Woman in Innovation: Sophia Hamblin-Wang
"Finding good mentors is a very important step for all entrepreneurs."

Each Wednesday we interview women in our community about innovation and what drives them to make a difference in their industries everyday!

Tell us about what you are working on.
I’m really passionate about sustainability, the environment, technology and food and I’m so lucky I get to work on these every day! My company Mineral Carbonation International (MCi), is developing technology which transforms carbon dioxide into building materials and other valuable industrial products like cements and bricks for use in construction. Using technology in this way can allow us to utilise millions of tonnes of CO2 which helps us achieve Australia’s climate change goals.

I also work for Health Horizon, an internet health database that makes it easy to find, follow and receive updates on the progress of all important innovations in health and medicine globally. For example, if you were looking for all promising innovations for arthritis, we showcase the treatments, diagnostics and breakthroughs that are relevant, and alert you when they make progress and are ready for use.

In my spare time I volunteer with OzHarvest, a charity very close to my heart that rescues food that would otherwise be destined for landfill and redistributes it to over 70 charities and shelters in the ACT and surrounding areas. It’s both environmental and socially impactful because saving good food from landfill means 1) it isn’t decomposing and creating harmful greenhouse gases- 8% of the greenhouse gases heating the planet are caused by food waste; 2) the energy, water and effort taken to grow and transport that food won’t have been in vain and 3) those who need it can have access to free nutritious food.

Why is innovation important to you?
Most of my work is looking at the big picture. Developing new solutions to the major challenges facing society is the most important and exciting part of being involved in innovation.

Without innovation change would not be possible and we need to change to reach our environmental and social goals. Being able to bring together people and ideas across multiple industries is hugely rewarding in my role. I look forward to continuing to develop commercially competitive technologies and business models into the future.

What drives you to make a difference?
I was raised in a small fishing village by a single mother in Far North Queensland. Although it was often difficult for my mother to make ends meet, she always made time to give back to her community and encouraged me to do the same. I have been a member of the Red Cross for over 20 years and have seen firsthand the real life impact community service can make.

Through my academic studies in international business and corporate social responsibility at ANU, I became interested in improving the success and impact of real world sustainability projects. Creating sustainable business models and novel solutions to a problem as large as climate change is truly exciting for me.

I believe making a difference is my responsibility, I am empowered with the skills to do so, and I will work hard to achieve my goals. It is also incredibly fulfilling to do the things I love while making a difference.

Do you have any advice for getting more women into innovation and entrepreneurship?
Finding good mentors is a very important step for all entrepreneurs. Women are still a minority in the innovation and entrepreneurship landscape, so I’m lucky I have had the opportunity to learn and work with strong, intelligent women (and men) in the field. Don’t be afraid to network and learn from other people’s experiences. It’s one of the best ways to grow in your career and as an individual.

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