Students who attend Harvard are normally those who are set to change the world. Whether it be from a political standpoint, a economic one, or social one. Kathy Ku, a 23 year old who attends Harvard aims to do so through a couple of avenues. Kathy’s startup serves both an economic and a social purpose. Her company, SPOUTS of Water is designed to sell inexpensive clay water filters and sells them to the people of Uganda.
Kathy’s headquarters are not near school in Boston or in New York City or San Francisco where many startups plant their roots. Her company resides in a village in Kumi, Uganda. Her noble efforts help serve the ten million people of Uganda where water borne illness is the number one killer of children under the age of five.
Ku is one of a growing movement of entrepreneurs looking to turn a startup into something that while it stands on its own feet economically, it also helps solve common or devastating problem from around the world. Many times without any initial capital, it can be hard to get a great business idea like Kathy’s off the ground. Fortunate for her, she received $15,000 to build her kiln and factory from Harvard’s President’s Challenge for social entrepreneurship. In addition to the initial $15,000, she also received $100,000 from entrepreneurship competitions at MIT and other schools.
Studies are beginning to show that people exposed to this sort of social entrepreneurship or philanthropy is spreading. A study conducted in 2011 shows seven in ten adults consider themselves social activists. To take it one step further, four out of five would purchase from a company that supports a good cause that they care about. This certainly is a step in the right direction. For more on this topic, check out this article here.