Social Entrepreneurship: “The Venture”

Adrian Grenier, the star of HBO’s series, Entourage is taking on a few new roles. For one, Grenier was recently hired by Dell as a “social good advocate.” In the heat of business, many companies can lose sight of certain initiatives. Dell has an initiative to do social good and does not want to lose sight of that. Grenier has a track record of working for social causes. He has helped create a television show for the Discovery Channel on sustainable living and he’s even began creating a documentary on raising awareness for whales and the ocean noise pollution.

Arnobio Morelix - Adrian Grenier

Adrian Grenier

Adrian will also be a part of “The Venture,” a business start-up competition. Grenier will serve as a judge along with Alexandre Richard, the CEO of Pernod Ricard’s, and Morgan Clendaniel, the founding editor for Co.Exist. Adrian will help decide which of five entrepreneurs will be awarded $1 million.

The show strongly resembles ABC’s Shark Tank but has a bit of a different focus. The competition will judge based on longevity of the business, their core principles, and what they are looking to do from a social perspective. Social entrepreneurship is the idea that financial success and social good can work hand in hand. This is what the judges will ultimately be looking for. Social entrepreneurship has been on the rise in the last 20 years, due in large part to millennials.

The Venture had over 1,000 applicants which will ultimately be cut down to 16 competitors. At that point, the field will be narrowed down to 5 finalist. Now it won’t be a winner takes all competition. Each of the five finalist has a chance to walk away with a portion of the $1 million. It won’t be televised, but can be sometime down the road.

For more on this interesting competition, check it out on Fortune.com.

Social Entrepreneurship: The Next Generation

The realm of social entrepreneurship and those involved are considered to be a part of the confluence of philanthropy and business, and Neil Blumenthal of Warby Parker Eyewear is no exception. Although his point of view is exceptional. Blumenthal’s initiative, his dream that is, is the acceleration of socio-political reform to a point that brings its adaptivity and progress up to par with that of the booming technological sector.

Arnobio Morelix - Warby ParkerBlumenthal hopes to effuse this helpfulness and eagerness to take action to influence others to take a part in the change they wish to see in the world. Catherine Clifford of The Entrepreneur expresses that ideas should be born out of the desire to enact change. It isn’t about the uniqueness so much as the motivation and vision. Blumenthal himself worked for a similar company that offered glasses to developing areas. Already, many young companies are following in these footsteps with programs that donate a certain amount of profits, or provide goods to the underprivileged. Warby Parker has a buy-one-give-one offer for their sunglasses.

An example he cites as an example of evening the difference in technological and political growth is Waze, which provides users with the least congested traffic routes available. This integrates high-speed programming with socio-political concerns. As information becomes more democratically available, self-driven entrepreneurs can incorporate information previously held by governmental agencies with the free map of society. The most important aspect in the equation for growth is always looking for improvement and never settling with complacency. Complacency, to echo Blumenthal, parallels the lethargy of government. It is key to stay up to date with the wants and needs of the world; “the most thoughtful company wins.”

In this day and age as globalization and interconnectedness take the forefront of socio-political platforms, the self-serving enterprise does not finish first. It is the company that brings people and causes together that ultimately succeeds. Exhibit A: Neil Blumenthal.

For more on this interesting article, check it out here at entrepreneur.com.

Some of the Top Social Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurship has long been around for sometime. Entrepreneurship is the process of starting a business or organization. An entrepreneur is responsible for putting the business in motion via funding, hiring, orchestrating a business model, and sales. As time went on, a new form of entrepreneurship formed. Social entrepreneurship took came to fruition when Bill Drayton discovered it and began to use it with normality. It was first found in print in 1972. Social entrepreneurship is the pursuit of a business that also solves a problem within society. A noble profession, there have been many great social entrepreneurs that have had success. Lets take a look at some of the most successful ones to date.

Bill Drayton – Ashoka: Innovators for the Public
Bill Drayton is not only a successful social entrepreneur, but he actually helped create the term. Drayton’s organization is designed to find and help social entrepreneurs from around the world. Ashoka provides start up financing, connections to global networks, and professional support services. Drayton’s organization has an outreach of 3,000 across 70 countries. For general inquiries, contact Ashoka at info@ashoka.org.

imgres-2Muhammad Yunus – Grameen Bank
Muhammad Yunus has done many great things for the field of social entrepreneurship. He has won the Nobel Piece Prize for founding the Grameen Bank and pioneering the concepts of microcredit and microfinance. The Grameen Bank is a bank that allows the impoverished to be granted a microloan without needing to put collateral down.

Blake Mycoskie – TOMS
Blake Mycoskie founded TOMS, a one for one based concept to help those in need. TOMS started with shoes, when someone bought Mycoskie’s shoes, he would give a pair to a child in need of one. When he realized he had something great going on, Mycoskie took it a step further. TOMS eyewear was eventually launched. With every pair of eyewear sold, Mycoskie would give sight to a child in need.

For more on great causes similar to the ones above, check out this article here.

Hult Prize Competition Upon Us

The Hult Prize is one of the most lucrative awards that college students have the chance to obtain. The objective to win the prize is no easy feat, however, although quite a simple directive: design a business that sets out to take on a global issue. The winner gets $1 million.

Hult Prize FinalsThe Hult Prize is an annual contest and is also the world’s biggest program dedicated to launching startups that is directed towards college students all over the world. Each year, students from India, China, the United States and the U.K. vie for a shot at the prize of launching their business that will aim to help the world.

The winners of the content are ultimately decided at the Clinton Meetings in New York, where the victorious team takes home the prize money of $1 million in seed funding for their prospective business. “The opportunity for a startup, irrespective of sector, in my opinion is the social development space where you’ve got this massive market, which by 2020 will represent nearly $1.5 trillion of annual spent,” says the CEO of the Hult Prize Foundation, Ahmad Ashkar. He continued by saying, “Actually, bringing innovative products and services to the world’s poorest allows the world’s poorest to get themselves out of poverty. So it’s a win-win for the world.”

Challenges in past years have been the task of a business model for solving the global food crisis, and rectifying the issue of non-communicable diseases. So, as one can see, the challenges laid out are no easy feat and require a great deal of planning. The challenge for 2015 has already been set: Early Childhood Education in the Urban Slum.

In recents years, experts have noted that there have been an increasing number of young people getting excited about making a widespread positive mark on business by way of social entrepreneurship. It will be interesting to see what contestants come up with as a solution for the issue presented for the 2015 contest.

Groundswell

imgres-9Will Byrne is an activist and social entrepreneur. In his early career, he worked in journalism at Der Speigel and The American Academy in Berlin, Germany. Upon arriving back in the United States, Byrne joined Barack Obama’s 2008 Presidential Campaign. Once that was all said and done, he founded the nonprofit organization Groundswell. Groundswell’s mission is simple, to unlock communities’ shared economic power to grow sustainability and expand prosperity on the local level. Now how do they go about doing this?

Byrne mobilizes groups to pool together buying power to purchase energy. A simple and brilliant plan, when we buy in bulk, things become cheaper. Byrne recognizes that while life’s luxuries like televisions and smartphones are becoming cheaper, life’s necessities like education, healthcare, and energy are becoming more expensive.

Byrne’s impact has been greatly felt by those in need. With a focus on the Mid-Atlanic region, Groundswell has helped communities complete over $10 million in people-powered clean energy projects. As a result, participants have saved over $1 million on their electric bills and have been reinvesting over $1.5 million in communities.

Will Byrne’s accomplishments as CEO of Groundswell have not gone unnoticed. He’s received the following accolades:

–  Forbes 30 Under 30 Selection; Social Entrepreneurs, Forbes Magazine (December 2012)
–  Global Fellow, Ashoka Innovators for the Public, December 2011
–  Global Shaper, World Economic Forum, 2011
–  Champions of Change, White House Executive Office of the President, 2011
–  Young Atlanticist Network, Atlantic Council, January 2014
–  Cordes Social Entrepreneurship Fellow (Global), 2010
–  Lisa B. Hall Fellow, Concord Academy, 2013

For more on Groundswell, check out them out at groundswell.orgFacebook, and Twitter.