SDG08 – Decent Work and Economic Growth

These social entrepreneurs are accomplishing Sustainable Development Goal 8, Decent Work and Economic Growth: Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all

How to Change the World, with Bethany Tran, The Root Collective

The Root Collective sells comfortable, handmade shoes and accessories that create jobs for people who need them. Bethany Tran, the founder of The Root Collective, knows how hard it can be to start up a business. “Most businesses fail in the first 18 months,” she says. “I think it’s less about money, and more about how much it’s going to rip your guts out.” Bethany knows something about perseverance. Five years ago, she started a business working with artisans in the poor neighborhood of Colonia La Limonada in Guatemala City. Starting out, she didn’t get it quite right. “When I first launched the business, I tried to do way too…

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Developing Young Entrepreneurs, with Dario Otero, Youth Lens 360

Youth Lens 360 is a for-profit marketing company that works with youth. Youth Lens 360 provides visual communication, product marketing, and branding services through the lens of youth ages 14-24. Dario Otero, the founder of Youth Lens 360, has seen first-hand how the education system does not support, nurture or value entrepreneurial thinking. “I’ve found in my teaching and leadership experience that underrecognized youth of color have a naturally creative and resourceful entrepreneurial spirit. That gets ignored in traditional education settings,” he explains. “As a result, youth will eventually lose that capacity and enthusiasm for education. They don’t stay engaged when we don’t connect what they are learning to the real…

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This Social Entrepreneur uses Chocolate as a Force for Good, with Shawn Askinosie, Askinosie Chocolate

Askinosie Chocolate is a bean-to-bar chocolate factory that sources cocoa beans directly from farmers in low-income countries. For more than a decade, Shawn Askinosie has been searching for a way to make an impact. “For me, the sense of purpose comes from my faith,” Shawn explains. He has been associated with a Trappist monetary near his home in Springfield, Missouri for over 17 years. “And, I think it really springs forth from my compassion, that results from my dad’s death.” Shawn’s father died of lung cancer when Shawn was only 14 years old. His mother also died at a young age. “When those things happen to us, whatever sorrow it…

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Weaving Artisans and Markets Together, with Alicia Wallace, All Across Africa

All Across Africa creates sustainable jobs to alleviate poverty in Africa. Travel is a key component of Alicia Wallace’s journey. When she was 14 years old, she visited slums in Mexico. At the time, she thought “this isn’t right.” She wondered if there was a model that creates homes, jobs, and dignity for people, without depending on charity. She knew she wanted to commit her talents and energy to serve others. While attending university in Seattle, Alicia found a job at a law firm. Within two years, she was managing the firm. “I thought that was going to be my career path,” Alicia explains, “to climb a corporate ladder and…

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Used Bikes, Big Impact, with Calla Martin and Mary McKeown, Express Bike Shop

Express Bike Shop is a learning lab where young people develop the habits and skills for work. Today might be a good day to ride a bike. In fact, almost any day is a great day to ride a bike. Biking can be fun. It’s great exercise. It reduces your carbon footprint. The environmental impact of manufacturing and maintaining a bike is far below that of a car. The only thing better for the environment than a new bike is a used bike. And the only thing better than a used bike is a used bike that provides jobs for young people with a barrier to employment. Express Bike Shop…

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Moving from Aid to Opportunity, with Jennifer Paige Holt, Building Markets

Building Markets’ mission is to reduce poverty in conflict-affected countries by creating jobs and encouraging sustainable economic growth. Jennifer Holt grew up in Alabama, a place she says, “has a dark history of racial terrorism.” This history drove Jennifer’s sense of purpose. “I can be an idealist to a fault sometimes, but I’m also a realist,” she explains. Her early work was in direct service, working with adolescents. But it was when she worked in Kosovo with Andrew W. Mellon Foundation‘s Forced Migration Program that her focus began to shift. Jennifer began to see how the economic ecosystem can impact the population. “I decided that I wanted to look at…

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An Ecosystem for Small Businesses, with Christopher Webley, New Rules

New Rules is a one-stop-shop for creatives and small businesses. Christopher Webley has always known that he wanted to be an entrepreneur. At the age of 11, he started a lawn care business. He printed flyers on his home computer and handed them out to the neighbors. Soon, he was so busy, his father took notice and decided to help. His dad bought a truck and started transporting Christopher to his jobs on the weekend. In exchange, Christopher helped his dad with cleaning buildings during the week. During college, Christopher started a menswear clothing line. After completing his degree in Textile Technology, Christopher went to work for Victoria‘s Secrets. As…

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Sustainable Community Development through Entrepreneurship, with Marcus Owens, NEON

Northside Economic Opportunity Network, better known as NEON, provides entrepreneurs in North Minneapolis with business development services. Marcus Owens is a product of North Minneapolis. He grew up there, graduating from North Community High School. He bought his first home there. Then his second. He says, “I always wanted to find a way to give back to this community.” Marcus has long been an entrepreneur, operating real estate and financial services businesses. He also worked at a regional bank and a large retailer. He ran a small nonprofit. By 2012, he was looking for more ways to give back to the community. He found his way to the board of…

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116, Tom Streitz, Twin Cities RISE | Ending Poverty through Personal Empowerment

Twin Cities RISE transforms lives through personal empowerment and meaningful work. In the United States, one of the richest countries in the world, why does poverty persist across generations? The path out of poverty is complex, but it almost always involves meaningful work. And, while it often takes technical skills to find a job, more often the barrier to work involves power skills – emotional intelligence, social intelligence, confidence, belief, a sense of self-worth. Through their Personal Empowerment program, Twin Cities RISE creates transformative change, self-confidence and self-reliance. Twin Cities RISE helps individuals in poverty to find long-term, meaningful and stable employment. When someone joins Twin Cities RISE, they are…

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114, Satyan Mishra, Drishtee | Developing Sustainable Communities

Satyan Mishra of Drishtee is developing sustainable communities in the villages of India. In the late 1990s, while Satyan Mishra was working on a government contract, he had the opportunity to visit many villages across India. In India, more than 775 million people live in small villages. Nearly half of them live on less than one dollar per day. Satyan saw how the presence of a computer in a village could have an impact. His company, Drishtee started setting up kiosks in villages. By 2006 they had set up over 1,000 village kiosks. And yet, as Satyan told me, “I realized that what we had done had not really made any…

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