When Sarah Collins, a South African entrepreneur with a passion for the environment and for empowering women, came up with the idea for an electricity-free portable slow cooker, a friend sewed the first prototype for what became the Wonderbag.
Last year, Fortune magazine named Collins one of the most powerful women entrepreneurs, handing out free Wonderbags in Africa and establishing factories in poor South African communities. “Our goal is to create over 8,000 jobs by September 2016,” writes Collins in an e-mail. For every bag sold in the United States and United Kingdom, a free bag is donated to a needy African family. In this country, bags cost $50. In South Africa, the average price is $15, and bags are largely sold by African women trained by her company; bags sold online are going to 16 countries.