Last week I had the pleasure of meeting an amazing woman with an incredible story. Imagine this. As a refugee of the Persian Gulf War, you come the United States at the age of 8 with a mission to push for equality and respect for all people, especially the underserved.
As Co-Founder and CEO of ROAR for Good, Yasmine Mustafa has proven herself as a fighter, a woman in charge and she won’t stop until she’s made a difference that she can be proud of. She is a tech entrepreneur, community leader, and advisor for several companies in Philadelphia. Yasmine graduated summa cum laude with an Entrepreneurship degree from Temple University and subsequently founded her first startup, an affiliate marketing company helping writers monetize their content. After growing that company, she sold it to a prominent content marketing firm in late 2011. Yasmine also started the Philadelphia chapter of Girl Develop It, a non-profit focused on providing affordable and accessible programs to women who want to learn software and web development. In addition, she’s a board member for Coded by Kids, a non-profit that helps inner city youth learn how to code.
Here is the inside scoop on Yasmine and the only accessory for women to prevent assaults with the use of modern technology and our social networks.
A little bit about ROAR for Good.
Our mission – which forms the foundation of everything we do – is to empower women, reduce assaults, and thereby transform society. Every one of us knows someone – or is someone – who has been a victim of assault. The stats are horrifying. One in four women on a college campus will be sexually assaulted. One in five women have been a victim of rape or attempted rape. This is unacceptable, and ROAR is focused on developing solutions to help make a difference. We want to redefine the status quo – and believe that it’s possible.
How long has she been developing this business?
We’ve been working on the business for almost two years. The original idea came to Co-Founder & CEO, Yasmine Mustafa, when she was solo-trekking across South America. She kept meeting women – both locals and travelers – who shared stories of assault. And then one week after she returned to Philadelphia, a woman was out feeding her parking meter when she was grabbed from behind, dragged into an alley, severely beaten, and brutally raped. It was at that moment that Yasmine knew what she wanted to do with the next phase of her life, and it was at that moment ROAR for Good was born.
Her “Aha” Moment.
The original idea was to take existing self-defense tools and make them wearable. But after conducting numerous market surveys, we learned that women find devices like tasers, pepper spray, and knives to be intimidating, aggressive, requiring close hand-to-hand combat. And even more critical, women were concerned they might be overpowered and their own self-defense tool used as a weapon against them. It was at this point that the idea of developing fashionable, smart jewelry that could serve as both a deterrent and instantly get help was born.
Her biggest challenge and how she’s conquered it.
Building a startup is both a ton of fun and a lot of work. The two ROAR co-founders are both serial entrepreneurs who have built companies before. The exciting part of a startup is the opportunity to think big and develop ideas that can truly change the world. The biggest challenges are the very long days with very scarce resources – especially in the early days. But our mission is what continually keeps us going. Not a day goes by that we don’t hear from someone who has been a victim of assault – and the sooner we can get our solutions out into the world, the sooner we can start making an impact.
Her Shark Tank Idol and 30 second elevator pitch.
Women are being assaulted and attacked at record rates. 1 in 4 women on a college campus will be a victim of sexual assault. ROAR is building fashionable, smart jewelry that can help reduce assaults and empower women. But we don’t want to stop there – we also have a plan that can help address the root causes of violence.
How ROAR for Good will make a difference.
Women should not need to alter their lifestyle, modify their behavior, or carry self-defense devices to protect themselves. And our goal is to help create a society where that is a reality. In the meantime, ROAR is committed to helping make a difference.
As a social-mission B-corp, we don’t want to just put a bandaid on the problem. In addition to the jewelry, we are committed to getting to the root causes of violence against women. That’s why for every Athena device purchased, we are investing a percentage of proceeds into non-profits that are teaching young boys and young girls about empathy, respect, and healthy relationships – programs that have proven to reduce violence into adulthood.
We want to not only imagine such a violence-free world, we want to help bring that one step closer toward fruition.
Roar for Good launched their Indiegogo campaign today and you can get your own “Athena” device now! I know I’ll be getting mine, knowing that it will support such an important project.