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This is what a CEO looks like

H&M Foundation reveals ”Foundation 500” – an all-female list of 500 business leaders.

You probably know of Fortune Magazine’s famous Fortune 500 list. But who makes that list, and why? In a powerful effort to change the narrative, H&M Foundation launches its Foundation 500 list today. By presenting power portraits and stories of female entrepreneurs from emerging markets in the same manner business magazines usually portray male business leaders, the non-profit H&M Foundation and humanitarian agency CARE want to challenge stereotypes and re-define what a CEO looks like. 

“The entrepreneur is the hero of our time, and it is estimated that over the coming years over 1 billion women will enter the workforce – a majority through entrepreneurship. But, you can’t be what you can’t see. Women rarely make the covers of business magazines, in fact the last time a woman was on the cover of Fortune Magazine was October 2014,” says Diana Amini, Global Manager at H&M Foundation.

H&M Foundation and CARE aim to inspire women all over the world, and to share the message that empowering women is one of the most effective ways to break the cycle of poverty and create economic growth.

You can’t be what you can’t see. Women rarely make the covers of business magazines


”Born with zero privileges, the women portrayed in the Foundation 500 list have made their own fortunes in the harshest of startup environments. Yet, their stories often go untold. I wish I had seen women like these on the cover of business magazines when I grew up in South Sudan,” said Alek Wek, British/Sudanese Supermodel, Entrepreneur and H&M Foundation Ambassador.

The Foundation 500 list includes the owner of West Ivory Coast’s first bus company, a CEO from Indonesia growing her business by the means of Facebook and the President of a Peruvian Trout Farmers Association. Learn more and explore their stories on

Karl-Johan Persson, board member of H&M Foundation and H&M CEO, said that the non-profit H&M Foundation pledges 120 million Swedish krona ($14 million/€12 million) during 2014-2020 to support over 200,000 women entrepreneurs from emerging markets with seed capital and skills training to start and expand their businesses.

”If the world is to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals on Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality, the time to act is now.”

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