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Business Ideas to Help Alleviate Global Poverty

Sixteen entrepreneurs had the chance to present their companies’ plans at the United States Institute of Peace this past month. These entrepreneurs from all around the globe have developed business ideas to help alleviate global poverty and meet the U.N’s Sustainable Development Goals. They had the opportunity to pitch these plans at the Unreasonable Goals Global Event Summit, an annual event hosted by the private holding company Unreasonable Group in Washington, D.C.

The Unreasonable Group brings together for-profit enterprises seeking social change and connects investors to their initiatives. The Group’s main goals in this endeavor are clearly stated, they are: to increase the flow of investment dollars to these initiatives, to accelerate the rapid-growth of effective entrepreneurial solutions, to establish public-private relationships between the world’s largest institutions and the most impactful entrepreneurs and to see a short and long term measurable impact for millions of people’s lives through these companies. The group’s goals are all framed around helping achieve the U.N’s Global Goals, signed two years ago, and which have a concrete deadline of 2030.

In 2015, 193 countries signed onto a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals at the United Nations which strive to achieve several ends. These include ending global poverty and global hunger, ensuring good health and wellbeing for all, fighting inequality and tackling climate change. Under these 17 goals, the U.N. outlines 169 concrete targets for the 193 signatories to be achieved by 2030; they are also actively keeping track of work done so far and further outlining what is still needed.

At the first Unreasonable Goals Global Event Summit this year, there were several presentations of business ideas to help alleviate poverty that ranged from mobile health applications to clean water start-ups. One notable pitch was that of CEO Emily Stone of Uncommon Cacao. In her presentation, she claimed that 90 percent of cacao farmers are locked in poverty, earning a mere $2 per day; the mass consumption of cheap chocolate bars across the world, especially developed nations, perpetuates this situation. Her company, then, seeks to combat the commodification of the cacao supply chain by paying more directly to the farmers for better quality chocolate and thus helping lift them out of poverty.

The Unreasonable Group is demonstrating how achieving the U.N’s goals and constructing a better world is not solely in the hands of governments. By empowering entrepreneurs with business ideas to help alleviate global poverty they are softening the burden on centralized authorities and helping to catalyze the achievement of the sustainable development goals.

Alan Garcia-Ramos

Photo: Flickr