Disruptive Entrepreneurs for Social ChangeVIEW EVENT DETAILS
Over a decade ago, Asia Society initiated its Asia 21 Next Generation network, to encourage mutual understanding and effective collaboration among the next generation’s most important and influential leaders, in the Asia-Pacific. The network now comprises around 1,000 fellows from over 40 countries and various sectors. The Asia 21 fellows, many of them now in leading positions across business, non-profits, media and the arts, practice values-based leadership to create social impact and contribute to a better future.
The South Asia community in the Asia 21 network may be geographically dispersed but they are united by what are often common challenges: from unemployment and wealth inequality to the disproportionate impacts of climate change. In this year of India's G20 presidency, the Indian Merchants' Chamber's Youth Conclave 2023 focuses on South Asia, bringing together young leaders who can bridge borders through their work and solve problems collaboratively - drawing on the region’s vibrant start-up ecosystem, its human capital, and its geopolitical place in the world.
This panel brings together Asia 21 Next Generation Fellows from South Asia to talk about disruptive entrepreneurship, and how they, as leaders in their fields, are using their unique entrepreneurial ventures to solve pressing social problems in the region, including health, digital access and safety, and livelihoods and education, in an increasingly interconnected South Asia. Drawing on their own experiences, they will highlight the range of efforts that are being made towards solving the largest region's reigning social challenges and the transformative role entrepreneurship plays in addressing them. The panellists will highlight the opportunities and successes in their journeys, as well as how to transcend private-public sectoral limitations, and geographical restrictions, to build a thriving community of leaders across South Asia.
Join our panellists and Asia 21 Fellows Suhani Jalota (India), founder, Myna Mahila Foundation; Chevaan Daniel (Sri Lanka), group director, Capital Maharaja Group, and leader of rural inclusion initiative Gammadda; and Freshta Karim (Afghanistan), founder of Charmaghz as they unpack these ideas. The conversation will be moderated by Aarti Wig (India), Asia 21 Fellow and one of the co-founders of Yunus Social Business India.
Suhani Jalota is the founder of Myna Mahila Foundation, a women’s health and employment organization in slum communities in India with a reach of 1 million+ women. She is a Knight Hennessy Scholar completing her MBA and PhD in labor and gender economics at Stanford University. Through her research, she founded an employment initiative for women, Rani Jobs, a smartphone-based platform that provides women with micro-tasking jobs from home. For the last eleven years, she has been working in urban slum areas and rural communities on projects ranging from adolescent girl health, water and sanitation, to social protection policies in South Africa, Thailand, and several cities in India. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics and Global Health from Duke University. She is a Forbes Asia 30 under 30 recipient, Hindustan Times 30U30, Asia 21 Leader, Young Achiever’s Mother Teresa Memorial Awardee, and Queen’s Young Leader. She most enjoys spending time with girls to mentor or encourage them to achieve their full potential.
Freshta Karim is an Afghan child rights activist. In 2018, she founded Charmaghz, a Kabul-based NGO dedicated to promoting literacy among children by creating educational spaces on buses turned into mobile libraries. Since 2018, Charmaghz has welcomed over half a million child visitors to its libraries, and currently hosts 40K children per month in Kabul, making Charmaghz the most visited library in the country. Freshta has been honoured as one of the BBC's 100 influential women in 2021, in Forbes 30 Under 30, as a Young Global Leader for the World Economic Forum, and an Asia 21 Young Leader by Asia Society. She started her career at the age of 12, hosting children's TV shows in Afghanistan. Since then, she has continued to devote her time to working for children’s rights in Afghanistan. She completed her master's degree in Public Policy at the University of Oxford.
Chevaan Daniel heads Sri Lanka’s largest media organization, the 7-Channel News 1st Network, and he also heads Gammadda, the grassroots movement that operates across thousands of Sri Lankan villages. Chevaan is a Fulbright Scholar and an Eisenhower Global Fellow. He sits on the Global Advisory Board of The Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Studies at Brown University, where he is also visiting faculty.
Aarti Wig is the Head of Future Thinking at Yunus Social Business Global Initiatives, Nobel Peace Laureate Muhammad Yunus’s accelerator for social business. Her areas of interest include stakeholder capitalism and corporate purpose transformation. Aarti also co-founded Yunus Social Business India (where she catalysed the creation of its impact funds) and the Indian Corporate Action Tank – India’s first incubator designed for in-house social innovation by large corporates. She’s an Aspen Fellow, Asia 21 Fellow and a BMW Foundation Responsible Leader. Previously, Aarti worked as an investment banker at JP Morgan in Mumbai. She holds a Master’s degree in Finance from the London School of Economics.