Nora Joseph – Founder – RADIKAL
2022 WE Empower Finalist, Latin America & the Caribbean
Nora Joseph, a Haitian-American social entrepreneur, is the founder of RADIKAL, a social enterprise whose mission is to create sustainable livelihoods for Haitian women through the development and growth of micro-businesses. Jeanne studied International Relations at the University of Connecticut and received multiple certifications in fundraising, volunteer management, nonprofits, cultural diplomacy, and sustainable development. Jeanne’s inspiration to start RADIKAL came from the realization that Haitian women needed access to revenue-creating opportunities.
Aligning with UN SDG 1: No Poverty, UN SDG 2: Zero Hunger, UN SDG 5: Gender Equality, RADIKAL, aims to “harness the power of technology to manufacture and distribute products through an efficient grassroots distribution channel, while also respecting and restoring the environment.” Since Covid-19, RADIKAL has focused on solving food insecurity through micro-enterprise. They have developed a network of street food vendors in and around Les Cayes, Haiti. These vendors receive business and sanitation training to serve affordable healthy food. With over 1,000 micro-franchisees, their organic products are projected to reach over 100,000 end consumers every month.
No Poverty + Responsible Consumption and Production
RADIKAL aims to help eradicate poverty by using its franchise model to spread access to entrepreneurial opportunities to the most vulnerable populations in Haiti. Radikal works with farmers and cooperatives throughout their supply chain and aims to employ a zero-waste policy in our production process, while also manufacturing biodegradable packaging for the products distributed through our micro-franchisee network.
To address food insecurity problems, RADIKAL works with street vendors in their microfinance franchise network. Although Haiti has fertile agricultural land, the country imports a lot of its staple foods. RADIKAL purchases vegetables and other foods from smallholder farmers and processes the crops such as cooking oils in order to distribute them to the street vendors. Buying food from street vendors might be cheaper than cooking at home due to other cost factors such as cooking fuel, buying food in bulk, and lack of food storage.
Radikal tackles gender equality by recruiting and training women to become better business owners, “helping them improve their quality of life, and enabling them to step into their power and command respect in their households and communities.”
“We help foster gender equality and support more women into leadership roles by largely recruiting women as micro-franchise owners, working with them at all levels of the organization and investing directly in their own leadership growth and skills through training.”
The WE Empower UN SDG Challenge is a first-of-its-kind global competition for women entrepreneurs who are pushing the UN Sustainable Development Goals and leading innovation in sustainability and climate change through their businesses. This Contributing Series highlights finalists of the Challenge whose work demonstrates how business models and social entrepreneurship can drive global impact.
by Fahima Ali