Q. What young social entrepreneur is doing the concept right, and why?
A. Santiago Halty of Senda Athletics
Senda 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.
A. Jenny Buccos of ProjectExplorer
There 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.
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.
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.
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.
A. Cynthia Koenig of Wello
Wello 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.
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.
A. Blake Mycoskie of TOMS Shoes
Blake 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.
A. Alex Budak of StartSomeGood
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.
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.
A. Rachael Chong of Catchafire
Rachael 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.