilities in deal structuring, analysis of deal terms, and risk management. Peggy places high value on ethics in business, and she has helped build Golden Seeds' reputation for high quality due diligence and professionalism. In 2007 she joined the management team as Portfolio Manager, and in that role she provides strategic advice to the core group of 18 portfolio companies and/or their Golden Seeds Board representatives.

Benita Singh & Summer Rayne Oakes

What do fashion designers do when they’re looking for fabrics? They visit trade shows, wade through hundreds of sample folders, surf vast online directories… activities which research from Cornell University finds takes up to 85% of their time. ‘That leaves just 15% actually designing, which strikes us as a terrible waste of resources,’ says Summer Rayne Oakes, co-founder with Benita Singh of Source4Style, an online platform and community for materials with a difference: they come exclusively from sustainable and ethical sources.

Meg Wirth

Every 90 seconds, a woman dies in childbirth. ‘That’s 358,000 women a year, the vast majority in developing countries,’ says Meg Wirth, CEO of Maternova, a company she founded to pursue a mission close to her heart: to bring these figures down. To do so she has created a three-dimensional business that meshes information services, products and software tools.

Jeanette Hill

Sometimes the simplest ideas are the ones that end up making the difference, like ballpoint pens, light bulbs, and the device that Spot On Sciences has created to simplify blood testing: HemaSpot. By leveraging advancements in dried blood spot testing, commonly known as DBS, HemaSpot eases the cost and burden of traditional venipuncture needle testing.

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