social impact

Science and Our Relationship with Nature, with Bonnie Keeler, The Natural Capital Project

The Natural Capital Project is developing practical tools and approaches to account for nature’s contributions to society. As Bonnie Keeler grew up in Eagan, MN, she loved to explore Minnesota’s natural wonders with her family. “My mom was a master at relationships,” Bonnie recalls. “One of the things she taught me was, how people are at the center of everything. Every problem is essentially a problem of relationships. Science can take us part of the way there, in terms of providing the appropriate knowledge base. But when it comes down to actually making change, that’s all about relationships.” Today, Bonnie is a lead scientist with The Natural Capital Project. The…

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E-Commerce for Everyone, with Isaac Hunja, Sky.Garden

Sky.Garden is a SaaS e-commerce platform built for retailers in Africa. People who work in the informal economy make up half to three-quarters of the non-agricultural labor force in many countries. In Kenya, the informal sector represents 82.7% of all employment. Many of the people involved in the informal economy also have a job in the formal economy. Isaac Hunja, the Chief Marketing Officer at Sky.Garden, comments, “Every Kenyan has a side-hustle.” One example of the informal economy is street vendors. They may have a kiosk in a marketplace or they may be selling goods from the back seat of their car. According to Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and…

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The Power of a Simple Idea, with Lulu Cerone, LemonAID Warriors

LemonAID Warriors is a youth empowerment program that aims to give young people the tools that they need to turn their compassion into action and raise funds and awareness for causes that they care about Lulu Cerone was an entrepreneur from an early age. At the age of six, she opened her first lemonade stand. At first, she used the money to buy toys or candy. But her mom made a suggestion. Why not use the profits to help someone else? Lulu looked into it and found an animal shelter that needed the funds. “This really crazy thing happened,” Lulu said. “This thing I was doing with my friends actually…

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Find Your Funding, Part 2, Cathy Clark, CASE Smart Impact Capital

CASE Smart Impact Capital is a toolkit that helps you to raise capital that aligns with your needs. In 1992, Cathy Clark had a conversation with Lloyd Morrissett, the co-founder of Sesame Workshop. Lloyd told her “Change happens when the right people with the right idea and the right capital come together at the right time.” This idea stuck with Cathy and has guided her career since. When Cathy first appeared on Social Entrepreneur in January 2016, she said. “It isn’t enough to have a good idea, to want to help people, but you have to have an organization to do it, and eventually that organization needs capital. And that…

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Find Your Funding, Part 1, Jeff Ochs, Venn Foundation

The Venn Foundation uses Program-Related Investments in surprising new ways. This week, we’re kicking off a two-part mini-series how to fund a business that does social good. We did something similar in April 2016 in a series called Founding & Fuding. In May 2017, Ned Tozun generously shared the story of how he and co-founder Sam Goldman funded d.light. Next week, Cathy Clark is going to be here to talk about CASE Smart Impact Capital, an online resource to help social entrepreneurs figure out how to find the right capital at the right time. This week, we’re talking to Jeff Ochs of the Venn Foundation. Jeff is an experienced entrepreneur…

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Mobile Gaming for Social Good, with Elizabeth Sarquis, Global Gaming Initiative and Jukko

Global Gaming Initiative provides a suite of tools and services to make it easier for game developers and publishers to produce and monetize games for social good. Elizabeth Sarquis was born in a small town along the Magdalena River in Colombia. When Elizabeth was five years old, her family moved to the US. Growing up, she went to school in the US and spent time her summers in Colombia. Elizabeth says “It struck me when I would see children on the streets begging. Then I would go back home, and I would have everything. It didn’t make sense to me.” As an adult, Elizabeth worked in nonprofits focused on children’s…

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Figuring Out Faith in Business and Marriage, with Jessica Jackley

Jessica Jackley and Reza Aslan are exploring what it means to live in an interfaith family. The first week of February is Interfaith Harmony Week. Given the heightened friction between religious groups, this celebration of interfaith harmony is crucial. Each year, religious leaders engage in a dialogue based on two common fundamental Commandments; Love of God, and Love of Neighbor. Jessica Jackley is best known for her role as a co-founder of Kiva.org. Kiva is the first peer-to-peer microlending platform. Anyone who has an internet connection and a credit card or PayPal account, you can go to Kiva.org, browse the profiles of entrepreneurs who need a small loan. These loans…

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The Terrifying, Magical Life of a Social Entrepreneur, with Emily Hunt Turner, All Square

All Square is a craft grilled cheese restaurant and professional institute that breaks down barriers for those with a criminal record. A criminal record can be a barrier to employment, housing, benefits, and voting. With barriers to employment and housing, there is a high rate of recidivism. One study across 30 states found that 67.8% of released prisoners were rearrested within three years of release. Recidivism is a large problem impacting millions of people, including the loved ones of those with criminal records. Nearly one-third of American adults have been arrested by age 23. Arrests fall disproportionately on men of color. One out of every 106 white men is behind…

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A Business Solution to Coral Reef Restoration, with Gator Halpern and Sam Teicher, Coral Vita

Coral Vita is racing to restore coral reefs by growing climate-change resilient coral. Coral reefs make up less than 1% of the surface area of the oceans, and yet, they provide a home for 25% of all marine fish species. Globally, coral reefs contain between 6,000 and 8,000 species of fish. As a point of comparison, across North America, there are 914 species of birds. Humans depend on coral reefs for everything from livelihoods, food, and medicines. According to Sam Teicher, co-founder of Coral Vita, “There are up to one billion people around the world who depend on reefs for their livelihoods. Reefs conservatively generate $30 billion per year through…

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Launching Minority-Led Tech Startups with Mondo Davison, The Black Tech Guy

Mondo Davison, known as “The Black Tech Guy,” is on a mission to inspire a generation of black youth to pursue a life in tech. African-Americans make up a little more than 11 percent of the US population. Yet, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs, only 2.1% of businesses with at least one employee were owned by African-Americans. In the tech sector, the statistics are worse. According to CB Insights’ data on VC investments, only 1 percent of VC-funded startup founders are black. Mondo Davison, known as “The Black Tech Guy,” is trying to close that gap. When Mondo was a child, people would ask him…

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