13 Young Social Entrepreneurs Making a Difference

by / ⠀Startup Advice / September 3, 2012

Q. What young social entrepreneur is doing the concept right, and why?

The following answers are provided by The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC recently published #FixYoungAmerica: How to Rebuild Our Economy and Put Young Americans Back to Work (for Good), a book of 30+ proven solutions to help end youth unemployment.

A. Santiago Halty of Senda Athletics

Aaron SchwartzSenda Athletics designs Fair Trade soccer balls and athletic gear. You can think of them like Nike with a social mission, or a more athletic Patagonia. Santiago started Senda a few years ago with the “small” goal of upending the athletic gear industry, and they are well on their way! They are designing stylish gear that benefits both athletes and workers alike.

Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches

A. Jenny Buccos of ProjectExplorer

natalie-macneilThere are a lot of people out there who want to start nonprofit organizations, but many don’t apply a business model. Jenny Buccos has treated her nonprofit, ProjectExplorer, as a business from day one — and it shows. Her series of educational travel videos for students have been seen by millions, and countries around the world are courting her to film new series.

Natalie MacNeil, She Takes on the World

A. Slava Rubin of IndieGoGo

Slava is a true visionary in the crowdfunding space, creating an open-source platform available around the world. IndieGoGo is very friendly for activism and social change, and succeeds by providing better funding terms than the others.

Michael Margolis, Get Storied

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A. Tammy Tibbetts of She’s the First

Tammy Tibbetts is the founder and president of She’s the First, a nonprofit that sponsors girls’ education in the developing world, helping them be the first in their families to graduate. Tammy does an outstanding job of harnessing social media to execute innovative events, mobilize funders and volunteers, branch out to college campuses and build massive brand awareness.

Alexia Vernon, Alexia Vernon Empowerment LLC

A. John Simon of GreenLight Fund

John Simon’s GreenLight Fund is doing incredible work to replicate effective programs in Boston. John has approached this effort with a great deal of humility, and rather than starting from scratch, he has built a powerful ecosystem to help scale what works.

Garrett Neiman, CollegeSpring

A. Cynthia Koenig of Wello

Devesh DwivediWello is a social venture with a bold mission: to deliver clean water to a thirsty world. By reframing the water crisis as an opportunity, Wello has reinvented the wheel. Cynthia Koenig identified a great pain of women in rural India, and solves it properly with a simple-to-use tool. Wello creates jobs, improves health and increases access to education.

Devesh Dwivedi, Breaking The 9 To 5 Jail

A. Priya Haji and Sammy Shreibati of SaveUp

Priya Haji and Sammy Shreibati of SaveUp are model social entrepreneurs. SaveUp uses game mechanics to encourage people to save money instead of spending it on the lottery. It’s a very elegant solution that makes saving fun, helps people and scales as a business.

Avichal Garg, Spool

A. Blake Mycoskie of TOMS Shoes

Matt WilsonBlake is not only a talented storyteller for marketing purposes, but he has also published a great new book called “Start Something That Matters.” His business is for profit, but every pair of shoes that he sells equates in a donation of one pair of shoes for a child in need. If you are interested in social entrepreneurship, check out this model.

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Matt Wilson, Under30CEO.com

A. Alex Budak of StartSomeGood

What Alex Budak has dreamed up at StartSomeGood is admirable. Capitalizing on two trends — crowdfunding and Gen Y’s desire to make a difference — puts him ahead of the curve.

Sam Davidson, Cool People Care, Inc.

A. Shanley Knox of Nakate Project

Nakate Project develops artisan talents in Uganda, purchasing beads from local women to export into the United States. The beads are worn in high fashion and then sold online. In founding her company, Shanley made a conscious decision to not go the nonprofit route and accept donations for the women she wanted to help. She wanted to empower these women — not let them be her charity case.

Jennifer Donogh, Young Female Entrepreneurs

A. Neil Blumenthal of Warby Parker

Warby Parker is a company that’s absolutely killing it. Neil Blumenthal started the company not only to revolutionize the eyewear industry, but to also provide free pairs of glasses to individuals around the world. Blumenthal is helping to solve one of the world’s biggest epidemics — impaired sight. And at $95 for a pair of prescription glasses, he’s saving people a lot of money too.

Danny Wong, Blank Label Group, Inc.

A. Rachael Chong of Catchafire

doreen-blochRachael Chong is the CEO and founder of Catchafire, the startup that connects professionals to nonprofits who need skilled volunteers. Chong left a position in investment banking to join the social entrepreneurship space because she saw an opportunity to work toward a social mission while remaining a for-profit venture. She is an admirable social entrepreneur.

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Doreen Bloch, Poshly Inc.

A. Dale Stephenes of UnCollege

The education system needs a revolution. Dale Stephenes is inspiring one through UnCollege. Who says that going to university is the only path to success? That’s the notion Dale is challenging.

Ben Lang, EpicLaunch

About The Author

Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson is Co-Founder of Under30Experiences, a travel company for young people ages 21-35. He is the original Co-founder of Under30CEO (Acquired 2016). Matt is the Host of the Live Different Podcast and has 50+ Five Star iTunes Ratings on Health, Fitness, Business and Travel. He brings a unique, uncensored approach to his interviews and writing. His work is published on Under30CEO.com, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Huffington Post, Reuters, and many others. Matt hosts yoga and fitness retreats in his free time and buys all his food from an organic farm in the jungle of Costa Rica where he lives. He is a shareholder of the Green Bay Packers.


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