Entrepreneurship
Launched by Jane Mosbacher Morris at the end of 2014, To The Market (TTM) is a platform for promoting and selling handmade items created by artisans and entrepreneurs who have faced abuse, conflict and disease. TTM’s primary objective is to help these survivors achieve financial independence, a key to breaking the cycle of poverty, through entrepreneurship. They also want to raise awareness of the hardships they’ve faced. TTM operates through its online marketplace, pop-up shops and retail partnerships. Survivors also have the opportunity to share their stories on TTM’s Stories page and on Huffington Post blogs.

TTM connects with retailers or local partners who already employ survivors and sell their products. Next, they make sure these local partners operate according to their guiding principles, such as prohibiting child labor, providing a safe, secure and hospitable workplace and paying fair wages. They also must permit employees to join labor unions and address valid employee concerns. Overall, these local partners must prove themselves to be good corporate citizens that engage in fair business practices that benefit their workers. TTM then extends benefits to their partners, like trend forecasting and mental health resources for employed survivors, and promotes their products on a larger scale.

TTM assists survivors of abuse, survivors of conflict and survivors of disease. This could include survivors of domestic or sexual violence, war widows, refugees, persons living in conflict or post-conflict zones, or people living with HIV/AIDS, leprosy or physical disabilities. Consumers can use the website to support victims of a specific issue, such as human trafficking or orphanhood, using the “shop by cause” option. They can also choose to support citizens of certain countries, from Nepal to Vietnam to Burundi, by using the “shop by country” option. Furthermore, consumers can find all products from TTM’s local partners on their website and shop exclusively from these partners. Examples include Mamafrica, the first Fair Trade Federation Member clothing company working with displaced women in Eastern Congo, and Starfish Project, a jewelry business that supports exploited women in Asia.

Currently, TTM sells items ranging from apparel to home goods to wedding gifts. Their twenty local partners support citizens from eighteen countries. Consumers can also submit custom requests for specific goods, providing business to those who truly need it. By giving a platform to these local partners, TTM aims to provide survivors with more business, help them expand their operations and economically empower those who are struggling.

Jane Harkness

Sources: Mamafrica, Social Justice Solutions, Starfish Project, To The Market 1, To The Market 2, To The Market 3, To The Market 4
Photo: Flickr

river_blindness_treatment

A new mobile iPhone application developed by UC Berkeley undergraduates is promising to overcome a roadblock in the treatment of river blindness in rural African communities.

River blindness is caused by the parasitic worm onchocerca volvulus, which is transmitted to humans by blackfly bites. River blindness has a high incidence rate near fast-flowing streams in tropical climates, with 99% of cases occurring in Africa, and 1% in Latin America and Yemen, where experts speculate the fly migrated with the slave trade centuries ago. The disease is termed “river blindness” due to the effect the parasite’s larvae (microfilariae) have on their human host: if left untreated, the microfilariae migrate to the skin and eye, where human immune response is somewhat limited. The microfilariae can lacerate the cornea, over which scar tissue forms to eventually cause permanent blindness.

As the second leading cause of infectious blindness, river blindness has a devastating impact on local communities, often forcing migration from fertile land. Local communities face a trade-off between productivity and susceptibility. The World Health Organization estimated that in the 1970s, river blindness cost communities $30 million in potential economic opportunities.

While somewhat correlated with geographic location, the relatively high incidence of river blindness in Sub-Saharan Africa is a result of poor health infrastructure in rural agricultural areas that cannot provide thorough prevention and treatment programs. Many blackfly bites are in fact needed to cause infection, indicating that diligent community interventions can curb parasitic transmission. By partnering with pharmaceutical giant Merck to distribute the drug Mectizan (which kills the parasite’s larvae), the Carter Center spearheaded a successful campaign to eliminate river blindness in Colombia, and is currently working in Ecuador, Brazil, Venezuela, Uganda, Sudan, Ethiopia and Nigeria.

However, treatment and prevention campaigns were suspended in some communities after ivermectin (the generic label for Mectizan) was found to harm patients who were also infected with another parasite, commonly known as Loa loa, or African eye worm. Similar to the onchocerca volvulus, Loa loa is transmitted via deerflies found in the rainforests of West and Central Africa and can also cause blindness. Ivermectin administered in patients with high Loa loa levels (exceeding 30,000 per milliliter of blood) can potentially lead to severe or fatal brain damage.

In order to quantify the prevalence of Loa loa parasites in a patient and determine their eligibility for ivermectin treatment, laboratory technicians traditionally counted them manually in blood samples—a technique not conducive to use in the field or in mass treatment campaigns, such as those led by the Carter Center. By drastically improving the efficiency and accessibility of Loa loa screening, however, the new iPhone app CellScope Loa, promises to increase the reach of river blindness treatment and prevention programs.

Born from an optics class project in 2006 by a group of undergraduate students at UC Berkeley, the mobile phone application was first developed by UC Berkeley’s Fletcher Lab in 2009. A $400,000 project to expand its global health application was later funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, UC Berkeley Blum Center for Developing Economies, USAID, and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID). Thomas Nutman, the head of clinical parasitology at the National Institutes of Health and a bioengineering professor at UC Berkeley, led the team of UC Berkeley engineers at the Fletcher Lab to design CellScope Loa.

CellScope Loa is breaking ground in the field of mobile imaging technology because it uniquely combines hardware and software to provide point-of-care testing. The hardware—a 3D printed plastic base, microcontrollers, gears, circuitry LED lights and a USB port—captures images of the sample, while an algorithmic software analyzes the “wiggling movements” observed to determine the prevalence of the parasite. CellScope Loa is more accurate than laboratory testing, which was more vulnerable to human error. The entire testing process also takes about three minutes: one minute to obtain a blood sample via finger prick, and two minutes for the microscope to analyze the sample using motion testing.

Their initial testing of 33 patients in Cameroon yielded zero false negatives and two false positives; Fletcher and Nutman are taking 15 devices back to Cameroon this summer to test 40,000 more patients. If successful, CellScope Loa would mark a significant stride in mobile health technology, which is shifting the approach—and increasing the impact—of public health initiatives. Although its applicability is somewhat limited to motion-sensing tests (versus tests for antibodies that diagnose other infectious diseases, such as hepatitis B), CellScope Loa can also be used to guide ivermectin treatment of lymphatic filariasis, or elephantiasis, and may have future applications in tuberculosis and malaria testing.

Jacqueline Fedida

Sources: Bloomberg News, The Carter Center, Science of Translational Medicine, UC Berkeley, Washington Post
Photo: Bloomberg

social_innovation
Countries are growing younger than ever. One quarter of the world’s population is made up of adolescents, and more than half of the world is under the age of 30.

Paired with technology and a global trend for social responsibility, the young majority is making headway in addressing youth crises and global issues.

While this demographic change poses potentially destabilizing risks, USAID is working to enable the youth bulge to make positive change in their communities through social innovation.

In Honduras, young people are mapping crime violence along its urban public bus systems. According to USAID, the United Nations and the Honduras National Police tracked 86 homicides per 100,000 people in 2011, the highest in the world. Due to gang violence and armed robbery, busses are ripe for extortion and murder. In June 2012, young Hondurans traveled through Tegucigalpa’s dangerous buses with a global positioning system (GPS) in order to develop blueprints for a public bus map for citizens to follow so they could avoid problematic hotspots. The GPS data was then entered into Google Earth.

This was a part of a USAID-led volunteer program. Members of the national anti-violence youth movement, Movimiento Jovenes contra la Violencia, took part in mapping fifteen of the busiest and most risky bus routes in their area, according to USAID.

The Kyrgyz Republic found USAID support when they experienced significant political and social conflict in 2010. Protests and violence, subsequently, gave way to a cynical youth population.

USAID partnered with Youth of Osh, a nongovernmental, secular organization from Osh, Kyrgyzstan. Youth of Osh leads community development projects in the city. In the October 2011 presidential election, USAID and Youth of Osh applied SMS technology to monitor the elections in more than 70 voting stations. They located approximately 1,300 violations via text. This was a groundbreaking accomplishment in political transparency in the Kyrgyz Republic’s election processes.

USAID continued to support the youth bulge in Haiti. Similarly to Honduras, USAID helped construct a mapping device for the urban St. Marc region. The maps pinpointed post-earthquake refugee spots. Thirty local Haitian youth roamed their streets to draw the blueprints.

USAID’s Frontlines also followed Sri Lanka’s diverse social communities. USAID funded a project that taught Sri Lankan youth how to create and broadcast documentaries about Sri Lanka’s people. Eighteen young reporters practiced in journalism, camera and audio equipment, and production and editing, according to USAID’s Frontlines: Youth & Mobile Technology–September/October 2012 issue. The team developed 45 stories that they called “Development Diaries.” USAID continued to support a second season covering minority voices and post-war issues.

Liberian students enrolled at the Kwame Nkruman University of Science and Technology in Ghana pursued master’s degrees thanks to a USAID program. The program follows a development plan sponsored by the U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation Threshold Program, and looks to establish better management of land rights and access.

USAID’s LAUNCH energy forum on November 10-13, 2011, starred Gram Power, an energy tech company based in the United States but servicing India’s poor electricity market. The self-described “micro solution to India’s major energy woes” was co-founded by Yashraj Khaitan and Jacob Dickinson. The men both graduated from UC Berkeley in 2011 with Bachelors in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

The highly selective LAUNCH event led to Gram Power building its first micro-grid installation and electrification in the Khareda Lakshmipura village. They soon brought electricity to 200,000 homes in five years. Gram Power hopes to bring power to 1.4 million people by the end of 2016.

USAID also works in the Philippines, teaching young people at the University of Cebu the prospect of “technopreneurship.” USAID’s Innovative Development through Entrepreneurship Acceleration (IDEA) works with higher education engineering and science programs to engage students on the possibility of bringing their ideas to life.

IDEA offers the Global Entrepreneurship Symposium and Workshop, which teaches young students how to create products, research, understand the global market and work with venture capital, according to Frontlines.

By 2016, IDEA will have garnered more than $2 million, which more than matches the U.S. Government’s $1.5 million investment.

In addition to IDEA, USAID invested $34 million to help higher education in the Philippines. The programs offer study abroad opportunities in the United States and funds for many students to obtain master’s degrees in science and technology.

– Lin Sabones

Sources: USAID 1, USAID 2, USAID 3, USAID 4, USAID 5, United Nations Population Fund
Photo: Creative

Noonday_Collection_Ambassadors
Creativity comes in many forms. For example, it can be when one combines fashion and justice to bring business to impoverished communities around the world — and that is exactly what Jessica Honegger did when she created Noonday Collection.

What started as a trunk show by a woman who wanted to raise money to adopt a son from Rwanda soon became more than a one-time fundraiser, It has become an innovative business model that allows women to use fashion to create jobs at living wages for artisans in Latin America, Asia and Africa.

Since its launch in 2011, Noonday Collection has provided women in the U.S. the opportunity to earn an income through entrepreneurship while still alleviating global poverty, creating a mutual beneficiary relationship that strays from the charitable “handout.”

Using fashion and design to create economic opportunity for impoverished communities, women can become social entrepreneurs known as Noonday Collection Ambassadors.

As ambassadors, women use their fashion sense to change the world and collaborate with others to make an impact simply by shopping, styling, sharing and advocating.

Noonday Collection states it best on its website: “Your fashion sense can now restore dignity to abandoned women in Ethiopia, empower communities in Ecuador, and create business opportunities for Ugandans.”

Noonday Collection Ambassadors partner with artisans in developing countries by selling jewelry, winter scarves, headbands and other accessories through trunk shows and personalized e-commerce sites. Artisans earn a percentage of the sales commission.

By partnering with artisans in developing countries, ambassadors can empower others to create a marketplace for their goods in their own community while still being able to help those in poverty earn a sustainable business to support their families.

Noonday Collection pays for all its products up-front and even makes advanced payments to provide artisans the money flow they need to start a sustainable business.

The company also sends members of its team to train artisans on what practices are best to design for the U.S. market among other topics to help them understand their business.

In addition, Noonday Collection offers scholarship programs, emergency assistance and donate a portion of sales from adoption trunk shows to help place orphans in a permanent home.

If you would like to take part in this growing movement that has supported more than 1,200 adoptive families through its entrepreneurial insight and fashionable taste, visit the Noonday Collection website to learn how to become a Noonday Collection Ambassador: http://www.noondaycollection.com/become-an-ambassador.

Chelsee Yee

Sources: Noonday Collection 1, Noonday Collection 2, Toms
Photo: Flickr

JADEtribe
In the fall of 2008, Kimberly Hartman decided to temporarily leave behind a 16-year-long career in fashion in pursuit of an opportunity to pause, reflect and gain some perspective: an extended solo trip to India and South East Asia. What she discovered on her journey inspired JADEtribe, the iconic handbag collection that has altered not only Hartman’s career path, but also her global impact.

The fashion and design guru landed in Laos, a far cry from the cosmopolitan cities she’d been theretofore residing in. Laos, one of the poorest countries in East Asia—and one of the few countries that remains communist—has made significant gains with poverty alleviation within the past two decades, bringing the poverty rates from 39 percent down to 26 percent with the help of foreign aid. The country is heavily mountainous and landlocked, and though less than 5 percent of the land is suitable for agricultural production, the economy remains agrarian.

While exploring a weaving market in a remote village in Laos, Hartman found what she was looking for: inspiration. She became at once enamored by the colors created with natural, organic dyes, and by the awe-inspiring textiles that were woven from them. Fabrics and prints that were unlike any others she had seen before caught Hartman’s well-trained eye. Here, in Laos, where women work more than men—taking on an average of 70 percent of the farming and household duties—and receive less education were beautiful creations that essentially went unnoticed. Hartman was inspired.

She has since employed the weaving village to create exclusive colors and patterns that laid the groundwork for her entirely unique collection of JADEtribe handbags.

And it was more than just a brave career move for Hartman, who had established a name for herself in New York City managing some of the industry’s top brands. It was the perfect marriage of two things about which Hartman has always been deeply passionate: fashion and humanitarianism.

Through the creation of JADEtribe, Hartman has discovered a way to launch a brand that directly gives back to the people of a country in which 41 percent of the population is malnourished. By commissioning villagers, leather artisans and female sewers to create her handbags—and paying a fair price—Hartman has created immense opportunity for growth in jobs and an increased quality of life for a population of a least-developed country.

One hundred percent natural and ethical, JADEtribe bags truly represent fashion with a conscience. Seen on celebrities and in boutiques and trade shows across the globe, JADEtribe is a shining example of how one person’s passion and desire to make a difference truly can transform lives. Hartman’s JADEtribe bags are available on her website, www.jadetribe.com.

– Elizabeth Nutt

Sources: UNDP, JADEtribe, World Vision, UN, The Borgen Project
Photo: BoutiqueBlu

poverty in guatemala
In the rural areas of Guatemala, poverty is both widespread and deeply entrenched. A recent study by The World Bank found that 58 percent of the Guatemalan population live on incomes below the extreme poverty line, which is defined as the amount needed to purchase a basic basket of food.

A new solution to address poverty in Guatemala has emerged in the form of bracelets and necklaces. Entrepreneur Maria Pacheco is providing a sustained source of income to over 2,000 Guatemalans with these simple fashion accessories.

Growing up in Guatemala City, Pacheco was exposed to the poverty, devastation and desperation in her native country. Pacheco yearned to improve the quality of life in her homeland through organic and native farming, which “protects and gives life and is a sustainable way to produce food.” In Guatemala, agriculture accounts for a fifth of GDP and employs about 40 percent of the country’s total labor force.

But when Pacheco set out with her biological agriculture degree to help her native people, she found that the farmers’ parched and sloping hillsides were inarable and, more importantly, not profitable. This lack of income is not uncommon in rural areas of the country, as Guatemala’s income distribution is the most unequal in the world. While the wealthiest 10 percent of the population owns nearly 50 percent of the national wealth, the poorest 10 percent owns less than 1 percent.

“Poverty is a cycle that starts with an unequal distribution of income generated between the rural and urban areas of underdeveloped countries,” said Pacheco. In these weak rural economies, education is unattainable and people cannot provide even the basic necessities for their families.

Pacheco realized that the only way to break this poverty cycle was to bring commerce to the remote Guatemalans. With this in mind, Pacheco pioneered a commerce-driven program that primarily focuses on economically empowering the women residing in rural areas of Guatemala.

“Women are a very powerful force of change, if given the opportunities,” Pacheco said, adding that “most women will typically invest 80 to 90 percent of their income in improving their children’s nutrition, health and education.” Guatemala has one of the biggest gender gaps in the world and women have limited access to jobs and schooling.

The road to prosperity begins with training through Pacheco’s sister organization, Communities of the Earth, a business incubator that targets women throughout Guatemala and teaches them how to make bracelets and necklaces. These women collaborate in small groups called “value chains” which are comprised of more than 300 individuals to craft products. The products are then sent to Kiej de Los Bosques, Pacheco’s social company which bridges the gap between local weavers and artisans in rural communities and urban markets. The women receive a monthly stipend based upon the amount they produce per order, which provides a sustained income.

“With Queta Rodriquez, my business partner, we realized it was hard to sell products to just Guatemalan communities. So we decided to start an umbrella brand that would sell an assortment of handicraft products in international markets,” said Pacheco.

This “lifestyle” brand is known as Wakami and it is currently exporting to 20 countries, being produced in 17 villages, and generating income for 450 people. According to Pacheco, the fashion accessories of the Wakami brand are meant to inspire people to “be their dream,” enjoy life and share positivity with those around them.

Wakami also partners with other social businesses or NGOs that allow women to invest in services and products that will improve the lives of themselves and their families. These include water filters, improved stoves, latrines and organic gardens.

Pacheco has observed positive changes in the rural villages thus far. “Women are now valued in their families and contribute more to decisions and investments. Also, the average weight of children has improved from eight to 30 percent and high school attendance is more than double the national rate at 92 percent,” said Pacheco.

While much progress has been made, Pacheco feels as though “this is just the beginning.” She plans to begin selling other products through the Wakami brand such as bags and scarves, and also wants to include people in rural villages from other areas of the world in the value chains.

When asked what she would ultimately like to achieve through her efforts to generate economic change, Pacheco simply said “transformation.” And, in many rural villages of Guatemala, the first steps toward transformation have already been taken.

Abby Bauer

Sources: Wakami, Kiej de Los Bosques, Encyclopedia of the Nations, Rural Poverty Portal, World Bank
Photo: ComeTogetherTrading

 

entrepreneurs

According to the global entrepreneurship GEDI index, for the past 30 years almost half of all new jobs in the United States alone were created by businesses that are less than five years old. Globally, 65 million entrepreneurs each plan to create 20 or more jobs in the next five years.

Many of these start-up businesses offer products that are new to the market, according to a GEM report.

“Part of what we’re trying to do is sort of raise entrepreneurship to the level of the public policy agenda,” said Michael Dell. “If you look at what’s going on in the world today, in terms of where jobs are being created, we need more entrepreneurs. We need more risk-taking. High-risk entrepreneurs and bureaucratic U.N. officials might seem like a strange combination, but applying the problem-solving of a startup culture to global development is the idea.”

Around the world, over 565,000 small businesses start each month, and the products and profit they provide could be key to the recovery of the world economy as they create jobs, more global disposable income and new products. However, only 15 percent of entrepreneurs say that their country’s culture supports entrepreneurs, according to ey.com.

“Technology has enabled undeserved communities to get out of poverty,” said Ruma Bose, an entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist. “In the slums of India we saw a lot of hope and magic, there are thousands of new businesses there, and factories that generate millions in revenue and provide clean water. Even in the worst conditions the entrepreneurial spirit exists.”

Around 63 percent of women in the non-agricultural labor force are self-employed in the informal sector in Africa, a number which is twice the worldwide rate, according to the World Bank’s data — data which also shows that necessity is the main driving force behind female entrepreneurship in poor countries, not opportunity.

“Traditionally women would sit at home and wait for the man to return home with a bag of groceries, but this has been changing over time as women’s dependence gradually reduces,” said Thomas Bwire, an economist with Uganda’s central bank. “In a sign of the times, Ugandan women now even work at road construction sites.”

A report released earlier this year by Goldman Sachs stated that women’s “increased bargaining power has the potential to create a virtuous cycle” as women begin to spend more, thus fueling economic growth in the years ahead. According to the International Finance Corp. of the World Bank, an estimated $300 billion credit gap exists for female-owned businesses.

Other entrepreneurial companies, like Popinjay, have aided the advancement of many people around the world. Popinjay employs around 150 women who work four hours a day and at $3 an hour. “When I started Popinjay, my goal was really to get women to sustain themselves, but what I realized over time is that it wasn’t just about the money,” said Saba Gul, CEO and founder of Popinjay. “It was also about the fact that they gained so much dignity and pride in knowing that they were creating something with their own hands.”

— Monica Newell

Sources: Deseret News National, Epoch Times
Photo: Tadias

One in five people, roughly 1.3 billion globally, do not have access to electricity that would improve health and education while decreasing poverty. In sub-Saharan Africa, the proportion of individuals lacking electricity rises to seven out of 10.

Right now, 225 million people in sub-Saharan Africa rely on health facilities that have no electricity, and 90 million children in the region have no electricity at school. Energy poverty prevents local businesses from prospering and students from succeeding in their studies.

Providing access to electricity will allow hospitals to keep life-saving refrigerated vaccines on hand, allow students and entrepreneurs to continue their work after dark and ensure that families do not need to rely on dangerous and costly kerosene powered lamps.

But what is the best way to deliver electricity to the parts of the world that are lacking?

Aside from the obvious benefits of expanding clean energy initiatives, solar energy has shown great promise in regions such as sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

Bangladesh is quickly becoming one of the world’s fastest growing clean energy employers by investing in solar energy. Over the last 10 years, the number of solar power systems in Bangladesh has increased from 25,000 to 2.8 million, creating 114,000 jobs in the field. This is on par with many developed countries in the European Union.

Solar power has not been widely implemented until recently due to the high up-front cost of panels and batteries. Additionally, little public funding to assistance programs is allocated to energy access. The private sector has stepped in to fill this gap, and many start-up businesses and entrepreneurs are making clean energy more accessible and creating more jobs in the areas they serve.

Companies like Elephant Energy and divi, Inc. are currently operating in Namibia, Zambia and the Navajo Nation, providing solar energy through “pay to own” programs that allow customers to pay off their solar power technology in weekly installments.

The only problem with systems like these, as well-intentioned as they may be, is the rapid advances of solar technology. By the time individuals have paid off their solar power systems, it is likely they will be outdated.

Off.Grid:Electric has been working to solve the problem of accessible and practical energy. Currently operating in Tanzania, this start-up aims to assume the risk of transferring to solar power that their customers would normally have to bear.

As part of the program, customers have a solar panel, battery storage and charger installed in their home and prepay for the electricity they want. For 20 cents a day, the amount spent on kerosene for a single lantern, a family receives 24 hours of electricity. This provides power to families for less than what they currently pay for lanterns, as they often must use two or three kerosene lamps per night.

In addition to providing lighting, this system also allows families to charge phones and power other appliances such as cook stoves and refrigerators. It also provides health benefits by avoiding the emissions of kerosene and diesel powered lamps, which are estimated to release toxins equal to the secondhand smoke from two packs of cigarettes during four hours of operation.

Companies such as these also create jobs. Elephant Electric provides sales and marketing training to local businesspeople who deliver their energy products, and Off.Grid:Electric utilizes a door-to-door sales system that currently employs more than 300 individuals at roughly three times the pay they were making before.

Despite private sector involvement increasing investment appeal for assistance programs, there is still a need for public funding. A report by the Sierra Club estimates that $500 million in public investment is needed. This will open up a $12 billion market for clean energy services to those in need, and provide clean energy access for all by 2030.

— Kristen Bezner

Sources: The Atlantic, The Energy Collective, One, The Sierra Club, Take Part (1), Take Part (2)
Photo: Earth Times

Cordes Foundation
In 2006, Ron Cordes and his family started to make some changes. First, Cordes sold his successful business, AssetMark Investment Services, to Genworth Financial. Then, after a short three-year stint as CEO of Genworth Wealth Management, Ron and Marty Cordes started giving back.

After $10 million in donations, Ron had begun devoting his time to the initiatives of the Cordes Foundation, and stayed on as co-chairman of Genworth. Marty had started devoting her time to the organizations that the Cordes Foundation supports — organizations that empower women and girls and promote global human rights.

Three key initiatives pave the way for the Cordes Foundation:

1.  Catalyzing new sources of capital for impact investments.

Cordes started building the foundations of this initiative when he co-founded ImpactAssets, a nonprofit that garners investment capital to achieve the greatest impact possible in various global environmental, social and financial issues. ImpactAssests has its own set of goals, which include creating positive social and environmental impacts that generate a return for investors.

2. Equipping the next generation of social entrepreneurs.

The Cordes Foundation does this by supporting the Global Center for Social Entrepreneurship. It is a university-based center where practice and training are offered to young social entrepreneurs. The center works to instill values of solution-mindedness and innovation in the coming generations.

3. Connect and support global leaders in social enterprise.

As co-chairs of the Opportunity Collaboration, Marty and Ron foster the sharing of innovation between a number of different parties like social entrepreneurs, impact investors and the public sector. The collaboration gets together annually in October, when 300 delegates gather to represent leaders from 30 countries. But the Cordes Foundation is certainly not alone. It serves as a great example of two recent trends that are quickly gaining speed.

Cordes has five pieces of advice for his daughter:

  • Seek Your Passion,
  • Do Your Best
  • Good Enough is Never Good Enough
  • No Excuses
  • Make a Difference

Cordes seems to be doing all of those things as he takes part in the wave of nonprofit family organizations that have the potential to leave a positive legacy across the world. These family nonprofits offer philanthropists a way to better control their giving, and just like Cordes, they work to leave their children and the next generation with values of generosity and compassion.

Cordes says “Since my early 40s, I had an itch that there was something else out there that I could be accomplishing and a greater purpose out that I could be achieving than running a successful business. The opportunity to sell the business gave me the resources so I could pursue that. I went from trying to build the best business in the world to building the best businesses for the world.”

Ron Cordes represents a great example of how the encore career later in life can be beneficial in the fight against global poverty, hunger and other humanitarian efforts.

– Rachel Davis

Sources: Forbes, New York Times

ireland_social_entrepreneurship
While Ireland has been in the headlines for its work towards financial recovery, it has also made a significant contribution to the growth of social entrepreneurship.

Ireland is currently home to 1,400 social enterprises, which employ about 25,000 people, with an expected increase of 65,000 jobs in the next few years. The number of social entrepreneurs in the country has continued to increase as well, with much of the rise attributed to Social Entrepreneurs Ireland (SEI).

The organization SEI was established in 2005 to support the growth of social enterprises. SEI believes that when a social entrepreneur is working on an innovative project, they should get the funding needed for the project to grow. By supporting these new solutions, SEI hopes that these entrepreneurs will be able to help as many people as possible.

Since 2005, it has invested a total of €5.4 million in the projects of 169 social entrepreneurs. SEI supports each project for up to 2 years. The projects SEI has supported have directly affected over 250,000 people across the country and have also created 850 jobs.

In regard to Ireland’s opportunity to become a leader in social entrepreneurship, SEI’s Head of Engagement Darren Ryan said, “There is so much potential and a conducive environment for social innovation; why couldn’t Ireland be the global leader in the development of social entrepreneurship?”

In order to support these social entrepreneurs, SEI has its annual Awards Programme, which awards funding to 9 social entrepreneurs out of about 200 applications. A number of the projects are centered on reducing unemployment and rural isolation and improving mental health.

In addition to its Awards Programme, SEI also has a Social Entrepreneurs Bootcamp and its Elevator Programme. The Social Entrepreneurs Bootcamp was created to help give support to rising social entrepreneurs.

The Elevator Programme entails 12 months of support and helps about 4 to 6 social entrepreneurs every year, in hopes of helping them to choose exactly what issue they want to focus on and figure out their solutions.

SEI expects that for any project it supports, the success rate will be between 50% and 75% or the failure rate will be between 25% and 50%, depending on when SEI chooses to invest.

In light of SEI’s predictions, Ryan said, “Anything higher than that and we will know we’re not taking enough risk. We want to ensure that we are always thinking big and looking for the ideas that have the potential to change Ireland.”

Along with the SEI, the global organization the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) recently expanded to Ireland. The SSE offers courses to mentor and support social entrepreneurs.

The school holds study sessions that include witnesses, experts, and social enterprise visits. The school also offers Action Learning Sets, in which people have small-group discussions to talk about their ideas.

Another important feature of the SSE is its mentoring services, where the school chooses mentors for all of its social entrepreneurs. The mentors offer the budding entrepreneurs advice and guidance as well as additional information and support to help them in their projects.

With growing resources for social entrepreneurs, Ireland is likely to be a strong leader in helping solve some of the world’s biggest problems.

– Julie Guacci

Sources: Forbes, Social Entrepreneurs Ireland, School for Social Entrepreneurs
Photo: Meath Chronicle