What is a social entrepreneur? This type of business owner is someone who has dedicated their life to promoting big changes all around the world. Usually the organizations they found and run are nonprofit or charity organizations, but regardless of the business model, they all have at least one thing in common: a mission that is focused on helping others, globally, above all else.
Here are 12 social entrepreneurs who are putting in great efforts through their organizations to change the world for the better. Be sure to follow their companies and do what you can to join in and help make a difference.
1. Cynthia Koenig, founder of Wello
Cynthia Koenig is the entrepreneur behind Wello, which is an organization that uses the global water crisis as a springboard to improve conditions for women all over the world. The Waterwheel is a tool that helps gather clean water more efficiently, which not only improves health but has created jobs and risen awareness of the epidemic of unsafe water too many are still exposed to around the world today.
2. Slava Rubin, founder of IndieGoGo
IndieGoGo is a global fundraising and crowdfunding platform that allows organizations and aspiring entrepreneurs receive funding and awareness for projects and efforts they want to fund or donate to. Slava Robin’s open source platform offers greater opportunities for social change but also provides better funding parameters than its competitors.
3. Alex Budak, founder of StartSomeGood
Similar to IndieGoGo, StartSomeGood is an open source crowdfunding platform, but focuses specifically on social entrepreneurship, leaders of nonprofit organizations and those who wish to raise money for projects that are going to change the world for the better. It is a great place to find and start projects that are going to help individuals create better lives for themselves.
4. Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS Shoes
You probably know Blake Mycoskie best for founding and running TOMS Shoes, a for profit organization that donates a pair of shoes to a child in need each time one pair of shoes is purchased. However, he has also written a book, “Start Something That Matters,” which teaches people how to create their own efforts for changing the world, creating a chain reaction of people who will stand up and make it a point to do what they can to improve the world.
5. Santiago Halty, founder of Senda Athletics
Santiago Halty founded Senda Athletics, which makes Fair Trade athletic gear and soccer balls. The efforts of this company don’t just benefit the athletes who receive the well designed and manufactured gear. They also benefit workers who are often forced to create these items under poor conditions with unfair pay.
6. Neil Blumenthal, founder of Warby Parker
Neil Blumenthal is the founder of Warby Parker, which is a company that provides pairs of eyeglasses and sunglasses for people all over the world. Impaired sight is a huge problem all over the globe, and selling glasses for less than one hundred dollars makes them accessible to more people than ever.
7. John Simon, founder of Green Light Fund
John Simon is the founder of Green Light Fund. Green Light Fund works with families in high poverty areas to help identify needs and provide job opportunities and infrastructure to help maintain a positive and thriving environment. John Simon has helped families all over improve their lives and has helped start newer, much happier chapters in their lives so they can turn around and help change other people’s lives for the better someday.
8. Dale Stephens, founder of UnCollege
Dale Stephenes recognized that the way the general college system runs needs a little work, and so he founded UnCollege. UnCollege is not a replacement for college. Rather, it encourages students to take a gap year before entering university. During that year, students receive coaching and guidance based on their interests to help them decide on a career path. This helps better prepare them for their futures.
9. Jenny Buccos, founder of ProjectExplorer
Jenny Buccos founded ProjectExplorer to help students around the world become more globally and culturally aware of the world around them through the use of online video. At the time of its founding, online video was new. Even still, millions of students have watched and still use the company’s educational videos to learn more about the world they live in.
10. Rachel Chong, founder of Catchfire Funding
Rachel Chong founded Catchfire Funding because she saw an opportunity to connect experienced business people with aspiring entrepreneurs. This is what Catchfire does. It brings volunteers with experience together with those who are just getting started to help the economy continue to grow and to make sure the business world continues to thrive to create more opportunities for the future.
11. Tammy Tibbetts, founder of She’s the First
Tammy Tibbetts is the founder of She’s the First, which provides education to girls all around the world. Many girls around the world do not have the opportunity to receive a quality education, but Tibbetts’s organization allows people to either donate to the cause or sponsor an individual to help fund her education so she can live a better life and have a brighter future.
12. Shanley Knox, founder of the Nakate Project
Shanley Knox had only empowering women in mind when she founded The Nakate Project. This effort keeps the focus on women and their individual earnings and gives donations directly to individuals instead of operating as a nonprofit. This ensures women are being rewarded specifically for the work they do.
Social entrepreneurship is not about money. It is not always even about creating a product or service that people want or need. Social entrepreneurs set out to make a positive difference in the world, and change things for the better. They put their time and energy into promoting and facilitating this kind of change, both raising awareness and funds to support a cause.
The world needs changing, and these entrepreneurs are at the forefront of that movement. Will you be joining them soon?