poverty

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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The Empowerment Bag: A Bag to End Human Trafficking, with Vaishali Umrikar

The Empowerment Bag is an eco-friendly brand of bags, that employs women at risk of sex trafficking. Vaishali Umrikar is a passionate social entrepreneur who is committed to fighting human trafficking. While she was in high school, she read the book, The Natashas: Inside the New Global Sex Trade by Victor Malarek. This book awakened her to the realities of modern-day human trafficking. She became involved in anti-trafficking advocacy groups throughout high school and college. Since then, Vaishali has worked with the Australian Government Office for Women, Chicago Probation Sex Offender Unit, and Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation. After graduating from college and beginning her corporate career, Vaishali realized her…

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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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Be Curious, Leap In and Learn with Paul Polak

Paul Polak is the founder of iDE. At the age of 80, he launched three new social enterprises. Paul was born in Czechoslovakia near Germany. In 1938, his family watched as refugees poured across the border. Paul says, “The conventional wisdom in 1938 was that Hitler was a joke and all this stuff would blow over. If you accepted that conventional wisdom, you’re no longer around to talk about it.” Paul’s father was willing to challenge the status quo. He moved his family to Canada in 1939. This lesson of challenging conventional thinking was an important life lesson for Paul. One key to his success is, he is willing to leap…

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No Poverty, Sustainable Development Goal 1

Sustainable Development Goal 1 is to end poverty in all its forms, everywhere. Disrupt Poverty from Tony Loyd on Vimeo. On the podcast Social Entrepreneur, you meet changemakers who are ending poverty in all its forms, everywhere. These social entrepreneurs are facing difficult circumstances. And yet, they’re having a massive impact. In January, we will be highlighting some of these changemakers. To set the context, here are a few facts about poverty: The international poverty line is defined at $1.90 or less per person per day. Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia account for about 80% of the extremely poor. Poverty is relative to one’s context. Because the cost of living…

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No Poverty, Sustainable Development Goal 1

140, Benje Williams, Amal Academy | Continuous Action Creates a Path Out of Poverty

Through continuous action, Benje Williams helps Pakistani youth find a path out of poverty. Benje Williams’ parents wanted to make an impact with their lives. They did so by adopting eight children. As Benje grew up, his parents pressed him to ask himself what his contribution to the world would be. While Benje was in university, he had a chance to accompany his dad to Kenya. There, he met people that, except for circumstances of birth, were not too different from him and his family at home. “Perhaps family for me was much more global than I had previously thought.” A belief began to cement itself inside of him. “We’re…

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133, Rashmi Bharti, AVANI Society | Create Sustainable Livelihood Through an Ethical, Green Brand

AVANI is creating sustainable livelihood for women in the Himalayas. The story of AVANI is really two stories. There is the story of the business and it is the story of their products. The story of the business is not unlike many businesses. Rashmi Bharti and her husband found unmet needs, looked around for the assets at hand, and then applied appropriate technology to solve the problems. The twist to this story is that it takes place in the remote Kumaon region of Uttarakhand, located in the middle ranges of the Central Himalayan region. But this is also the story of the products produced by the Kumaon Earthcraft Cooperative. They…

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131, Paul Rice, Fair Trade USA | Vote with Your Dollars

Fair Trade USA fights poverty by matching conscious consumers with responsible companies. Increasingly, consumers are seeking out fair trade products. Almost 60% of US consumers are aware of the Fair Trade Certified label. Back in August when we spoke, Paul Rice told me, “I think it’s very empowering for people to realize that they can only vote for president once every four years, but they can vote for a better world with their shopping dollars, every single day.” Paul knew from a young age that he wanted to work in the social justice movement. He studied agricultural development and sustainability. When he graduated from college, he went to Nicaragua for…

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130, Kathleen Colson, The BOMA Project | Poverty Graduation through For-Profit Entrepreneurship

Kathleen Colson is using a poverty graduation process to end extreme poverty in the face of climate change. Over 40% of the African continent is arid land. The people who live in these regions are particularly susceptible to changes in the climate. They depend solely on livestock for their nutrition and livelihood. With climate change, sustained, severe droughts are becoming more common. Kathleen Colson attended St. Lawrence University as a scholarship student. Her scholarship allowed her to participate in the Kenya Semester Program at the University of Nairobi. That experience deeply impacted Kathleen. After graduating, she tried working in the corporate world, but Africa kept calling to her. She returned…

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129, Martin Burt, Fundación Paraguaya | The Poverty Stoplight

Martin Burt wants to eliminate poverty. He lets the poor measure poverty for themselves. Here are two truths that I’ve learned about social entrepreneurship. One, there is not a single, straight path to becoming a social entrepreneur. Two, it’s important to measure your impact. Martin Burt of Fundación Paraguaya illustrates both points. Martin’s path to social entrepreneurship began in Paraguay in the early 1980s, when it was ruled by a dictator. Because his family was not part of the dictatorship, he found it difficult to find a job. What does a social entrepreneur do in this situation? Start the country’s first social enterprise, of course. He started a microenterprise development…

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