A boom of startups have emerged in the last few years. After seeing startups like Instagram and WhatsApp sell for billions, many young entrepreneurs are hungry for similar success in the dense phone app market. However, what’s different about this new generation of businesses are their missions. Many new and exciting businesses are not only hoping to strike it rich but also to improve the world. Focusing on something greater than themselves it not only gives entrepreneurs a stronger drive but a bigger appeal as well. Here are eight companies that are igniting positive change throughout the world.
1. Tom’s Shoes
Probably one of the biggest successes in modern fashion in the last few years is Tom’s Shoes. It all started when its founder saw a way to directly improve the lives of many in impoverished areas in Argentina by donating shoes. All the success brought to this company was directly thanks to its incredible concept – one for one. Each time someone buys shoes from them, they donate a pair to people in need for shoes. Currently, Tom’s Shoes is giving shoes to 70 different countries and has given shoes to 35 million children.
More info: Toms.com
2. Taaluma Totes
Started by two young entrepreneurs, Jack and Alley, Taaluma Totes is a backpack company that sells backpacks that support and empower underdeveloped countries. It works by first buying fabrics from the particular country of the backpack you’ve chosen. Then, the fabrics and materials are made into backpacks in a factory in US (which hires adults with disabilities). After each backpack is sold, 20% of the proceeds go to the corresponding country in a form of micro-loans, closing the loop. The company was recently featured in the TV show, Shark Tank and as of now most of the backpacks have been sold out.
More info: CarryACountry.com
3. Sseko Designs
Another company that has been featured in the popular TV show, Shark Tank, Sseko Designs is largely successful due to its concept of giving. The company seeks to end the cycle of poverty and give women equal opportunities by funding their education after they complete their work with Sseko. Sseko’s most popular and original product is a sandal with interchangeable ribbons, which transforms into a shoe for any occasion.
More info: SsekoDesigns.com
Greg and Gabi, the co-founders of Exo, set out to make a snack bar that was different. Exo is one of the first bars to be made from.. crickets. Majority of the world eats insects like crickets as they are a very affordable and sustainable source of nutrients. So how are they making the world a better place? Crickets are 20x more efficient to raise for protein than any cattle. That means less water, feed and space required. Introduction of insect based foods in North America, could greatly reduce the impact we have on the environment. Check out what we think about the taste of Exo cricket protein bars here.
More info: ExoProtein.com
5. Ocean Sole
Julie, the founder of Ocean Sole was horrified by the pollution and things that were washed up by the ocean on the island of Kiwayu. Inspired by the kids who were making toys out of the flipflop debris, Ocean Sole set out to clean the oceans while creating masterpieces. Ocean Sole now sells art that is made from recycled flip flops, and they aim to recycle 400,000 flipflops a year. 5% of all profit goes back into the foundation.
More info: Ocean-Sole.com
6. Kickstarter / IndieGoGo
Crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter and IndieGoGo have powered some incredible ideas by allowing people to donate to projects they feel are important. Many new businesses and world-changing ideas have started because people came together and made it possible. Crowdfunding is a new way that people are able to make their ideas come to life and change the world together.
More info: Kickstarter.com | IndieGoGo.com
Founded in 2005, Kiva is a non-profit organization with tremendous global impact. Users on Kiva make loans of $25 that go directly to borrowers who need the money to start their business. Once the borrowers succeed in their goals, the loan is repaid and the users are able to loan the $25 for another cause. To date, over $724 million of loans have been given with over 98% repayment rate! A $25 loan can go a long way in changing the lives of many. Read about the incredible stories on Kiva and start giving.
More info: Kiva.org
Do you know of any other companies that are having a positive impact on our people and planet? Let us know in the comments below.