Top 10 Social Entrepreneurs Under 30 That You’ll Love Too!

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Social entrepreneurs recognize that traditional approaches to solving social problems may not offer the creative goals they are meant to rip out by the roots. They consistently invent new ways through sustainable business models to change our world. As more startups align to make social connections and help more communities around the world, these social entrepreneurs are leading the charge.

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5 Ways to Improve Your Impact as a Social Entrepreneur

As a social entrepreneur, you are the one out there tackling social issues with your sustainable business. But, you know what? You are not a superhero. If you want to increase your impact, there are some basic things that you need to do. Here are five ways to improve your impact as a social entrepreneur:

1. Don’t try to do everything yourself.

There are so many social issues to be covered around the world; Poverty, Global Warming, Energy consumption, the environmental conservation, refugee crisis, population growth, Economic Development, Health, etc. What you can do is limited, and you can’t solve every single issue alone. That’s the dilemma. But don’t worry. It’s ok.

Collaboration is an essential key to be a successful social entrepreneur. You know why? Because what you want to achieve is to solve problems that you found one by one, not to show off who you are. It is always a good idea to partner with those who are already doing the work in the field because they must have more experience and knowledge about the affairs. It doesn’t mean they have everything they need. You might be able to fill in the gaps or pieces that are missing.

When collaboration brings energy to millions.

d.light is a global solar energy company that delivers affordable solar-powered solutions designed for the 2 billion people living without access to reliable energy in Africa, China, South Asia and the United States.

d.light started a channel partnership with Unilever. How it worked was that d.light sells solar home systems to Unilever, which places them in the small-scale retail shops that stock its products, so all parties: Unilever, d.light, and the retailers financially benefit, which all profit from increased sales.

While having access to solar lighting led to significant increases in store revenue, d.light also benefits from increased awareness of its products among consumers who shop at retailers’ stores because of the way that the light impacts the aesthetic of the shops.

Remember, “why” you do your business is more important than “how” you do it. You’d better ask yourself the purpose of the path.

2. Don’t try to be a hero in one night.

Social entrepreneurs are not superheroes (But they are force to be reckon with). You should keep it in your mind that you cannot be a hero in one night as Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Let’s focus on one small issue that you can solve as a start, then gradually pace up. Simplicity is a key to unwind complexity in the end. Microfinance is a well-known concept today, but did Muhammad Yunus see he could change the world in a blink? No.

He wanted to save a poor person right in front of him on the street one day, started a new way of lending money to the poor in a city where he lived, opened Grameen Bank there, the system expanded in Bangladesh and now around the world. One by one from a small but impactful thing.

3. Never stop listening.

Listening is so important as a social entrepreneur.

Some people think that they already have a solution to an issue, without really listening to the people they are serving. For example, when Gavin Armstrong — featured in our special Top 10 Edition — founded the company Lucky Iron Fish, a company that created an iron fish to help people around the world deal with anemia and iron deficiencies. When he began to launch his product, an iron fish, he talked to the women in Cambodia who would be using this product, cooking for their families. He listened to the local Cambodians on how he should brand and name his company. He didn’t do it alone or think he had all the answers.

Listen to your customers. This is the only way to find out what they want.

I’ll give you an example through my experience with a crowdfunding campaign called Musana Carts: The Solar Street Vending Revolution. My friends and I came up with an idea to provide food carts with market vendors in Uganda 2 years ago. We thought the carts would make it easier for vendors to move around with wheels of the carts.

However, the reality was that it wasn’t useful because vendors needed to stay in their spot that the government authorized for well management reason. So we suggested pushing carts between their houses and the market. It didn’t work either because it might create traffic accident such as vendors hit by a car. Every single idea is worth coming up with, but you should never skip the phrase “listen to your (potential) customers,” so you can sell them what they want and give them what they need.

4. Break free from the norm.

Listening to your customers is necessary, but as Henry Ford, the founder of Ford, said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses,” following their requests and doing what they ask you to do are a different story.

It is your customers’ “potential” need that you need to figure out when you listen to them. Henry Ford was smart enough to know that, and that’s why he invented Ford cars, not giving faster horses to people. But here is another question; then what?

You should know that a few ideas that you’d come up with when you start thinking of the best ways to tackle social issues are ones that tens of thousands of people even have already tried.

For example, poverty is not an issue that recently rises, but it exists for a long time. Everyone knows that poverty still exists on the earth and still needs to be addressed. You need to come up with an innovative solution to address social issues that nobody could have ever solved. Our Change Creator magazine can show you so many innovative and creative ideas with great social entrepreneurs. You should check it out!

5. Don’t be overwhelmed.

You might find out that you have SO MANY things to do and might not see yourself reach the goal yet, but that’s ok. Remember the four other things I mentioned above, keep your own pace, address the issue by one step at the time and even ask other social entrepreneurs for help if needed. You are not alone, and we need you. You are one of the most amazing people on this planet, and again, we need you. Please always remember that.

As I told you at the beginning, social entrepreneurs sound very special, but they are also people.

This blog is a reminder that you can also be one of them, or you are already one of them. If you don’t do those top 5 “Don’ts,” you’ll become a great social entrepreneur who can create a positive impact on the world.

Top 7 Socially Aware Clothing Companies to Watch Out For

The clothing industry can be fraught with waste and slave labor. Choose differently.

Business is mostly done for profit. But sadly some companies use barbaric measures to meet their goals. They treat their workers badly, almost at slave labor levels. They also don’t care about the environment. To them, it’s all about the money.

Such bad practices contributed to one of the worst occurrences of our time, the Rana Plaza tragedy. Here, a building that contained clothing factories, shops a bank and apartments collapsed, killing 1,134 people. That number included factory workers who were forced to go to work despite concerns that the building had major cracks. This made people start thinking carefully about where they get their clothes from.

Below are the top 6 social aware clothing companies you need to watch out for:

1. Everlane

Everlane thrives in full transparency and integrity. It has stringent workplace compliance requirements. It carefully selects the factories to work with and builds powerful personal relationships with the factory owners.

Something unique about Everlane is that it is transparent about its costs and markups. It doesn’t use the traditional markup where the price is increased 8 times before it reaches you. Instead, it reveals true costs and is transparent about its markup.

Twitter handle: @Everlane

2. People Tree

Do you want to wear unique garments that value both you and the planet? People Tree is a renowned UK company that can take care of these needs. It boasts of over 25 years of environmentally sustainable and ethical fashion.

It stands against fast fashion, thus it is against family separation, exploitation, pollution and slum cities. All its garments are made of organic cotton and other sustainable materials. This is done using traditional skills, supporting rural communities.

Twitter: @peopletree

3. Slumlove Sweater Company

Slumlove believes that fashion can also be a force for good. All Slumlove products and packaging are made using 100% natural, recycled and organic material, excellent for the environment.

Its employees are paid fair wages and treated with respect. They’re given lots the resources and opportunities they need to better their lives and that of their families.

All Slumlove clothing is made in Kenya by hand. In addition to fashion, Slumlove gives back to a non-profit organization that provides scholarships for high school children living in Kibera, one of the largest slums in the world.

Twitter: @Slumlove

4. Alternative Apparel

Alternative Apparel ranks well as an ethical and sustainable brand.

This company based in Los Angeles, USA, respects values and rights of workers, regardless of where in the world they come from. More than 80% of its garments are made using sustainable processes and materials.

Alternative Apparel is a certified Green Business in Los Angeles. Its partner factories comply with FLA (Fair Labor Association) Workplace Code of Conduct. Many of them are also WRAP (Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production) certified. It uses G2 wash that consumes 60% less water, eco fabrics, non-toxic dyes and recycled poly materials.

We really like this super comfy sweatshirt, or this slouchy pullover rocks too!

Twitter: @alternativeapp


Founded by Bono of U2 and his wife Ali Hewson, EDUN is a socially aware brand that aims to promote trade in Africa.

It sources production throughout Africa and mixes designer vision with a burning desire to positively impact this rich and fast-growing continent.

One social initiative run by EDUN is (CCIU) Conservation Cotton Initiative Uganda. This is run in partnership with Invisible Children. CCIU provides business support, training and funding to help Northern Ugandan farmers to build sustainable businesses.

We couldn’t help but love their Edun Women’s Crepe De Chine Cargo Pants that will take you on all your adventures!

Twitter: @EDUN_NY

6. Abury

Abury aims to make people look and feel good as it also does good. This company based in Morocco creates exclusive handmade designs that retain social impact, investing love, time and money with the communities it works with.

It does not only provide employment and fair salaries to the locals, it also gives back the time it takes to produce each product in hours of education to the community.

Abury produces bags, jewelry, scarves and pouches among other fashion items.

Twitter: @aburycollection

7. Tonlé

Tonlé clothing does not only look good and fashionable, the company supports its local community in Cambodia giving women real work that pays the bills. But that’s not all, Tonlé creates clothing with zero waste. The company relies on two strategies for zero-waste fashion: creative pattern making that uses 100% of a given material, and producing garments from remnant materials.

You can learn more about their approach here:

Twitter: @tonledesign

Rachel Faller is at the helm of this operation and guess what?

She’s featured in our Top 10 best articles! You can learn more about that here:

Environmental pollution and poor working conditions are messing up people in the world. However, the socially aware companies above decided to bring forth positive change.

To them, it’s not only about profit, but also making the world a better place for all.

Don’t miss our incredible interview with Rachel Faller here!

5 Conferences Every Social Entrepreneur Needs to Attend

We’ve talked to hundreds of successful entrepreneurs and you know what they told us is one of the main keys to their success? Finding a mentor! Having a mentor can be the key to ultimate success, but how do you find that perfect mentor? Get away from your desk and attend a conference! That’s the key!

Any modern day social entrepreneur making their way pursuing their mission needs help along the way.

You’ve probably heard that you should get find a mentor if you want to expedite the process. Duh, right?

That’s something we can probably all agree on.

However, the bigger question that comes up isn’t, “how do I find a mentor?”. The question is, “how do I get someone to agree to be my mentor?”

You want someone who’s very successful and doing what you want to ultimately do. But the thing is, they are obviously busy and as much as they might want to help everyone they just can’t. Time is our most valuable commodity so if you want some of their time, it will take some work.

You can either offer them something in return that is of value – money or support of their business for example. Get creative.

The other thing to do is find a way to meet in person. There is nothing better or more powerful and a face to face discussion where people can see your passion and connect with you face to face.

This is such an important part of the process and many times getting someone to agree to a coffee for 15 minutes is very possible. Again, you might have to get a little creative to get them to become your mentor on a long-term basis, but this is a great way to start. So get out there and mingle! The right mentor is just waiting for you!

Here are our top 5 conferences for the social entrepreneur:

1. SOCAP 17

  • When: October 10-13
  • Where: San Francisco, CA
  • Price: Summer sale, $1,195 (ends September 1)

Sign-up here!

Want to meet investors for your social enterprise, this is the place to be!

This is essentially the world’s leading conference on social capital markets.

What you will find here is a gathering where powerful ideas are sparked and game changing partnerships get started.

The conference brings together social entrepreneurs, impact investors, funders, business leaders and other innovators and problem solvers from across the world.

Now in its 10th year, SOCAP is a catalyst for much-needed change, creating a vibrant market for ventures that support people, planet, and profits.

2. Agents of Change

  • When: September 15, 2017
  • Where: Portland, Maine or Virtual
  • Price: Packages range from $149 – $549

Sign up here! 

Social entrepreneurs need to scale impact so this really cool one day conference is on the list. They offer good speakers and it’s affordable!  They’ve been doing it every September since 2012.

It’s great for business owners, marketers, and social entrepreneurs who want to reach more of their ideal customers through search, social, and mobile marketing.

Past speakers have included Chris Brogan, Amy Porterfield, Pat Flynn, Sue B. Zimmerman, John Lee Dumas (check out our interview with John), Laura Fitton, Chris Ducker, Mike Stelzner, Jaime Masters, and much, much more.

This year they have a lot of inspiring keynotes from Jay Baer and Rich Brooks along with breakout sessions on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, content creation and more!

If you’re looking for great insights without the hype that will help you rank higher, engage your audience on social media, and generate more leads and business through your website, then you can’t afford to miss Agents of Change!

3. Opportunity Collaboration

  • Where: Ixtapa, Mexico
  • When: October 15-20, 2017
  • Price: $2,950 for all-inclusive which includes: 5 nights lodging & meals, full agenda, all leadership programs & activities, pre- & post-event networking services, airport transportation, onsite internet access, recreation facilities, and gratuities.

Sign-up here!

This is a very well thought out and executed event that provides a wonderful opportunity to connect with high-caliber like minded people solving problems in the poverty space.

This meeting annually convenes 400 global leaders building sustainable solutions to poverty offering the opportunity to engage social entrepreneurs, innovative non-profit executives, grant-makers, impact investors, corporate & academic field-leaders, and aligned media working around the world to solve common challenges and spark new opportunities.

Predicated on the powerful idea that out of fragmentation can come collaboration, from diversity can come unity, and from cross-fertilization can come innovation: the power of collaboration does not presume a single outcome. Rather, it draws its power from the conviction that people of good will forge their own solutions, directions, and alliances, and uncover new ways to combine and leverage resources.

4. Skoll World Forum

  • When: April 9-13 2018
  • Where: Oxford, England
  • Price: From $1,250 – $3,300 plus 20% VAT. This was the 2017 pricing and is subject to change for 2018. The attendance fee is determined by the sector in which the delegate works. There is no ‘early bird’ registration.

Click here for specific pricing tiers.

Imagine being a place surrounded by 1,000 of the world’s most influential social entrepreneurs, key thought leaders, and strategic partners.

Well, that’s exactly what you’ll get when you attend this iconic event at the University of Oxford’s Said Business School.

Change Creator Magazine has interviewed and shared incredible cover stories with several of Skoll’s award winning social entrepreneurs such as, Dr. Elizabeth Hausler, Dr. Alasdair Harris, Chuck Slaughter, and coming this November 2017, Taddy Blecher.

Exchange ideas, solutions, and information while building incredible relationships to help accelerate your own success driving impact.

Their mission is to accelerate the impact of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs by uniting them with essential partners in a collaborative pursuit of learning, leverage, and large-scale social change.

If you want to make it out to this event in 2018 you have to apply and can do so right here

5. Survive and Thrive

Related: 5 Powerful Truth From the Survive and Thrive Conference

We recently learned about this unique and exciting mission driven conference when a video from Daymond John and Kevin Harrington caught our attention.

If you’re really looking to find a mentor or build strong relationships, this is really good opportunity to do that.

This event is different than most others.

It’s actually held on a camp ground and rather than having thousands of people attend, they have a limited count of a couple hundred. Why? This is done to offer real impact through intimate coaching and networking with 1 on 1 mentorship, bonding with events and water sports or having drinks around a campfire.

That’s right. One minute you’ll be zip lining or building boats and the next you will be in 1-on-1 sessions with a mentor or impact investor.

It’s a really cool opportunity to get to know people in a dynamic environment.

  • Learn how to write a book and create high-impact viral trailers to deepen your brand value.
  • Meet with Investors and Mentors in an intimate setting of no more than 250 people.
  • Participate in Club Getaway challenges (access to 20+ fun activities including zip-lining, rock climbing, water sports and outdoor leadership/teamwork exercises).
  • Attend facilitated mastermind workshops and Q&A panels.
  • Want a friendly ‘Shark’ in your tank?  Vie for just 10 positions in the ‘Thrive Venture Finale’ on Sunday from 2-7pm and potentially walk away with funding to take your business to the next level!

Plus much more.

For more insights, you can listen to our interview with the founders. We just had to know more!

We hope you find some inspiration in these incredible conferences. We offered a variety to meet different needs. All will provide incredible value for your future.

Remember, you have to invest in yourself if you want to continue to grow and build a strong future. Connecting with people at these conferences will be priceless.

3 Powerful Lessons From Award Winning Social Entrepreneurs

There are many articles about what success is or how to be successful.

Personally, I believe it’s an important topic to study on a regular basis so you can learn the different perspectives and avoid a critical trap which I’ll talk more about later. Some people study success their whole life!

Those are two different questions and it’s important to understand the “what” to get to the right “how”.

The “What” (Level setting on what success is)

We’ve all probably said to ourselves at one time or another, “if I could just make $XXX about of money, I would be happy.”

After all, how great would it be to have all of your basic needs met, and then plenty left over for fancy cars , first-class vacations, maybe a boat or fine dining whenever you wanted?

Making money is a good thing, there’s nothing wrong with it. It might not buy happiness but it can make life easier and even allow you to impact other people’s lives positively.

The fact of the matter is that we live in an economic system that requires us to have money to live and put food on the table.

But there is a trap to be aware of.

The trap is when you’re led to believe that abundant wealth alone will get you to the destination of success and happiness. For example, studies have actually shown that once you cover your basic needs, increased wealth doesn’t create increased happiness.

While it doesn’t hurt to have those things it’s important to remember there is so much more to life.

Real riches that no money could ever buy- like meaning, fulfillment, family, generosity and appreciation – are found through other means, not simply through amassing money. We have to consider the full spectrum of human needs.

Many wealthy people have battled depression, anxiety, substance abuse, or have suffered from poor relationships. The point is this: those who are filthy rich have problems just like everyone else.

We recently had the honor of interviewing Tony Robbins for the March 2017 edition of our magazine Change Creator. This is a guy who has studied success all his life and is a world of wisdom. My first question to him was, “how do you define success today and has it changed over time”?

He shared a ton of insight and while I’m not going to get into all of it here, these were some of what I felt were his most important points:

  1. The more money you make, the more you spend and spending money is not fulfilling.
  2. A state of gratitude and appreciation are essential, as Tony believes that without those things, you have nothing.
  3. Pursuing your mission or your passion is a critical part of fulfillment and usually is not driven by money.

Would sitting at a desk doing accounting all day for 40 years be fulfilling? Sorry to any accountants reading this but not for me! Can you live your life purpose and make great money, hell yes! But that money becomes a byproduct of your passion.

Let’s talk about the how.

The “How” (3 Lessons for Success)

Every year the Skoll Foundation gives awards to entrepreneurs that are changing cultures and impacting lives through the living they make or the mission they are on. I have now interviewed 3 of those award winning social entrepreneurs and their stories are nothing short of inspirational.

If you’re not familiar with the Skoll Foundation, it was founded by Jeff Skoll in 1999 and is a foundation that drives change by investing in social entrepreneurs and innovators who help to solve the world’s most pressing problems.

“Bet on good people doing good things” ~John W. Gardner

A social entrepreneur is a person who uses entrepreneurial skills to solve a social and/or environmental problem by shifting the current “norm” of a system or culture. Systems come in all shapes and sizes.

These social entrepreneurs are motivated by a passion to help others. They are impacting lives and making the world a better place. That is something that is very fulfilling and will motivate you to wake up each day without the alarm clock. I like to call that the “Christmas Eve Effect”.

3 Priceless Lessons Learned

A quick tip before I dive into it. The mental game is a HUGE. Why? Because what you think drives your actions.

“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” ~Henry Ford

Lesson 1: Remain curious but stick to core beliefs

Mallika Dutt is the founder of the organization, Breakthrough and is a 2016 Skoll Foundation social entrepreneur awardee. She’s an energetic and passionate woman who is no stranger to taking risk. I was lucky to chat with her for our August 2016 edition of the magazine. Her organization, Breakthrough, is a global human rights organization striving to build a world in which violence against women and girls is unacceptable. This is a big challenge in India where she grew up. Her approach doesn’t just target women, her message is for all human beings to thrive.

How do you  tackle such an overwhelming issue? For Mallika, creating deep radical change started with pop culture. She decided to experiment with a music album and music video.  Taking on pop culture to talk about an issue was a revolutionary idea. Everyone told her that nobody wanted to hear music that was preachy.

Mallika even got Virgin records to back her with marketing support but they also did not agree with the music video storyline, saying it won’t work, and pulled their financial backing for development of the video. This meant Mallika had to figure out how to fund the development herself.

“Everyone in the entertainment industry thought i was crazy.” ~Mallika Dutt

Mallika many many small changes but the message was her core belief so she didn’t change direction but found a poetic writer to create powerful lyrics and studied all the great music videos she could find to understand what works.

Breakthrough’s video – Mann Ke Manjeere’ became the winner of the Screen Awards 2001 in India and nominated for MTV’s “Best Indipop Music Video”, reaching 26 million households.

Lesson Learned: Remain curious but stick to core beliefs

“Remain curious, engage, listen to the wisdom of others and then check back in with yourself, your heart and your gut and what you really believe in and at every point go through that dance because there will some things that are very easy to shift and change and there will be other things that are so core to what you believe in that giving up on that means giving up on yourself.” ~Mallika Dutt (Change Creator Interview)

When you’re pursuing something that aligns to your values and is deeply important to you it is a mission. It’s top priority.

You can either be swayed by others to give up on your belief or you can be so passionate that you become stubborn and forget to be curious and listen to the wisdom of others.

As Mallika showed, it’s important to stick to your core belief and at the same time continue to listen to others and change the easy things that can be shifted. Staying the course requires courage and persistence.

Lesson 2: Ideate and Explore the Unknown

Dr. Harris Harris (or Al as he prefers) is the founder of the company Blue Ventures. He is a Skoll Foundation social entrepreneur awardee, received the WWF Duke of Edinburgh conservation award and is an Ashoka fellow. Al was a reluctant social entrepreneur I spoke with for our December 2016 edition of Change Creator magazine. His story is truly inspiring.

As a biologist with a passion for coral reefs and marine life he learned that the native peoples of Madagascar, the Vezo, and trawlers were taxing the ecosystems at an alarming rate. For the Vezo, it was about putting food on the table for their family.

Al quickly realized that something had to change which meant discovering new tools and approaches to engage the people. However, he didn’t have money or a plan to do such work. “I decided to hang up my diving fins and try to develop business-based solutions to the problems I was seeing”, said Al. This is when Blue Ventures was born.

Venturing into the unknown, Al, began experimenting with new conservation techniques working closely with the Vezo. Those ideas were met with much skepticism at first. How do you ask someone not to fish when their families need food on the table?

But the experiment turned out to be a success and the Vezo became believers. Neighboring communities grew interested in replicating the process which then scaled up the coastline. At the heart of the Blue Ventures business model is eco tourism funded their conservation efforts. Actually, during the early phases of Blue Ventures, people just started sending Al checks because they were eager to take eco-tourism trips. Living in a world where money needs to be made, Al made financial sustainability a must from the start and built his model around paying his team and other expenses. Without it, the lights go off.

As you might have heard, innovation is a must in the world of entrepreneurship. New challenges tend to require a willingness and the courage to explore the unknown for new solutions. Al never ran a business or executed the solutions he hypothesized. He fully assessed the situation and determined what he would need to run an experiment. He was willing to take a risk to test a new idea he believed in.

Lesson 3: Mission & Money Work Together

When people think of social impact and the idea of social entrepreneurship they might relate it specifically to nonprofit structures only or believe that good money cannot be earned. That’s simply not true and has been proven otherwise many times. Running an impact business has proven to do quite well. Look at TOMs or Sevenly.

Al’s top priority was conservation. But after assessing the problem he quickly realized he would need to figure out a way to fund his mission. That is where eco-tourism came into play. This created jobs for the locals and funds his business extremely well. At the same time this model exposes more people to the beautiful natural habitat and people that live there giving them an amazing experience to remember.

While money was not the primary reason for Blue Ventures creation, it was important that his business model baked in financial sustainability.

Blue Ventures would not have been able to scale and expand its conservation efforts without a smart business model. Al believes that the business model was key because using donations as an ongoing source of funding is unstable and vulnerable.

The mission and passion are the motivator or purpose and the money is a tool for growth and continued success.

Final Thoughts

With today’s world of endless marketing and an economic system driven by money it’s easy to lose sight of what’s important. We need to keep in mind abundant wealth alone will not take you to your destination of success and happiness.

Don’t be fooled. As we can learn from those who study the dynamics of success and what it truly means in life, we find that it goes far beyond the collection of material possessions or money. It captures the heart of a person and what they were born to do in life, their mission and purpose. These are elements of the human condition that truly motivate us and provide a sense of fulfillment.

Mallika Dutt and Dr. Alasdair Harris were both motivated and driven by problems near to their heart. This gave them the energy and will to persist through even the greatest challenges. They were unstoppable and believed deeply in what they were doing.

Their success can teach us powerful lessons that should be considered seriously. Always remain curious and listen to the wisdom of others so you can pivot where possible but don’t change your core belief or primary mission. Both stories demonstrate this.

When approaching new challenges you have to be willing to explore new solutions that might not work out. We have all heard that you need to take risk and while this sounds basic, it holds a lot of truth. Again, both stories illuminate this very well. I hope you see the trend now with these award winning social entrepreneurs.

No business can be sustained or scale without a smart business model for income. It’s how the world works so bake it in from the start but don’t let be your mission, it’s a tool to support the mission.

Great companies start because the founders want to change the world… not make a fast buck.” ~Guy Kawasaki

5 Ways To Stay Highly Productive and On Your Game

girl in the sun happy

Most people don’t realize how many opportunities we have each day to practice mindful meditation. You literally get a new chance with each breath. So why take the time? A recent study discovered that even a few weeks of meditation training improved participants’ focus and memory for the verbal reasoning section of the GRE (with a 16 percentile point score increase).

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9 Business Model Examples for Social Enterprises

A business model is a structure, design or framework that a business follows to bring value to its customers and clients. However, there are at least three measures of the success of a business model—its ability to generate profit for its owners, its ability to generate positive change in the world, and its ability to achieve a balance of profit and positive change. The first approach applies to traditional for-profit companies; the second approach applies to traditional charities; and the third approach (a balance between profit and positive change) applies to social enterprises.

Given the definition above, a social business model is a structure, design or framework that a social business follows in order to bring about a positive change while maintaining healthy financial returns. Yet despite sharing this basic framework, social entrepreneurs have a wide spectrum of viable social business models to choose from.

To help shed light on that spectrum, in 2012 Wolfgang Grassi (aka W. Grassi) identified nine types of social business models. He began his analysis with three factors guiding any social business: the mission, the type of integration, and the target population. He then explored the way in which these three factors intersected with the three traditional categories of business (for-profit, not-for-profit and hybrids) to generate the nine specific types of social business models that any social enterprise could adopt.

Let’s have a look at them:

1. The Entrepreneur Support Model

This model of social enterprise (SE) sells business support services directly to the entrepreneurs in its target population. In other words, this type of SE helps entrepreneurs get their businesses off the ground. Support can come in the form of consulting services, training, microfinancing or technical support. Organizations that belong to this category may include economic development organizations, business development service organizations and microfinancers.

Examples to Inspire:

2. The Market Intermediary Model

This type of SE generally helps their clients by marketing or selling their clients’ products or services for them. For example, an organization that helps struggling small farmers by marketing and to sell their crops for them would belong to this category.

Want to dig in right now and figure out your impact model? We love this book: Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers which is a great tool, resource and guide to get you started! 

3. The Employment Model

This type of SE provides their clients with job opportunities and job training. Revenue generated by those jobs pays for the SEs expenses and flows back into the services provided for those in need. Many youth and disabilities organizations adopt this model.

Examples to inspire you:

4. The Fee-for-Service Model

The fee-for-service model is one of the most commonly adopted SE business models. The SE charges the customer directly for the socially beneficial services it provides. Many hospitals, schools, museums and membership organizations use the fee-for-service model to a greater or less degree.

Examples to Inspire You:

5. The Low-income Client Model

SEs in this category generally offer social services directly (as in the fee-for-service model) while focusing on low-income clients. Hospitals and healthcare programs that offer their healthcare services to low-income patients often adopt this model.

6. The Cooperative Model

This is one of the most widely recognized categories of SE. The cooperative is generally a fee-based membership organization that provides member services to a group that shares a common need or goal. The cooperative is owned and operated by its members, who both run the cooperative and receive the benefits of its success. Two of the most well-known types of cooperative include credit unions and employee-owned businesses (“co-ops”).

7. The Market Linkage Model

SEs that serve as brokers for their clients often adopt this model. These SEs focus on building relationships and otherwise connecting their clients with markets for their clients’ products and services. However, unlike SEs adopting the market intermediary model, these SEs generally do not market or sell their clients’ products and services for them. Many trade associations adopt the market linkage model.

8. The Service Subsidization Model

This type of SE funds social programs by selling products or services in the marketplace. Service subsidization is one of the most common SE models, as almost any SE can adopt it. In contrast to organizational support SEs (see below), service subsidization SEs integrate their internal business with external social programs. For example, a law firm may use the revenue generated from the firm’s regular law practice to fund a social program that provides free law services to those in need. The firm may run the program out of their own offices and may provide the free law services themselves.

If you want an easy, scaled-down book to read, why not try Business Models for Dummies? It’s got a lot of info that is easy to digest! You might just want to spend a few afternoons getting into that one.

Examples to Inspire You:

9. The Organizational Support Model

This type of SE, like a service subsidization organization, sells products or services to fund social programs. However, the social programs they fund are part of a separate, parent organization. In other words, an organizational support SE raises funds for a parent non-profit that, in turn, runs the social programs the SE wishes to support.

Although most social enterprises may fall naturally into one of W. Grassi’s nine categories above, there is always room for new and combined models to emerge. If your social enterprise cannot achieve its goals through one of these business models, you may choose to explore entirely new ones.

Examples to Inspire You:

Ready to start planning your business?

Here are some great resources about the Business Model Canvas:

Business Model You: A One-Page Method For Reinventing Your Career

This is a great place to start building out your ideas. Business Model You is just that. Start with you, build a business model that aligns to your personal values. Starting with you, you’ll figure out where you want to go and how to have a lifestyle that lines up with your personal mission.

Here you’ll not only discover how to create your personal business model canvas, but you’ll also do the hard work of reinventing yourself — something we can totally get behind here at Change Creator!

The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses

Eric Ries’ powerhouse book is a must for any entrepreneur that wants to start a business, not just a hobby. After reading this book, you’ll not only look at your business differently, you’ll have the insights and strategies to get there.

Anyone that wants to grow a business must first read The Lean Startup. That’s just a fact. If you haven’t gotten a hold of it yet, what have you been doing with your life? But seriously. You can find the latest edition here!

You might also enjoy:

7 Productivity Myths Busted: Are You Falling For Any Of These?

When you’re starting a social business, there are a gazillion things you can do to get it off the ground, spread the message and bring about the change you want to see in the world. You try your best to do it all – get the newest gadgets, spend more hours at your desk every day and even multitask like your life depended on it.

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3 Social Entrepreneurs Blazing New Trails Toward Sustainability

change creator

As industrialized nations struggle to slow the process of environmental degradation and resource depletion, social enterprises are forging innovative new pathways toward sustainability.

Around the world, people are waking up to the fact that many of their current practices are unsustainable – damaging to both natural environments and indigenous cultures around the world.

We’ve seen fires, pollution, deforestation, and oil spills that have disrupted marine life and underwater ecosystems. But in light of these environmental disasters, hope and innovation are flourishing.

Findings from a market intelligence agency, Mintel, show several promising consumer trends taking shape. About half of consumers surveyed reported that they trust small companies to make good decisions, while 56% claimed to have stopped purchasing products from companies they deem unethical.

Despite the many hurdles social entrepreneurs must overcome, like acquiring funding and building community support, research suggests that it pays to be an ethical organization in the long run. Employee retention rates are easier to maintain, along with customer loyalty and vendor partnerships. Everyone, it seems, is more willing to hop on board with a company that sticks to its values. Some estimates even suggest that ethical businesses last longer and earn more over time.

Upon recognizing the dire need for values-driven business in today’s ecological climate, social entrepreneurs are building business models that benefit the environment rather than sacrificing it.

The following three social enterprises have conquered challenges, achieved astounding results, and transformed ineffective environmental practices around the globe.

One Acre Fund

  • Organization: One Acre Fund
  • Social Entrepreneur: Andrew Youn
  • Focus Area: Environmental Sustainability, Poverty, Agriculture
  • Regional Focus: Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Uganda, and Malawi
  • Major Awards: Skoll Award, Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur Award  

What they do:

Since 2006, One Acre Fund has worked to empower African farmers to increase their harvests through a variety of educational initiatives. With the ultimate goal of eradicating poverty, One Acre is already supporting nearly a million farming families. Their data shows massive agricultural improvements of up to 99% in sustainability. They educate farmers on new planting methods, replace kerosene with solar lighting, and make tree germination more accessible. African farmers are taught about the importance of crop rotation and introduced to the process of composting. One Acre Fund’s four-step business model involves both financing and material distribution to ensure farmers get the most out of each harvest.

Why it’s important:

Among the poorest populations in the world, farming is the primary occupation. A variety of issues faces African farmers, including inflated fertilizer costs and limited access to desperately needed financing. Landlocked countries like the ones One Acre Fund work with often have a difficult time accessing materials. They travel to distant locations on poorly paved roads, ultimately driving up the costs of production.

Key strength:

Andrew Youn takes a concrete and practical approach to eliminating poverty. He believes it is not “geniuses” we need to solve these widespread problems, but simply more support workers to do the jobs they’re good at. His business model takes a ground-up approach and helps farmers from start (financing) to finish (market facilitation). In this way, One Acre Fund is incredibly unique. It doesn’t specialize in one area, but assists farmers in every way, from direct, hands-on education, to fertilizer distribution and profit maximization. The organization operates on the assumption that the answers already exist – all that is needed is to get your hands dirty and do the work. 2

Forest Trends

  • Organization: Forest Trends
  • Social Entrepreneur: Michael Jenkins
  • Focus Area: Environmental Sustainability, deforestation
  • Regional Focus: Worldwide
  • Major Awards: Skoll Award, MacAurthur Foundation Award

What they do:

Forest Trends is an organization that has worked to preserve forests through innovative finance since 1998. They release transparent reports on ecosystem markets and collaborate through coalitions and partnerships to implement environmentally conscious practices. Forest Trends fosters a variety of initiatives, like the Katoomba Group, which aims to expand markets like watershed protection and carbon storage, and the Communities Initiative, which partners with Native communities to protect forests in Latin America.

One-third of the excess CO2 in the atmosphere since 1750 has come from deforestation

Why it’s important:

Deforestation has become a deeply concerning problem.

It’s estimated that 150 acres are destroyed every minute of the day, with more than 20% of the Amazon rainforest already lost.

As loggers systematically work their way through forests, animal and plant ecosystems are entirely disrupted, while indigenous tribes are often displaced.

Forest Trends has found that more than 90% of the world’s poorest populations depend on forests for cultural preservation and economic stability.

Key strength:

Founder Michael Jenkins cites his time at the MacArthur Foundation and his experiences around the world as crucial learning opportunities. As many successful entrepreneurs do, Jenkins began to recognize a specific gap in the NGO world – a lack of connectivity. Instead of starting yet another organization with separate and isolated objectives, he founded Forest Trends to initiate connections between various groups – some of whom previously perceived each other as opposing forces. Thus Forest Trends filled a market gap – one that desperately needed filling for the sake of environmental progress.


  • Organization: Triciclos
  • Social Entrepreneur: Gonzalo Munoz
  • Focus Area: Environmental Sustainability, eliminating waste
  • Regional Focus: Chile (but is expanding to other countries)
  • Major Awards: BMW Foundation Responsible Leaders Awards, B Corp Best of the World
  • Website:

What they do:

Based on a strong belief in circular economies, Triciclos seeks to revolutionize recycling and eliminate waste entirely. They educate communities visually through beautiful recycling stations in South America. These large and colorful displays are hard to miss – they function as small waste-sorting facilities while simultaneously teaching citizens how to recycle different kinds of materials like paper and glass. Their software features a recyclability index and inventory system. Triciclos strives to transform consumer habits through education and direct community action.

Why it’s important:

Most people are still not educated on the rules and regulations that surround the recycling industry. We have single vs. dual stream recycling, yet many people are unaware which kind of service manages their neighborhood. In addition, there are numbers printed on materials that designate which kind of receptacle they should be placed in. We’ve seen cases of recycling fraud where materials don’t make it to the facility. And unfortunately, recycling bins are often contaminated with waste materials, causing everyone’s contributions to ending up in a landfill.

Key strength:

As the first B Corp certified in South America, Triciclos is paving the way for other social enterprises to follow suit. Founder, Gonzalo Muñoz has created a business model that sets the business apart from most other recycling initiatives in that it directly invests in people. Sanitation workers can operate a Triciclos recycling station as an entrepreneurial project. The organization also shares a third of its profits with all of its employees, who earn well over minimum wage. By investing in the community, Triciclos gives people a sense of ownership and a willingness to help the organization flourish.

2 of the Top Markets with Big Opportunity for Social Entrepreneurs

Modern society faces numerous issues. From extreme poverty to worldwide hunger to planetary concerns that include pollution, climate change, diminishing natural resources and an ever-increasing list of endangered animal and plant species—there is no shortage in the challenges that face our world.

Nonprofit and government agencies have been the go-to in previous and present times of crisis. While social entrepreneur organizations can be nonprofit, they can also be for-profit and a hybrid between the two, and they are bringing government and businesses together to create change.

Social entrepreneurs are making their mark in addressing key issues and solving these in unique and individual ways by applying business practices to social problems. A prime example of this is Scott Harrison, founder of charity:water, a nonprofit that has raised more than $230 million and provides safe and potable drinking water in 24 countries.

In order to truly succeed as a social entrepreneur, it must be a cause that drives you forward through difficult and often overly-regulated, triple-copied bureaucracies that can make change daunting. The following represent two of the opportunities ripe with need. Find the one that stirs your soul and lead the way.

The Sun

The International Energy Agency (IEA) believes that “Without decisive action, energy-related greenhouse-gas emissions will lead to considerable climate degradation with an average 6C degrees global warming.”

Renewable energy is one of the answers to this worldwide concern and solar energy is leading the way. According to the IEA, “The U.S. could install 305 gigawatts of solar by 2030 and 737 gigawatts by 2050.” Those numbers represent an increase of approximately 1000 percent from today’s current capacity. Just 16 years ago, 1,000 solar power installations could be found on America’s rooftops.

Today that number is close to one million. In addition, the cost of installation is half of what it was just six years ago. The technological advances that have lowered installation costs have also increased availability worldwide. According to Think Progress, “Over the past four decades, for every doubling in scale of the solar industry, the price of solar modules worldwide has dropped roughly 26 percent.” Nationally and globally, installation of clean energy is exploding.


Approximately 1.3 billion people live without access to a power grid around the world. Enter the social entrepreneur who can often overcome potential government hold-ups. Bringing affordable renewable energy to rural communities provides light and power for schools, homes, businesses and farms. Consider SunCulture—an innovative sustainable energy company that created an “AgroSolar Irrigation Kit.” This solar-powered drip irrigation system waters crops by pulling water from available sources. SunFunder finds investors for individual solar projects. Their goal is to finance $1 billion for solar loans by 2020.


If you live in the United States, you probably see food waste every day. The statistics, in a world where more than 700 million people suffer from hunger, are truly daunting. According to The Guardian, our need for perfect, unblemished fruits and vegetables is the root cause of the current trend of throwing out anything less than perfect and this occurs at the level of farmers, packers and distributors. Approximately 60 million metric tons of produce worth about $160 billion is thrown out every year by retailers and consumers.  When you add the food left in the fields or in the warehouses due to their imperfections, it is estimated that almost half of all produce grown goes to waste. And that’s just in America. Globally, approximately 1.6 billion metric tons of produce at a value of $1 trillion is wasted every year.

Food waste in developing countries is largely due to poor equipment or lack of transportation. In wealthy countries it is largely due to the high aesthetic standards.  If the hunger crisis facing the world calls to your inner social entrepreneur, consider how the countries below have made a difference.


The Danish city of Horsens calls the food waste outlets pop-up shops. They collect food from supermarkets that may be nearing its best-before-date or has damaged packaging and then sells it at discounted prices to those in need. Denmark is making a concerted effort in the battle against waste and has cut it by a quarter since 2010. The UK calls these same types of shops social supermarket chains. Company Shop was founded more than 40 years ago and is UK’s largest redistributor of surplus products. They stop 30,000 metric tons of food from going to waste by redistributing it to communities in need and offering the food at discounted prices.

Power and food—two of our most vital needs as a people and yet many around the world are without. If social entrepreneurs have their way, there will come a day when everyone will have ample food and a light to lead the way.

At Change Creator, we inspire and empower people to earn a meaningful living that positively impacts the world.

Approximately 60 million metric tons of produce worth about $160 billion is thrown out every year by retailers and consumers.

Women Leading Social Change: 5 of the World’s Best Female Social Entrepreneurs

This has been recognized by many of the world’s leading thinkers and doers including the Dalai Lama, who said:

“According to scientists, women have more sensitivity than men. Sometimes I really feel that more women should take responsibility in the leadership of our planet. It would mean less violence.”

Beyond the numbers, beyond UN statistics, there are thousands of leading female social innovators who are reinventing how to address pressing issues and effecting change on a regional and global scale.

Having women social entrepreneurs is good for any number of reasons (for the most cut and dried, go back to those UN statistics). But one reason that’s often left out is that women, especially at the grassroots level, have the perspectives and ingenuity to effect change benefiting other women and society more broadly in a very efficient way.

It’s women, for instance, who often understand the barriers to accessing the resources for change. It’s women who understand that programs after working hours often don’t work for women because, in most traditional countries, they’re expected to care for children or cook. Women, more than men, better understand the challenges their children face when it comes to accessing education, finding employment, and getting health care. These are the perspectives that women bring to social innovation that make their participation so significant.

With this in mind, here are five of the world’s leading female social entrepreneurs. They’re spread out all over the globe, with women working in diverse areas with diverse people. Some of them you may have heard of, others probably not.

Remember, if one organization speaks to you, don’t hesitate to reach out and get involved. These organizations are often hiring and are always taking volunteers. Don’t be afraid to venture out and get involved, even if the organization is far away from your home.


  • Organization: Afghan Institute of Learning
  • Social Entrepreneur: Sakena Yacoobi
  • Focus Area: Early Childhood to Primary Education, Women’s and Girls’ Education
  • Regional Focus: Central and Southern Asia
  • Major Awards: Skoll Award, Ashoka Fellowship, Opus Prize, Schwab Social Entrepreneur   
  • Website:

What they do:

Over the last twenty years, the rights of women, access to education, and the availability of healthcare and health information have floundered in Afghanistan. Simply attending school or getting a book was almost impossible under Taliban rule, especially for women. Today, the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL) is working to rebuild an education system across the country by training teachers (21k to date), health staff (10k to date), and operating a hospital which sees 2000 patients per month.  

Why it’s important:

AIL is spreading education and health information across a country that, after nearly three decades of war, has a vacuum. The teachers AIL trains, the nurses they inform, and most importantly, the boys and girls they teach will go forth in their country with the skills and knowledge to rebuild Afghanistan and bring prosperity to the country.


  • Organization: Breakthrough
  • Social Entrepreneur: Mallika Dutt
  • Focus Area: Human Rights
  • Regional Focus: Central and Southern Asia, North America
  • Major Awards: Lipman Family Prize, Skoll Award
  • Website:

What they do:

With its mission of making violence against women and girls unacceptable, Breakthrough uses media arts, and technology to change norms. Through classroom modules, leadership development, educational entertainment such as interactive theater, video vans, call-in radio shows, online games, and mass media public service advertising, Breakthrough is training people from all backgrounds and changing societal norms to make the world less violent toward women.

Why it’s important:

Breakthrough is truly reaching a large audience in India and the US. Since their founding, their campaigns have reached millions of viewers and over 500,000 people have participated in their training sessions. What’s more, their work with lowering the prevalence of child marriage has resulted in an increase of nearly a year in the marriage age for girls in villages where the program operates.

How to Use Pop Culture to Tackle Human Rights Issues

Change Creator exclusive interview with Malika Dutt

Mallika Dutt & Sonali Khan of Breakthrough Accept the 2016 Skoll Award


  • Organization: 96 NISAA FM
  • Social Entrepreneur: Maysoun Odeh Gangat
  • Focus Area: Civic Engagement
  • Regional Focus: Palestinian Territory, greater Middle East
  • Major Awards: Ashoka Fellowship, Synergos Fellowship, CGI Fellowship, Schwab Fellowship
  • Website


What they do:

96 NISAA FM is the first commercial, Arabic language, women-focused radio station and website in the Levant. 96 NISAA FM, meaning women, uses the airwaves to empower women through the use of media and through providing a platform for everyone to come and discuss women’s issues.

Why it’s important:

96 NISAA FM uses a unique and new approach to addressing women’s issues in the Arab World. Through media, it transforms how women see themselves and how they are perceived and seen in regional and global media outlets. 96 NISAA FM is also used to present women with positive role models, give them information on professional growth and development, and encourage more of them to enter the global media stage.   


  • Organization: Roots of Peace
  • Social Entrepreneur: Heidi Kuhn
  • Focus Area: Peace, Human Rights
  • Regional Focus: Central, Southern, and Southeast Asia; Europe; Middle East; Africa
  • Major Awards: Rotary International “Service Above Self” Award, “Walk the Talk” Award from UN World Environment Day, Skoll Award
  • Website


What they do:

Roots of Peace aims to revitalize war-torn parts of the world. They do this in several ways from the most fundamental, like removing landmines, to the more nuanced, like restoring farmlands so that people can work and earn a living.

Why it’s important:

Roots of Peace (ROP) works all over the world removing landmines and other remnants of war so that land can be cultivated again and people can go back to productive work. From 2004 – 2014 alone, ROP helped to put one million farmers back to work and created tens of thousands of jobs in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia.


  • Organization: Saúde Criança
  • Social Entrepreneur:Vera Cordeiro
  • Focus Area: Economic Opportunity, Education, Health
  • Regional Focus: South America
  • Major Awards: Ashoka Changemakers: Innovations for Health, Top 500 NGOs, Skoll Award
  • Website:


What they do:

Saúde Criança is an organization that, with its pioneering methodology, helps children who require hospital care and live below the poverty line and pushes families toward economic and social self-sufficiency. Among other things, Saúde Criança offers vocational training to families, provides housing and housing improvement, and runs programs for pregnant women and adolescents.

Why it’s important:

Saúde Criança uses a groundbreaking approach to social change which has been studied and shown to work by studies at Georgetown University. Because of its success, the methodology has been replicated at 23 institutions in 6 Brazilian states, which has helped more than 50 thousand people across the country. The methodology has even been incorporated in several hospitals in Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte.



3 Expert Tips For Winning Your First 1,000 Loyalists

Have you ever heard of the “breaking the fourth wall” concept? It’s an acting term that refers to the moment when a performer stops reciting their lines and talks directly to their audience. At that time, an actor or actress crosses an imaginary line and turns their audience into participants in their show.

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3 Inspiring Stories of Women Changing the World

inspiring women

Recently, I read an article about the Dalai Lama and why he believes women make great leaders and could lead to a less violent world.

He has even gone on to state that his successor, the 15th in the holy line of his Tibetan monastery, could be female.

Why is this? Well, according to science, females biologically tend to demonstrate more affection and compassion.

At the same time, women can be tough and unstoppable! My sister is a Ph.D. in psychology who spent several years in the Air Force and also trains dogs for special needs. My wife is one of the toughest female leaders I know as she blazes a trail through her years of residency as a rock star surgeon and works hours I wouldn’t wish upon my own worst enemy.

This article is a tribute to women out there crushing it and hopefully an inspiration to others that we need out there taking a lead!

There are countless female social entrepreneurs literally changing lives and the world around them. Social entrepreneurship more important than ever today for tackling large global challenges.

Without further ado, here are 3 impressive women shaking things up.

Mallika Dutt, President, CEO and Founder, Breakthrough.

As a bold passionate leader, Mallika Dutt, is an attorney and human rights activist taking on what seems to be an impossibly large problem. Breakthrough was founded in 1999 with the mission to prevent violence against women by transforming the norms and cultures that enable it.

Here’s a shocking statistic – discrimination and violence impacts more than a BILLION females!

Breakthrough was founded in 1999 after she produced a music video that was intended to engage whole societies and bring the taboo subject of domestic violence into pop-culture.

Now they regularly use theater, social media, pop culture, and to drive change on a larger scale.

For example, their #DeportTheStatue campaign used a stunt-style strategy to draw attention to the specific disadvantages and abuses that immigrant women experience in a flawed immigration system. The campaign reached more than 20 million people and mobilized new audiences in support of the rights of immigrant women.

In addition, they even train police, government officials, teachers, and frontline healthcare workers to help prevent future systemic violence against women and girls.

Breakthrough is one of the six recipients of the 2016 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship!

I had the honor of interviewing Mallika to find out how she did it all. You can find the feature story along with the interview in issue 4 of Change Creator Magazine.

Reese Fernandez-Ruiz, Founder, Rags 2 Riches.

Rags2Riches is a brand creating positive change through fashion. They work with women in an area called Payatas. Also, known as one of the poorest parts of the Philippine capital.

The Payatas waste dump is home to 12,000 families and women created a way to earn a living by recycling scrap material to make rugs. However, when middlemen got involved they took the bulk of the profits, leaving the women to earn just $.02 per rug.

In 2007, Reese Fernandez-Ruiz cofounded the social enterprise, Rags2Riches, a fashion & design house empowering community artisans.

Fernandez-Ruiz and her team connected with designers who demonstrated how the rugs could be transformed into fashion handbags, eyeglass cases and wine bottle holders, all for sale in top-end shops. They partner with local artisans to create “eco-ethical fashion and home accessories” out of upcycled, overstock cloth & indigenous fabrics and arrange for them to sell their products direct to retailers.

Over a few years they were able to increase the earning potential for those women from less than $.02 per day to $10 per day.

Hundreds of women now work for Rags2Riches.

Reese Fernandez, 2010 Rolex Laureate from Rolex Awards for Enterprise on Vimeo.

Lindsay Hemric, Founder of Teeki Yoga Wear

If you’re not already aware, the world is facing a major challenge with plastic pollution, specifically water bottles. According to the UN, “of the 300 million tons of plastic produced in the world each year about 6 million tons end up in the oceans.” Americans throw away approximately 35 billion plastic bottles per year!

Teeki actually takes water bottles and turns them into clothes giving them new purpose through an eco-friendly process. They are on a mission to keep plastic out of landfills. Plastic bottles take hundreds if not a thousand years to breakdown and biodegrade. Teeki’s process of turning plastic into clothing helps remove the need to produce more raw materials. According to their website, “every pound of Teeki conserves an equivalent of half a gallon of gasoline.

Now, I learned about Teeki because my wife bought their Yoga pants. One pair of pants might use up to 25 plastic bottles and the material that is the result is amazingly soft!

Teeki is all about living an active and conscious lifestyle.

These strong women are changing the world, creating meaning and acting with a purpose in their own ways and share a common characteristic of a great leader and social entrepreneur, compassion.

3 Tips From Social Entrepreneur Sam Goldman

Sam Goldman is D. light’s co-founder and CEO. He is an Ashoka Fellow and World Economic Forum Young Global Leader. Along with co-founder Ned Tozun, he is recognized by Forbes as one of the world’s top 30 social entrepreneurs. In 2013, D. light won the $1.5 million Zayed Future Energy prize.

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7 Social Entrepreneurship Conferences to Look Forward to In 2016

Are you a social entrepreneur or just someone interested in the idea of setting up a social business? Why not learn and build your network by attending an event geared towards social entrepreneurship?

You might be surprised with the number of social impact conferences happening every year. This is a good sign as it means more and more people are engaged in businesses and projects that could bring lasting positive impact in the world.

Although some events come with a hefty registration fee, they are worth looking into, especially if you have the budget. For those who cannot afford to go, some of the conferences offer fellowships or volunteer opportunities.

Want to know what conferences to check out? Here are 7 of the most popular social entrepreneurship events in 2016.

1 Social Innovation Summit

When: June 7-8, 2016
Where: Ronald Reagan Bldg., Washington DC
Who Can Attend: Tech entrepreneurs, students, professionals
Cost: Day 1 Only $895, Day 2 Only $995, Full Conference $1, 495

Are you wondering how you can incorporate social entrepreneurship with technology? Are you interested to learn how business innovation can meet social transformation? Then head off to the Social Innovation Summit and learn from the different speakers of this twice-annual event.

Held in Washington DC and Silicon Valley every year, the Summit gathers more than 1000 professionals from different sectors in the society. Get a chance to meet Fortune 500 Corporate Executives, venture capitalists, government leaders and nonprofit heads.

Technology is at the forefront in this event, but investment, philanthropy and international development are also given the spotlight. This is open to everyone, and you can register to attend for only one day or opt to join the full conference.

2 Collaborative + Classy Award

When: June 14-16, 2016
Where: Boston, MA
Who Can Attend: Non-profit organizations, foundation professionals, students
Cost: Free for nominees of Classy Awards and accepted fellows of the program

The Collaborative brings together leaders, influencers and innovators from all over the world to share their knowledge and experience with the participants. This yearly event is ideal for young social entrepreneurs who are starting out or are already engaged in their own businesses. What’s great about this conference is its fellowship program aimed at students or recent graduates who are interested in social innovation. The competition is tough, but if you have what it takes and you make it through as a Fellow, this is a great venue for you to learn from the top leaders and innovators. One of the event highlights is the Classy Awards. They are given to organizations and social enterprises that have shown excellence in social innovation. The nominations closed early in February, but there is always next year to apply. 

3 DIGIMARCON West 2016

When: June 15-16, 2016
Where: Santa Monica, CA
Who Can Attend: Senior marketers, entrepreneurs, digital executives and other professionals
Cost: Virtual: $295, Main Conference, VIP & All-Access Pass: Starts at $595

The best thing about Social Entrepreneurship is it covers a lot of industries. For digital marketing fellows and enthusiasts, the event to attend is DIGIMARCON West.

There is no denying the importance of digital marketing in running a successful business. Most social impact businesses are web-based, so it is a must to be updated with the latest strategies and innovative technologies.

Topics like Content Strategy, Social Media, and Data Analytics will be covered in this big event attended by digital marketers and social innovators. DIGIMARCON is also happening in Houston, Toronto and New York so you can catch one nearest you.  


When: June 21-23, 2016
Where: Washington DC
Who Can Attend: Entrepreneurs, community organizers, students and professionals
Cost: In-Person: Starts at $350, Live Stream: free

MCON recognizes each generation’s desire to contribute and make a difference in the world. From a one-day virtual event in 2011, MCON has now grown in leaps and bounds and has expanded its reach to 14,000 online visitors and 300 in-person attendees in 2015.

Participants can take part in the discussions, listen to the speakers and network with other attendees. The goal is not just to inspire, but also to spark a movement and create change in their respective communities and organizations.

5 Social Capital Markets (SOCAP) Conference 

When: September 13-16, 2016
Where: Fort Mason Center, San Francisco CA
Who Can Attend: Social impact investors, Venture Capitalists, entrepreneurs, and professionals
Cost: Starts at $795

The Social Capital Markets (SOCAP) Conference is an annual event taking place in San Francisco CA. Since its inception in 2008, SOCAP has drawn more than 10,000 people and is considered as the largest conference on social impact investing and social entrepreneurship.

Investors are looking for new businesses to fund, and SOCAP is a venue to find social entrepreneurs with big ideas needing some seed money. In the event, participants are educated on impact investing and how it can benefit a lot of social enterprises.

To date, SOCAP has helped over 1,000 entrepreneurs, and they continue to support them through scholarships and trainings. The conference is open to anyone interested to attend. It’s best to buy your tickets as soon as possible as this is always a sold-out event.

6. Global Entrepreneurship Summit

When: No Date Yet
Where: Silicon Valley, CA

The Global Entrepreneurship Summit is happening in Silicon Valley this 2016. This exciting event has convened in different countries all over the world. This year, America will be on the spotlight as it showcases the best of what the country has to offer in terms of entrepreneurship.

Venture capitalists, impact investors, global leaders and entrepreneurs will gather together and come up with initiatives to address social issues. The event also offers opportunities for entrepreneurs to build networks with industry leaders so they can put their ideas to action.

Silicon Valley is the perfect location for the event because of its dynamic vibe and can-do spirit. There are no dates for the Summit yet, but check out their website and sign-up for their newsletter for updates.

7 Igniting Innovation Summit

When: No Date Yet
Where: Cambridge, MA

Igniting Innovation Summit is perhaps one of the most exciting social entrepreneurship conferences coming this 2016. Organized by Harvard undergraduate students, this event gathers together big names in the social impact sector. Although this only runs for a day, the event promises a full-packed program.

Last year’s summit held pitch competitions for startups, showcased interactive presentations from young innovators, and engaged everyone in powerful keynote speeches from three big influencers.

This year is bound to be even bigger and better. No date is announced yet, but do check out their site for updates. There you have it, seven of the most exciting events on social entrepreneurship. If you have already decided on what event to attend, do not wait until the last minute to buy your tickets. For those who cannot go to any of the events mentioned, you can always plan for next year. As a startup social entrepreneur, you have to go out of your way to collaborate and network with other like-minded individuals. Attending conferences can help you do just that

6 Simple Ways to Become an Effective Leader

Leadership is the art of persuading others to complete a goal or task. A boss is just the person in charge, but a leader is someone who inspires and guides. Are you a leader or a boss?

We often use these words interchangeably, but they mean very different things. A boss is a person in charge giving orders. A leader may also be superior, but they are invested and engaged. A leader has a positive effect on workplace culture in ways a boss can not. Here are our tips to help become an effective leader:

The Golden Rule We all know, “Do unto others as you would have done to you.” Leaders follow this axiom. Treat your team the way you want to be treated, and the way you want them to treat your customers. You set the standard of behavior. Leadership is about being an example.

Personal Growth The best way to grow your business is through your own personal growth and the growth of your team. Encourage and reward team members for continuing education for personal and professional growth. Your commitment to development will improve your team.

Seek Feedback Embrace feedback from your team as an opportunity to learn. However, employees may be a little gun-shy. Reach out to your team. Ask how you can improve as a leader. Listen to hear, not just to respond. Avoid negative reactions and listen to what your team is telling you.

Be a Role Model Your behavior and characteristics are a model for your team. If you walk the walk, your team will follow. Your employees see you as a model of success and naturally emulate your behaviors. Be the change you want to see in others.

Reward & Recognize An effective leader will appreciate the work and dedication of their team. Those who are recognized and rewarded tend to work harder and are more loyal. Treat your team well and they will treat you well.

Keep Promises Your credibility relies on keeping promises. It does not matter your knowledge, charisma, or ability. It all goes down the drain if one can not keep promises. A strong moral compass is essential to effective leadership and removes any questions about your integrity.


3 Success Tips from TOM’s Founder Blake Mycoskie You’ll Love

Blake Mycoskie started his first business when he dropped out of college after his sophomore year. The company, EZ Laundry, soon employed more than 40 people, and was generating close to $1 million in sales. Blake sold that company in 1999.

He went on to create an outdoor billboard company, co-found a cable network, an online driver’s education service, and a marketing firm specializing in brand development and viral marketing.

While in Argentina in 2006, Blake met his future wife. The charity she was involved in inspired him to create Shoes for Better Tomorrows (TOMS).


TOMS has expanded from its beginnings as a one for one for-profit company, donating one pair of shoes to an impoverished child for every pair of shoes sold. Now TOMS donates sight-saving surgeries from their line of sunglasses, and a TOMS Bag purchase supports Giving Partners, delivering vital materials and training needed to help provide a safe birth regardless of the facility.

In 2011 Blake wrote the New York Times bestselling book, Start Something That Matters. The book tells the story of TOMS. The book also gives six simple keys for creating or transforming your own life and business.

Here are 3 success tips from Blake Mycoskie that are unique and thought to provoke.

ONE: On where to get business advice, Blake says:

You don’t always need to talk with experts; sometimes the consumer, who just might be a friend or acquaintance, is your best consultant.

TWO: Blake’s tip for efficiency:

The best tool I have for efficiency is always carrying a journal and as simple as that sounds, one of the things that is most exhausting for a human being is remembering things. So what I found is anytime I have an idea or thought or something I want to do, if I write it down as part of a continuous list, then my mind doesn’t have to store it, so my mind can be more efficient and more creative by not having to remember all these things.

THREE: Blake’s thought on one the one for one business model:

Giving builds loyal customers and turns those customers into supporters…You can find passion and profit and meaning all at once, right now.

Blake’s experiences are inspiring to people all over the world. If you’d like to create a business with purpose check out our Essential Startup Guide for the direction you need to get going!

Further read:

5 Simple Tips for Effective Networking You Will Love and Use!

Networking can be intimidating. If you’re a new business owner, the task can seem even more daunting with the added pressure to sell yourself and answer the dreaded “so, what do you do?” question. Learning how to make a notable first impression is essential to growing your business and creating lasting relationships.

Effective networking is actually fairly simple, and we’ve put together a short list of tips to kick-start the process for you.

1. Don’t be Afraid to Sell Yourself

As much as you don’t want to think of yourself as a salesman, having the confidence to self promote is absolutely essential for effective networking. Having an elevator pitch handy (a quick, persuasive sales pitch) that you’ve practiced can help break the ice. Business Insider published a great article on “How to Sell Yourself in 30 Seconds and Leave People Wanting More” which guides you through the steps of creating your elevator pitch.

“Your elevator pitch should answer three questions: Who are you? What do you do? Where do you want to go, or what are you looking for? You need to know exactly what you want to achieve or no one can help you get there.”

2. Research

You don’t want to be that person standing awkwardly in the middle of the room. Before attending a networking event, make sure you do some research and have some topics of conversation tucked away. Research an individual you hope to connect with prior to the event and discover some of their interests, hobbies, most recent publications or accomplishments.

3. Relate on a Personal Level

Saying, “I loved your most recent article on xyz topic” shows the individual you’re informed, but relating on a more personal level, such as talking about an interesting hobby, or something you both have in common, shows that you’re a real person. People love to talk about themselves. Open ended questions are a great way to spark continued conversation. Effective networking doesn’t need to be all about the business.

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4. Listen

Thinking only of how you can profit by networking with an individual is a rookie mistake. Of course the goal of networking is to exchange information and eventually profit from your new contacts. However, focusing only on those individuals who can benefit you will be apparent, even if you don’t realize it. Practice active listening. Don’t brush someone off, interrupt, or try to force a sale. Even if the connection isn’t effective immediately, it may be in the long run. Which brings us to our last tip….

5. Remember to Follow Up

Your effort in effective networking will go down the drain if you fail to follow up to reaffirm the connection. After meeting a new connection, make sure to get their contact information/business card and send a brief follow up email mentioning what you talked about in conversation, how you can help them, and how you’re looking forward to possibly working with them or speaking with them again in the future.

Effective networking doesn’t need to be complicated. Practice makes perfect. Follow the simple tips above and add your own personal flair. You’ll feel like a pro in no time. Contact us to learn more about effective networking strategies, pursuing meaningful work, or becoming your own boss.

I’m passionate about social entrepreneurship and making the world a better place. I have over 15 years of professional business experience and have founded 2 companies as an entrepreneur.

Right now I’m the founder of Change Creator magazine app which is truly designed to push mindful business, making it the standard to use business to solve social and environmental problems. “Business as usual” is no longer an option.

Check out the magazine for free with this 28 page starter kit.

Get Empowered with updates and stay on top of your game!


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4 Destructive Mental Habits That Successful People Don’t Have

Habits are more than just the things that you do; they’re who you are and how you feel. Your habits define the amount of success you can achieve and how you’re destined to react to any given situation. And there are four destructive mental habits that successful people don’t have. Each one will erode your mental and emotional resources, drive you to make bad decisions, deplete your energy, and waste time that you’ll never get back.

1. Waste
Successful people know how much energy they have before decision fatigue sets in, and they only use their energy to move them toward their goals. On the other hand, most unsuccessful people waste more energy than they purposefully expend. Start treating your mental energy like a scarce resource, and say no to distractions and extraneous tasks. You’ll be amazed at how much more focused you’ll be on your goals when you stop giving away your mental energy.

2. Worry
Successful people are faced with problems and decisions that would make others curl into a ball in the corner and cry for their mommies. But they face these issues with clarity and calm, and avert crises on a daily basis. They’re able to accomplish this by recognizing the futility of worrying. Worry isn’t a solution, it’s just a bad habit that many people can just as easily decide not to make. Most people worry because they are choosing to focus on variables outside of their control. Successful people face the facts of the situation and don’t waste time thinking about unknown factors, what-ifs, or conjecture. By staying focused on finding a solution, on the facts at hand, and what they have control over, they avoid draining their valuable resources on something as pointless as worrying.

3. Doubt
A little self-doubt can be a healthy thing. But when doubt is your dominant emotional state, then you cripple yourself before you even start. People who habitually doubt themselves fear failure more than they fear standing still. Successful people have a much greater fear of standing still than they do of failure because they understand that failure doesn’t stop them from achieving their goals — inaction does. They don’t have time to doubt themselves because they’re too busy taking action toward their goals. If their action fails, then they try another but they always push forward.

4. Blame.
Because successful people accept failure as a natural part of their journey to success, they don’t waste time blaming others when inevitable setbacks happen. Instead, they try to figure out what happened, what they can learn from that failure, and then plan their next move.

Trying to cast blame whenever things don’t go according to plan is a corrosive exercise that sows seeds of distrust, disloyalty, and fear among your team. That will only lead to more dysfunction. However, this doesn’t mean that successful people don’t hold those around them accountable. If mistakes were made, those who committed them know that repercussions will be fast, final, and fair.

Successful people are an elite group of action takers who don’t allow knee-jerk emotional reactions to compromise their vision or their goals. This does not mean they’re emotionless, disinterested in their employees, or narcissistic; they’re simply able to avoid common mental pitfalls that keep so many others from attaining their goals. By not allowing these four pitfalls to hinder your progress, you’ll be well on your way to greater success in your industry, and you’ll benefit from a new-found confidence and determination.

5 Daily Routine Changes to be a More Productive Entrepreneur

I’ve learned that relationships are important in all aspects of life. There are many reasons why relationships matter but I speak to 3 which are applicable to anyone.

Some people may be introverts and if you’re an entrepreneur you might have that tendency to try and manage things behind the computer if possible. Let’s face it, it’s easier when you don’t have to put yourself “out there”. Can you develop a relationship online, yes. However, I will confidently say, there is no better way to build good relationships than in person. It’s a very different experience. So, you have to be willing to put yourself out there.

For example, it’s like the boy who’s afraid to ask the girl to dance because he doesn’t want to face potential rejection. We can guarantee one thing in that situation. By not asking the girl to dance, the boy 100% guarantees he will not dance with that girl and rather than feel pain from rejection he will likely feel pain of regret later. That was never me of course (wink).

Speak up and engage people. Get out to events that help you meet people you want to talk to. Help others in need. Take someone out to lunch or coffee. Life is just better when you have a network of reliable support but it not just about receiving, its also about giving. You have to be willing to do both. Building a team or network of people is defined in the social entrepreneur industry as “building your tribe“. Again, no matter what the circumstance in life it’s always better to have a strong network of people you can rely on.

When you approach a transitional time in your life it’s important to not do it alone. Build a community of friend and people you can rely on for support. Having these relationships is key!

Below are 3 key take aways I’ve learned after looking back on my personal experience. Many people may feel this is common knowledge but it’s amazing how many people don’t take action.

Essential Guide to Starting a Successful Startup You Love


ONE – Show me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are

This is a tricky one and could get me some criticism but it’s worth discussing so hear it out. We don’t want to judge people but who you surround yourself makes a difference, a big one. I have learned this first hand over and over. It is said that if you calculate the average of your closest 5 or 10 friends total income it will reflect your income. Think about that for a minute. How is this possible? Why do people like Tony Robbins study successful people and learn from their success? They are studying how they think. The environment around you triggers thoughts and those thoughts trigger action or lack of. What you think matters tremendously. Energy is very contagious between people. So, if you surround yourself with people that see opportunity in everything and are progressing in life then that will rub off on you and lift you up. They got those good vibrations!

So, you want to spend time with people who are doing what you aspire to do.

If you ever played sports you might have noticed you perform better when you hang out with the best guys on the team. If you hang out with the people that complain and really don’t perform well, you will be dragged down with them. This applies in anything you do. I have experienced it first hand many times. At the end of the day, the people around you are the people who are influencing you. They are putting ideas—good or bad—into your head. They are the people you’re learning from and getting better with. So get amazing people around you each day!

TWO – Friends will do favors for friends and go the extra mile to help you

Who are you more inclined to help out, someone you know in passing as an acquaintance or someone that you have connected with as a friend? This does not mean you should strategically become friends with someone to take advantage. However, when you are friendly and listen to people and maybe put a little effort out to develop a relationship a bit more than usual, you have a stronger support system. Have you ever gotten a discount because you know someone, or maybe you got a job or even a promotion at work because your boss was a friend who was more willing to push for you to succeed? As the saying goes, “it’s who you know, not what you know”. Build a strong support system, help others and they will help you.

THREE- Speak up and the Universe Just Might Respond (law of attraction?)

If you have a vision for your life you should write it down, talk about it, make a vision board. Whatever you can do to bring what’s in your mind into the physical realm and begin sculpting it. Without a vision you are playing darts with out a dart board. You are a fart in the wind! Be willing to talk to people about that vision and tell them what your dreams are and what you love. After all, if it’s your passion it should be top of mind and all you want to talk about anyway. I usually talk to everyone about what I’m thinking and I pick their brains. A few years ago, I was looking for insights and advice from another entrepreneur and as always picked that persons brain and told them my thoughts. Years later, I got a call from that person who offered me partnership in a great new opportunity. He said, base on our discussions he knew it aligned with me and that I would be a good fit. What if I never opened my mouth?

Research has shown that being more extroverted in daily behavior can lead to more positive moods. So step out of your comfort zone, talk to people, listen to people, help people, and build your tribe!

I’m passionate about social entrepreneurship and making the world a better place. I have over 15 years of professional business experience and have founded 2 companies as an entrepreneur.

Right now I’m the founder of Change Creator magazine app which is truly designed to push mindful business, making it the standard to use business to solve social and environmental problems. “Business as usual” is no longer an option.

Check out the magazine for free with this 28 page starter kit.

Get Empowered with updates and stay on top of your game!


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3 Young Bright Minds Changing The World

We are faced with many challenges today and one of our greatest untapped and infinite resources on Earth is the human brain. As Will and Ariel Durant say at the conclusion of Lessons of History, the only sustainable revolution is in the minds of people. It’s an absolute disgrace that an estimated 5 billion people on this planet live in poverty today. Over 80% of the world’s population lives on less than $10 per day and over 50% live on less than $2.50 per day!

Human beings are born curious and despite challenges with our educational systems some beautiful creative minds today continue to surface and share amazing new solutions to problems that make the world a better place.

The younger generations, such as the millennials, seem less concerned about making money and more concerned about finding “work” that offers purpose and fulfillment. Work that renders social capital (improvement of the quality of life) which is far more valuable to the world than financial capital.

There are an endless amount of amazing minds out there making a difference today.

Below, we share the stories of 3 of them.

ANN MAKOSINSKI: Thermoelectric Flashlight

For more than a billion people across the planet, electricity is a limited, rare commodity. Sixteen-year-old Ann Makosinski from Canada learned of this reality and dedicated a science fair project to the situation. “I’m half-Filipino, half-Polish, and I was talking with a friend who lives in the Philippines,” Makosinksi recalls. “My friend was failing school because there was no electricity at home. She was supposed to be studying at night. I came to find out that a lot of people around the world don’t have access to electricity and wanted to find a way to help people in that situation.” Human beings have electricity running through their bodies at all times.

A light bulb went off in Ann’s head, who then created a prototype for the hollow flashlight which is a hollow aluminum tube that cools the sides of Peltier tiles at the flashlight’s cylinder. The warmth from the human hand heats the other side, thus creating power. This gave her a flashlight that needs no batteries or solar charge. This simple yet brilliant idea won her the Google Science Fair and has the potential to improve the lives of people all around the world.

Since before Ann could walk she was interested in experimenting. Her flashlight brought her to the Canada-wide science fair, where she earned a gold medal and was awarded for distinction in the energy sector. She won first prize in her age group at the 2013 Google Science Fair. And this year she is slated to be on Team Canada at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF). “I was listed in Time magazine’s ‘thirty under thirty’ and have given three TED Talks, too,” she says.

RYAN HRELJAC: Clean Water For Developing Countries

The Ryan’s Well Foundation grew from the commitment of one boy, Ryan Hreljac, who at the age of 6 learned of the great need for clean and safe water in developing countries in his 1st-grade class. With the support of friends, family and the community, Ryan raised enough money to build a well in Africa.

In 1999, at age seven, Ryan’s first well was built at Angolo Primary School in northern Uganda. Although Ryan started raising money for water projects in 1998, the Foundation was not formed until 2001. Since then, Ryan’s Well has helped build over 822 water projects and 1025 latrines bringing safe water and improved sanitation to over 805,813 people. Over the years, the foundation involved over 650 schools in 30 countries in fundraising activities.

Each year, they share their message with over 120,000 people, mainly youth, through various speaking engagements. Now, the work of Ryan’s Well has become the story of countless people, young and old, from across the world who are inspired to take responsibility and make a difference either in their own communities or like Ryan, in faraway places. Ryan’s story has made people realize that anyone, even kids in

Grade 1, can make a difference. Ryan Hreljac – Ryan’s Well

ANGELA ZHANG: Cancer Fighting Nanoparticle System

At the age of 17 Angela was a Senior at Monta Vist High School in California. She was working on an after-school project which in turn won her the $100,000 grand prize at the Siemen’s Competition in 2011.

What she developed was a nanoparticle system that not only allows for noninvasive imaging of tumors but also delivers drugs to attack cancer cells. “Angela created a nanoparticle that is like a Swiss army knife of cancer treatment,” said Tejal Desai, a bioengineer at the University of California, San Francisco, and a competition judge. “She showed great creativity and initiative in designing a nanoparticle system that can be triggered to release drugs at the site of the tumor while also allowing for noninvasive imaging.”

After her big win, she did countless media interviews, got to ring the bell at the New York Stock Exchange, and even met President Barack Obama. Angela originally envisioned herself attending Stanford and staying home in Silicon Valley, however, she landed at Harvard which has also been good to her.

“Learning is taken to another level. It’s like drinking a fine wine with multiple flavors and depths of complexity,” Angela said. “Part of the joy of learning at Harvard is coming from her supportive classmates who are in the same rigorous grind.” “It is a stressful place, but it’s not stressful from competing against one another,” she said. “We are a common force going up against the school, trying to conquer all the things they throw at us.”

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Start Defining Your Target Audience With These 10 Questions

The very first step in any communication or marketing strategy is defining your target audience so you can tailor your message or pitch appropriately. For businesses, this is usually your typical potential buyers of a product or service. For a nonprofit, it could be potential clients for a program, volunteers for an initiative, advocates to spread a message, or donors to support a cause.

One of the biggest mistakes that budding personal branders make is trying to appeal to everyone. Think about the game of darts: You have to aim in order to hit the board. If you don’t have a dart board you’re aiming at nothing.

There are many ways to go about discovering the ideal person. You must define their demographics and psychographics.

Below are some examples of things to think about that would get you started.

1. How Old is my Ideal Client?

Defining an age range for a your ideal audience is a very basic but great first step that has to be considered. You may feel that you appeal to all ages. In that case you need to create segments and prioritize them. If you try to reach everyone, you won’t reach anyone.  If you were running a socially conscious progressive media platform, anyone can read that but you’d likely get more attention from the younger generation, therefore, you’d probably want to prioritize your efforts around them. You can always expand your targeting later when you have captured that first segment.

2. Is my Ideal Customer Male or Female?

Women make most of the buying decisions in families, but some products or services tend to garner men’s attention more. If a small business caters to both sexes, that’s also important to know. If you’re not sure, you can always run a test using platforms like Facebook to collect a bit of data on who is most receptive to your offer/message.

3. What is my Ideal Customer’s Income Level?

This question not only indicates what price point the product or service should target, it also potentially gives people in business leadership a glimpse at the ideal customers’ education level and occupation. It’s important to understand where a person’s head is at based on the conditions they live.

4. Where Does my Ideal Customer Live?

If your audience comes from a 50-mile radius around the physical location, there is no need to spend money or time advertising elsewhere. Or, if all sales are done online, knowing which areas of the country generate the most revenue can help in future planning.

5. How Do my Current Customers Differ From my Ideal Customers?

A small business can have a core group of loyal customers but still be looking to expand that base as mentioned earlier. Maybe the ideal customer is willing to spend more with the company or requires fewer interactions to close a sale–shorter sales funnel.

6. What Are the Values Held by my Target Audience?

Do your ideal customer’s values align with your startup’s values? Companies that know their ideal clients’ beliefs and values can use that information when creating their social media content strategy. If the values are fluid, that’s important to know, too. It shapes how you talk to them so you they are receptive.

7. Are You Reaching an Aspirational Audience and do They Buy Into You?

Perhaps a small business caters to people who need a product or service immediately. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t a lot of people who might want the product in the future. Many times, people need to buy into you or your story before they actually buy from you. So it can take time and several small commitments (ie. signing up for an email list) before they spend anything. Creating a mystique about a service or item using social media platforms can keep a business at the back of clients’ minds.

8. Where are You Customers Online?

You have to figure out where in the blogosphere and social networking world your idea customer hangs out.  There are plenty of services a social entrepreneur could use to reach potential clients, but they each have inherent strengths and weaknesses. If they are a new entrepreneur they might be reading a business blog but connected to that is the social media marketing blog, tech blog and maybe even news/culture.   Twitter, for example, is not as good for product photos as Instagram or Pinterest. Owners have to learn about each platform and whom each serves and what their key qualities are.

RESEARCH: Click here for Pew Research Center’s Demographics of Key Social Media Platform’s

9. What problem and I’m solving for my ideal customer?

You need to be able to describe what problem you’re solving for your ideal customer and how you’re solving it. A close look at a product or service will indicate its most appealing attributes based on who would benefit most from it. Perhaps it is eco-friendly or custom made and you’re reaching a person who is a new mom looking for safe eco-friendly solutions.

10. What Motivates my Target Audience to Action?

Business owners can get a head start on targeted messages when they know what moves their ideal clients toward taking the plunge. Is it a coupon? A free gift with purchase? Online recognition of their purchase? Any of these factors are helpful to know.

10 Reasons Why Branding Is Important for Any Social Enterprise

People in today’s society is pretty standard. They wake up, and while getting ready for the day, they are likely checking the news and not just on CNN or Fox…In addition to these traditional sources of information, consumers today are connected to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and any other variety of social media networks and online communities. […]

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6 Steps to Become Willing to Take Risks

Many of today’s entrepreneur’s and business leaders will tell you that one of the ways to become successful is to take big risks. Business leaders take risks every day when making decisions. They have to introduce new products to an uncertain market, find new ways to outshine competitors and make daring decisions that pay off very well. How can you become a grade A risk-taker? Here are some handy tips to begin taking risks in your life!

1. Do your homework first.

Taking a risk isn’t exactly the same as taking a blind leap of faith into the abyss. Every good risk is preceded by the necessary amount of diligent research. You should examine all your options and find out the risks and rewards associated with your decision before you make it. What could possibly go wrong? What are the worst things that could happen if you fail?

2. Be prepared for failure.

Nobody wants to fail, but it is something that sometimes feels inevitable. After all, the Silicon Valley model is “fail fast, fail often.” If you do fail, will it totally cost you your business and leave you bankrupt? Or perhaps you will only lose a few weeks of time. Make sure you know the consequences of what will happen if you fail. You should also make sure that you have some sort of safety net to fall back upon.

3. Learn to face your fears.

You should never do a head dive into something you are totally scared of. However, there is another way of getting over your fears. Perhaps you fear to talk to new people or trying a new marketing strategy. The best way to get over such a fear is by facing it a little at each time. This is called exposure therapy, a means of facing your fears by slowly exposing to them a little at a time. If you fear talking to new people, start off slowly and start small conversations with strangers. If you fear a new marketing strategy, test it on a micro level and slowly scale upwards.

4. Don’t be a perfectionist.

Just because you can’t pull it off perfectly doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do your best. Plans are hardly ever executed as they were intended to, but that doesn’t mean those plans are always unsuccessful. The fear of not doing something good enough is what keeps many people from taking risks at all.

5. Ask yourself what will happen if you don’t take a risk at all.

What happens if you don’t do anything and just stay still? What will happen if you decide to play it safe rather than being bold? What will the consequences be? For example, if you never went for your Bachelor’s degree in college, you might be stuck with a high school diploma flipping burgers for the rest of your life. If your company does not try marketing in a new industry, your competitors might overtake you.

6. See your failures as an opportunity to learn something new.

Even the greatest of us make mistakes. After all, Thomas Edison failed a thousand times before he successfully made a single light bulb. Just see your mistakes as something to learn from and know that your future endeavors will be improved because of it.

These items are by no means a comprehensive way of making sure that you are ready to take risks in both your business and personal life. However, these will serve as stepping stones for you to become less risk adverse and make the decisions you need to make. These items are by no means a comprehensive way of making sure that you are ready to take risks in both your business and personal life. However, these will serve as stepping stones for you to become less risk adverse and make the decisions you need to make.

7 Simple Qualities of Great Leaders

Leadership is the ability to influence and motivate human minds to achieve the desired objectives. In order to lead, it is imperative that one have certain leadership qualities. Leaders walk the talk and lead by example.

Are all people born with leadership qualities? It’s often argued that leaders are born, they are not made. Although some people more than other may be natural born leaders, no one will disagree that these born leaders also learn many leadership qualities.

Some important leadership qualities include:

Strong communication

It’s very important for them to have good communication skills. A heart-to-heart relationship with the people is a must for any leader. People should feel comfortable in expressing themselves in front of the leader.

“I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people.” — Mahatma Gandhi


Leaders tend to be visionaries that understand the future so they can make decisions smart decisions. Dhirubhai Ambani was a visionary who made certain decisions which were initially termed crazy but later changed the face of the Indian industries.

Take smart calculated risks

It’s said that the greater the risk, the greater the reward. A leader should not confine themselves to a comfort zone where they are happy with how things are already.

Constant Innovation

A leader constantly innovates to stay in sync with the modern time so they face new challenges more effectively.


An honest leader is trustworthy. People show tremendous faith in such leaders. It is said that it is easy to preach but difficult to practice. So a leader should always preach by his action.

Mahatma Gandhi did what he preached; he never compromised with his integrity. This is why even British respected him. A leader has to show consistency in their words and deeds. They should not change their stance too often as it confuses the masses and hurts their credibility.


It’s important to not allow decisions to be influenced by such criticism. Leaders have the ability to withstand criticism and not get carried away by it. He or she should always work for the benefit of the people and should not try to please everyone. If you try to please everyone you will fail because you’ll likely please nobody.


Leaders motivate others and create a healthy positive environment around themselves.

5 Reasons It’s Important to Take Risks

Risk is a word that a lot of people fear. Uncertainty is not something that people generally enjoy. We want to know what we can look forward to, and we would like to make sure that the future is going to be okay.

Unfortunately, to become successful you must take risks. It’s the only way to success. But the key is to take, calculated risks. Don’t be sloppy, do you research. The difference between being a “risk taker” and a “calculated risk taker” could be the difference between success and failure.

If you do not wish to live a life of mediocrity, you have to put yourself out there and be courageous, unshaken after making mistakes. There is no way around it.

So, why is this important?


Big unforeseen opportunities can come from taking a risk.

We tend to see risk as a bad thing, it’s scary and dangerous. However, on the flip side, while not every risk you take will pay off, some do, and if you’re not willing to take a risk you can guarantee failure.

“The biggest risk is not taking any risk” Mark Zuckerberg

As long as you calculate the risk that you can take, you may be able to find something more valuable if you simply choose to move forward even with doubts in your mind.


Risk-taking actually makes you stand out from the crowd.

If you are working in the corporate world or at a startup, you will notice that leaders take risks. This demonstrates confidence in their team. Of course, they will be held responsible for their actions if ever something goes wrong. However, this is what leadership is all about after all. Only those who can make the hard decisions are worthy to be named leaders. Not taking a risk means always being safe, and never standing out from the crowd. You will always be just a follower.


You won’t become successful simply because you wish or pray for it.

You have to grab it and pursue it. Success is not something that anyone waits for, it does not happen to you, you make it happen.

The number of opportunities that will be given to you in this life will come and go and may be limited. You have to acknowledge them and take your chances, otherwise, those opportunities will just pass you by.

Wise people will always tell you that you often regret the things that you did not do, rather than the things that you did. Don’t end up wondering what if, do what you can right now.


Taking a risk every now and then will help you get rid of the fear of failure.

Many of us are afraid to fail. While to some extent this may actually be a good thing, it can be quite paralyzing and may lead you to become an overly critical person when analyzing things.

In your lifetime, you will be expected to make decisions. Taking risks, failing and realizing it’s OK and you can try again, will help you overcome the fear of failure.


Mistakes are the greatest teacher.

If you don’t take the risk, you won’t make mistakes. However, that also means that you will learn nothing.

The reason why people who don’t make mistakes aren’t successful is that they haven’t learned enough from their experiences. You can only grow mature intellectually and emotionally once you start creating mistakes, and you learn how to handle and move on from these failures.

Risk may be scary, but it is something that will lead you to master your craft.