Minnesota

The Bold North

These Minnesota changemakers are part of the problem-solving capital of the new economy. They define what it means to forge north.

The Power of Telling Your Secret, with Aneela Idnani Kumar, HabitAware

HabitAware makes Keen, a smart bracelet to help manage Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRBs). For 20 years, Aneela Idnani Kumar had a secret. She spent her life in shame and embarrassment. One day, unexpectedly, her secret came to light. This moment transformed her life, and in the process, helped thousands of others. Aneela grew up in a somewhat atypical Indian American household. “My parents came to this country in the 1970s with $500 and one suitcase. They made their way to upper middle class. My mom broke away from tradition as a dentist with her professional practice. In contrast, my father worked primarily from a home office and was in charge…

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Social Entrepreneur Live, Part 2, Danielle Wojdyla, Señoras de Salsa

Señoras de Salsa makes bold, authentic Mexican salsa that generates income for Latina women. Latina women suffer from the largest pay gap of any group. According to the latest report from the US Department of Labor, the average median weekly earnings for a white man is $1,004. In that same period, white women earned $825, or 82% of a white man’s earnings. Latino men earned $722, or 72%, while Latina women earned $612, or 62%. Danielle Wojdyla, Founder of Señoras de Salsa, cares deeply about this issue. “We don’t all have the same opportunity for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” she says. “Women get messages all the time,…

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Social Entrepreneur Live, Part 1, Precious Drew, Perk: The Natural Beauty Lab

Perk: The Natural Beauty Lab upcycles fair-trade, used coffee grounds from local coffee shops to create natural skincare products. Precious Drew’s reserved, yet bubbly personality naturally attracts people to her. Yet, she has a bit of a contrarian streak. “I’ve always challenged the norm and enjoyed debates arguing the less-popular opinion, whether I agreed with it or not,” Precious says. “I liked the challenge of being able to fully understand and argue for opinions I don’t exactly agree with.” Precious likes to defy expectations. “I grew up in a household with seven siblings: six older brothers and one younger sister. I never really followed what my brothers did. From a…

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Software to Improve Recovery Outcomes, with Melissa Kjolsing Lynch, Recovree

Recovree’s technology-based platform is designed to increase engagement and improve outcomes for those with substance use disorder. When it comes to substance use disorder, it’s easy to focus on the negative. You’ve seen the headlines. Every day, more than 115 Americans die after overdosing on opioids. Nearly 21 million Americans have a substance use problem. And more than 30 million Americans suffer from an eating disorder. And, of course, the cost of abuse goes beyond the headlines. It is likely that you or someone in your extended family has suffered from the harmful effects of addiction. But this story is not about substance use disorder, addiction, and destruction. This is…

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Announcing Four Guests for Social Entrepreneur Live!

Social Entrepreneur Live! Four entrepreneurs. Fifteen-minute interviews in front of a live audience. Answering your questions. Today, we’re announcing the names of the four entrepreneurs who will be interviewed for the Social Entrepreneur Live event on October 10, 2018. They are: Precious Drew, PERK: The Natural Beauty Lab Danielle Wojdyla, Señoras de Salsa Aneela Idnani, HabitAware Caroline Karanja, 26 Letters We’ll interview these four world-changing entrepreneurs, live in front of an audience. The entrepreneurs will take questions from you. Here’s how you get into Social Entrepreneur Live First, order a Twin Cities Startup Week ticket on Eventbrite. NOTE: You’ll have to do this before you can sign up for the scheduled events. Following that, you will…

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Closing the Adult Education Gap for Employers and Employees, with Ned Zimmerman-Bence, GogyUp

GogyUp removes language barriers from the workplace. According to the most recent report from the US Department of Labor, there are currently 6.9 million job openings in the US. In the last month alone, job openings in nondurable goods manufacturing increased by more than 30,000. Businesses are finding it difficult to find qualified employees who can meet the rigors of technical qualifications. At the same time, 36 million US adults read below the 3rd-grade level. And 90 million adults struggle to read technical writing. Yet, only 5% have access to the instruction that they need. That’s where GogyUp comes in. Their Employment Literacy System (ELS) is a tool for on-boarding,…

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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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Meet the FINNOVATION Fellows, with Katrina Becker

FINNOVATION Fellows are the next wave of social entrepreneurship in the Upper Midwest. Katrina Becker has been quietly working in the background of the social entrepreneurship scene in the Twin Cities. She recently joined the FINNOVATION Lab as the Fellowship Program Manager. The FINNOVATION Fellowship is a nine-month incubator and fellowship program to support impact entrepreneurs. You may have heard about the FINNOVATION Fellowship in episode 252 of Social Entrepreneur. With the launch of this program, the FINNOVATION Lab is building a powerful engine of change in the Midwest – a cohort of individuals with bold ideas and the passion for executing innovative solutions to intractable issues. In this episode,…

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This Social Entrepreneur is Changing the Story of Human Trafficking, with Stephanie Page, Stories Foundation

Stories Foundation is committed to resourcing the rescue and restoration of human trafficking victims through education, advocacy, and microgrants Between 600,000 and 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders every year. 80% are female, and half are children. Can this story be changed? Stephanie Page thinks so. Stephanie grew up in a safe and happy home. “I grew up in a close-knit family,” she says. “I am the oldest of 4 children, two boys, and two girls. I was a high achiever and a people pleaser. I loved my friends and being social. I loved the church. I loved my family. I was an avid reader.” Starting when she was…

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Fueled by Prize Money, These Social Entrepreneurs Are Striking at the Root of Poverty, with Leeore Levinstein and Jesse Abelson, Vetiver Solutions

Vetiver Solutions is a for-profit social business that is alleviating poverty and malnutrition for subsistence farmers in Haiti. Haiti is the poorest country in the northern hemisphere. 2.5 million Haitians live in extreme poverty. Two out of three live on less than $2 per day. 100,000 Haitian children are acutely malnourished. Jesse Abelson first started traveling to Haiti in 2013 as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) with Project Medishare. Between 2013 and 2016, he traveled there five times. “After seeing countless deaths due to poverty and malnutrition, I decided that I wanted to work to tackle the problem at the root,” Jesse explains. “There is only so much I can…

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