30 Nov Using Business to Empower
While most of us shake our heads at the world’s problems, social entrepreneurs build businesses to solve them. Riya Sinha, 17, of Palo Alto, California, not only discovered the power of social entrepreneurship, but launched an enterprise that gives women a creative voice—all before graduating from high school.
At the age of 11, Sinha wrote and published Runaway Twins, a book about the escapades of an evil babysitter. A five-year-old girl approached Sinha and told her she was so inspired by Sinha’s book that she wanted to write a novel of her own. At that moment, Sinha saw that creativity could be contagious, and the idea for Fuzia was born.
Fuzia.com is a social media platform that gives girls and women a forum to express themselves through art while offering encouragement to one another. In a world where women are often silenced, “so many have untapped talent and a lot of them just don’t have a way to get it out,” Sinha says. “If we give girls and women the platform to post their work and share, I think it will give them more confidence in who they are.”
The site launched in 2011 as a place for girls to post their writing. In 2015, Sinha overhauled it with a bigger vision in mind. “We wanted a platform for girls to post any creative work that they do,” Sinha says. Among the types of art featured are photographs, videos, collages, crafts, and fashion.
In just a few years, Sinha has grown Fuzia’s audience to include more than 10,000 members and more than 3.5 million social media followers around the globe. In 2017, she was recognized for her vision by receiving the Iconic Teen Entrepreneur and Innovator award at the Women Economic Forum [in Canada].
Eventually, Sinha wants to turn Fuzia into a creative marketplace—a money-making venture not just for herself but for the site’s members. She envisions a place where girls and women can sell their artwork and offer courses on creative techniques. That would give site members a financial foundation to embark on other goals.