Entrepreneurs Who are Changing the World
January 6, 2006 Leave a comment
Each year Fast Company and Monitor Group sponsor their joint Social Capitalist Awards. These awards highlight 25 entrepreneurial organizations that use management expertise and business skills to develop and implement innovative solutions that effectively confront demanding social challenges. This year’s group includes organizations that are tackling problems in various local and global arenas, including:
- A network of micro-lending institutions that lend to those poor communities so they can start businesses to improve their financial livelihood.
- A financial services company that creates innovative financial products and services through social-capital markets and socially-responsible investing.
- An after-school program where students work with volunteers to create market-quality products, such as Web sites.
- A peer exchange and business cooperative that pools money, influence, and resources of 84 affordable-housing groups to finance and build homes and apartments for those who need them.
- A housing agency that owns nearly 3,000 housing units and teams up with local businesses and universities to operate programs that include nurse and automotive training, literacy, welfare transition, health care, senior care, and charter schools.
- Leadership development organization that seeks to transform urban schools by selecting, training, and coaching strong leaders–many from outside the school system.
- A health-technology pioneer in the developing world that joins with private-sector partners to hatch new technology solutions, such as eliminating the risks of needle reuse and reducing the number of newborn deaths from infection.
- A program that helps “people on the margins of society” stay out of prison and off the streets through an integrated combination of services, including job training and placement, youth and family counseling, housing, and chemical-dependency treatment. To fund its programs, it runs profitable businesses such as precision sheet-metal fabrication, aerospace machining, and retail cafés.
Go to the Fast Company web site (www.fastcompany.com/social/) to see the entire list. Also check out the winners for:
It is inspirational and exciting to see how these individuals and organizations have taken up the call to action to take on significant societal problems, while applying entrepreneurial thinking and skills. I believe there is a viable solution for every problem. We just have to learn how to view the problem in the right context and effectively merge our talents and ideas to produce solutions that have the desired results, not worrying whose going to get the credit. There’s a lot more that we can do to reverse many of the negative trends in our communities. Let’s get to it!