SDG8

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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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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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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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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