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How Barbara Stegemann Uses her Business to Affect Positive Change

How Barbara Stegemann Uses her Business to Affect Positive Change

Social entrepreneur Barbara Stegemann first became known to millions of Canadians when she landed a venture-capital deal on the CBC TV show Dragons’Den — the first women from Atlantic Canada to do so. She went on to become the “Top Game Changer” in the history of the popular reality show for creating her social enterprise, The 7 Virtues.

Barbara formed her social entrepreneurial vision after her best friend — a soldier — was severely wounded in Afghanistan. Understanding that supporting Afghanistan’s economy was key to building stability for its people, she created The 7 Virtues to help countries experiencing turmoil such as Afghanistan, Haiti, the Middle East and Rwanda.

Fast Company recently profiled Barbara and her social enterprise model, and why she decided to use the beauty market to affect positive change in the world. Below is a segment of the article, read the whole piece here.

The unifying theme for Stegemann’s new line, called Peace Perfumes, is that the ingredients for each come from a country either in the midst of, or recovering from, conflict. The Vetiver Elemi perfume is made with vetiver grown by 2,500 farmers in Haiti, a country still recovering from the 2010 earthquake. Supporting organic farming in the country, Stegemann says, aids its issues with soil erosion and crop diversification. And the Patchouli Citrus scent is made from crops grown by a Rwandan cooperative that pays growers three times higher than the local coffee industry.

While Stegemann’s original line of perfumes garnered a small following, her new collection (which launched online in June) is already selling out. In the nearly a decade since she first launched The 7 Virtues, Stegemann has witnessed an enormous change in the consumer side of the beauty industry: People are now much more interested in buying products that are both natural and sustainable, but especially those that contribute to a larger cause. “Nine years ago, nobody knew what a social enterprise was,” Stegemann says. “Now, I find that people get most excited when they hear that a product is helping people, in my case farmers in countries that are rebuilding,” she says.

Interested in learning more about Barbara and what she can bring to your next event? Email us at [email protected].