DiscoverSocial Entrepreneur
Social Entrepreneur

Social Entrepreneur

Author: Tony Loyd

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NOTE: For extended show notes, see https://tonyloyd.com/aziz-abu-sarah MEJDI Tours sees tourism as an opportunity to transform lives through dual narratives and by strengthening local communities. Aziz Abu Sarah is a peace-builder, social entrepreneur, cultural educator, and author of Crossing Boundaries: A Traveler’s Guide To World Peace. But Aziz wasn’t always a peacemaker.  “I grew up very angry,” Aziz says. “I didn’t have any Jewish or Israeli friends growing up until I was 18 years old. “In Jerusalem, if you don’t speak Hebrew, you’re not going to go to college. You’re not going to work. Your chances of success in life are minimal. In my high school, it was mandatory to learn Hebrew. But I went through three years of high school refusing to learn even a word of Hebrew. “I escaped from that class. I told my teachers that I was not willing to come to class because Hebrew was the language of the enemy - the people who killed my brother. I was seven or eight years old the first time I was shot at. I had a lot of trauma to deal with. I still have to deal with it. “And so when I was 18, I realized that if I don’t learn Hebrew, I will not have any chance of success in my life. So I went to study Hebrew. I studied Hebrew in a class where I was the only Palestinian, and almost all of the people in the class were Jewish immigrants to Israel. “I remember thinking I’m here to learn the language. I’m not here to make friends. I’m not going to talk to anyone. Apparently, that doesn’t work if you want to learn a language. They force you to sit together, ask questions. ‘Hey, how are you? Where are you from? What kind of music you like?’ “And that’s how we became friends. It wasn’t over political things. It was over simple things like what coffee you drink and what music you like. I love Western country music, which most Palestinians do not agree with me. In that class, I found a couple of people who love country music. “So we would sit down and talk about Johnny Cash. It started with that and eventually got to deeper conversations and political issues. But we had this space of ‘Wait a second. We have other identities that we can connect.’ And it’s not only ‘You’re Arab or a Jew, and therefore I have to hate you because of that.’ “And in that classroom, I made my first Jewish friends. From that point on, I understood that what divides us is a wall of ignorance, fear, and hatred. I wanted to put cracks in that wall. That became my mission in life.”  Today, Aziz runs MEJDI Tours. “MEJDI means honor and respect,” Aziz says. “We start with that for the local communities, those we work with, and all our travelers.” MEJDI originated the Dual Narrative™ method that brings both sides of a conflict together as travel guides presenting their respective narrative. This approach was first introduced in the Holy Land and reaped remarkable results there and throughout the world. MEJDI Tours goes against the grain by rejecting the model of traditional consumer tourism—a highly commercialized experience that supports big business and often damages local communities. Also, as peace-builders, we are tackling the challenge of a divided and polarized world.  Learn More About Aziz Abu Sarah and MEJDI Tours: Book: Crossing Boundaries: A Traveler’s Guide To World Peace: https://amzn.to/3bPvGDb MEJDI Tours: https://www.mejditours.com Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mejdi_tours Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MejdiTours
NOTE: For full show notes, see https://tonyloyd.com/isabella-he. High school students work on behalf of those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).   In the United States, 1 in 54 children has autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Unemployment rates for individuals with ASD are approximately 85%. More than half a million individuals with ASD will enter the workforce in the next decade. The need for specialized vocational training is growing by the minute. A CDC study found that 50 percent of children with severe ASD only have access to school-based treatment services. And 17 percent of children with ASD do not have access to occupational, speech, or language therapy whatsoever. At-home therapy is difficult for those with special needs, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. With most in-person therapy sessions closed, many parents of children with ASD don’t have the proper material and guidance to provide effective at-home therapy. Meet Isabella He Isabella He is a high school junior at Mission San Jose High School in Fremont, CA, and the founder and President of SN Inclusion. SN Inclusion is a nonprofit organization that provides career-technical education to neurodiverse individuals. She is also a co-founder of AUesome, a social enterprise that offers at-home therapy kits to children with autism. Isabella is also an intern at the Stanford Neurodiversity Project and a dedicated volunteer and program coordinator at Friends of Children with Special Needs (FCSN). Other AUesome co-founders include fellow high school students Anshul Gupta, Andrew Kim, and Arnav Gurudatt.  Learn More About Isabella He, SN Inclusion and AUesome: SN Inclusion: https://sninclusion.org AUesome: https://auesome.co SN Inclusion on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sninclusion SN Inclusion on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SN-Inclusion-102768024862916 AUesome on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/auesome.co Isabella He on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/isabella-kai-he/Isabella He on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/iisabellahe Friends of Children with Special Needs (FCSN): https://fcsn1996.org Stanford Neurodiversity Project: https://med.stanford.edu/neurodiversity.html
What would you do if you were 1% more courageous? Judith Martinez is a leader at the intersection of social justice and the future of human capital. She is the CEO of InHerShoes, the modern woman’s community for courage. When Judith was in the fifth grade, she witnessed a scene that changed her life direction. “I’m a first-generation Filipino-American,” Judith explains. “I grew up with Filipino as my first language. My grandparents raised me. “I remember we were at the LAX airport. My grandmother was trying to explain in her broken English to a man that she needed help. And he just cast her aside. It was like she was nothing. ‘Oh, you’re no one. You’re nothing.’ For me, as a fifth-grader, it was two humans interacting, but one human didn’t feel like the other one was a human. “That ingrained in me a sense of justice. That has evolved in a variety of ways. That is part of why I chose to take on InHerShoes.” Today, Judith is the CEO of InHerShoes. InHerShoes is a non-profit committed to catalyzing courage for girls and women of all ages. They do that through an annual summit, workshops, and leadership training. The foundation of everything they do begins and ends with one question: What would you do if you were 1% more courageous? Judith was named a Forbes 30 Under 30 nominee, has been featured in NASDAQ and Forbes. She is a Vital Voices and a TRESemme Global Leadership Fellow. She was recently selected to be a United States of Women Ambassador representing the state of California. Learn More About Judith Martinez and InHerShoes: InHerShoes: https://www.inhershoesmvmt.org InHerShoes on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/inhershoesmvmt InHerShoes on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/InHerShoesMVMT
Helping bamboo farmers and women in impoverished regions become self-reliant while eliminating plastic waste. If Kathy Ku’s name is familiar to you, you might have heard about her previous social venture in Uganda, Spouts of Water. I interviewed Kathy in December 2016. Kathy and her co-founder John Kye left Spouts of Water, but it continues to thrive. Around the same time that Kathy and John were in Uganda working on clean water, Dr. Noah Park was volunteering in low-income countries. “One of our Korean co-founders visited our production site in Uganda seven years ago or so, but we had never met each other,” Kathy explains. “He traveled to the less developed areas of developing countries and noted that a lot of bamboo was being grown in these areas and wanted to do something about it. He calculated by developing the bamboo industry in Vietnam, he could triple or quadruple the average yearly earnings in an area with 150,000 inhabitants. He’s also a dentist, so he naturally came upon bamboo toothbrushes.” In the United States alone, over 1 billion plastic toothbrushes are thrown away each year. These toothbrushes are not recycled. They end up in the landfill or floating in the environment. To deal with these two problems – plastic waste and helping poor bamboo farmers, Dr. Park launched his bamboo toothbrush company in Korea under the Dr. Noah brand. In 2020, Dr. Noah raised Series A capital to move into the US market. That is when Kathy Ku and John Kye joined the team. About Kathy Ku “I grew up in an immigrant family and community that always stressed this idea of giving back,” Kathy says. “My mom would tell me, ‘you should run an orphanage when you grow up.’ Now, I look back and think we definitely should have been worrying about our roof over our heads. But this idea of looking to do good and doing well always stuck with me. “By the time I joined Juni Essentials, they were still trying to figure out the production process. We’re talking like 50 toothbrushes being made a day. I had a manufacturing background and helped ramp it up. We’re now making more than 50,000 toothbrushes a month. We’ll get to 100,000 soon. “Not a lot of people know about bamboo toothbrushes, and of the people who’ve tried them, I think a lot of people have been turned off by them. They feel different from plastic toothbrushes. And I think this is where we come in. “Our product is fundamentally made differently from other products out there. That’s why we chose to make it ourselves. Our surface is heat-treated using patented technology that provides this smooth surface - the toothbrushing experience is comparable to that of plastic toothbrushes, so why not switch? “I think I generally have good intentions, but the execution has been difficult. For example, I want to be good to the environment, and my husband and I compost and try to use compostable Ziploc bags. But I still drive my high school car, a Cadillac, which probably contributes to 50% of California’s carbon emissions. I think bamboo toothbrushes make me happy because it’s an active decision I make every morning and evening when I brush my teeth.” Learn More About Kathy Ku, Juni Essentials: Juni Essentials: https://juniessentials.com Juni Essentials on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/juniessentials Juni Essentials on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/juniessentials Kathy Ku on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/seulkathyku Kathy’s 2016 interview about Spouts of Water: https://tonyloyd.com/podcast/143-kathy-ku-and-john-kye-spouts-of-water-safe-drinking-water-for-all-ugandans/
Offering paid job training for youth. Sara Hart Weihmann is the Director of Social Enterprise at New Avenues for Youth in Portland. She oversees a portfolio of workforce development social enterprises that offer goods and services to the local community. This provides paid work experiences and job training for youth experiencing housing instability. These enterprises include a Ben & Jerry’s scoop shop and a screen-printing business, New Avenues INK. “I have always had a strong sense of environmental justice since I was a young kid,” Sara explains. “My parents would tell you that I was constantly giving them feedback about lights being left on in rooms. I had these little tickets I would issue to them if they left the lights on. “So I’ve always been Type A do the right thing. You fall into line. We owe the environment everything. So I really took that environmental view forward into my life. “In my younger years, I even thought that environmental justice needed to come first before social justice was addressed. “After graduating college, I found a unique MBA graduate program in the Bay Area with an emphasis on environmental sustainability and social justice. I started a business specializing in installing edible gardens and urban farms throughout the Bay Area. “What started as a passion for ecological sustainability and horticulture quickly evolved into a passion for food sovereignty, social justice, and elevating the voices of indigenous, black, and people of color to advocate for the resources they needed to thrive in the community. “I started participating on non-profit boards, coalitions, and councils focusing on food system equity. I found myself passionate about working with young people living in excluded neighborhoods and mentoring them in agriculture and business strategy. “There is nothing more fulfilling to me than seeing young people recognize their inherent value in an entrepreneurial setting where they get the freedom to brainstorm and take risks with their peers with guidance from mentors. “When I moved back to my hometown of Portland, I noticed this opportunity at New Avenues for Youth as Director of Social Enterprise. It seemed like an excellent fit for my skills and passion. It was a combination of business strategy and management to serve young people experiencing housing insecurity. “That was over seven years ago, and I still feel inspired every day by the impacts our workforce development social enterprises have on participants and the community.” About New Avenues INK: New Avenues INK is a screen-printing social enterprise owned and operated by non-profit New Avenues for Youth. Since its establishment in 2013, New Avenues INK has specialized in providing high-quality, cost-competitive decorated apparel items to customers while delivering paid work experiences and job training to youth experiencing homelessness in the community. New Avenues for Youth’s social enterprise portfolio has provided hundreds of paid internships over the years to young people who have little-to-no traditional work experience. Young people receive an hourly wage to learn necessary job skills and participate in career exploration and career coaching. Interns can build confidence in businesses, experience being a part of a team, practice receiving and providing feedback, and ultimately learn about the world of work in a trauma-informed environment. Learn More About Sara Weihmann and New Avenues INK: New Avenues INK: https://www.newavenuesink.org  
People who were involved in the criminal justice system are more than their labels. Karen Lee is the Chief Executive Officer of Pioneer Human Services. She was born during the 1960s civil rights era. “During my lifetime, I’ve seen quite a bit of discrimination. I’ve always wanted to do something about that in a way that was true to me.” Karen graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point. She served our country until the 1990s. After her military service ended, she attended the University of Washington School of Law, where she received her JD degree. “I wanted to be a civil rights attorney,” Karen explains, “but I found that I liked working with people and leading organizations.” She took several middle management positions. In 2005, she was asked to serve as the Commissioner for the Washington State Employment Security Division. “We would get these reports on employment and wages from the labor economists that work there. That’s when I saw the disparity that exists in society today. “I got a good look at the income gap. What was troubling was that the income gap was most apparent with people who had a negative interaction with the justice system. Black people, indigenous people, and people of color were all at the labor market’s bottom. I wanted to do something about that.” Karen used her position in the labor department to try several programs. But then, the governor’s term was coming to an end. That’s when she noticed that Pioneer Human Services was looking for a new CEO. “This particular segment of the population is one that I have often been concerned about because of my race and because I know people that have been involved with the justice system. I have family members that have been involved with the justice system, and they’ve struggled to find employment. And so I’ve wanted to do something about that.” About Pioneer Human Services Pioneer Human Services provides counseling, treatment, housing, job skills training, and employment for those involved in the criminal justice system. Pioneer provides career paths and living wage jobs for a population many disregard. Pioneer is one of the nation’s largest nonprofit social-enterprises. Pioneer serves over 10,000 people a year through its diversion, treatment, housing, and job training programs. Under Karen’s leadership, Pioneer successfully operates several revenue-generating businesses that provide living-wage jobs and help fund its mission. Learn More About Karen Lee and Pioneer Human Services: Pioneer Human Services: https://pioneerhumanservices.org YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuGf99lQwbSXXObe9NlwrOQ LinkedIn: https://linkedin.com/company/pioneer-human-services Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PioneerWA Twitter: https://twitter.com/PioneerWA
What Sandra Goldmark learned from a seven-year experiment fixing stuff. Sandra Goldmark is the Director of Sustainability and Climate Action at Barnard College. For seven years, she ran Fixup, a popup repair shop for household items of all kinds. It was staffed by theatre artists. “We use our backstage skills to fix people's broken stuff,” Sandra explains. “and to create an alternative to use and discard.” Sandra has gathered her lessons learned and put them in a new book, Fixation: How to Have Stuff without Breaking the Planet. “We are reinventing repair as a viable part of a sustainable, equitable, circular economy,” Sandra says. “We were mobile, so there was no fixed storefront. We accepted a wide range of items as a one-stop drop-off for our customers. We used an event-type structure to create a sense of urgency and community. And we partnered with a range of organizations.” It started with a vacuum cleaner. Around 2013, Sandra had a problem. Several items around her house broke – a lamp, a toaster oven, a backpack, and a vacuum cleaner. “It seemed crazy to me that it is easier to buy a new vacuum than get one fixed. It seems crazy to me to look around and see stores and homes and landfills filled with stuff. “Everywhere I looked around me the whole pattern of consumption seemed totally out of whack. The environmental impacts of our system of consumption are staggering. People aren't happy with this pattern and how it plays out in their own lives. And when you look at individual objects, many of them are actually fixable. The whole system seemed totally broken. But it also seemed fixable! “My work on circularity and repair is rooted in my work in the theatre - my belief that ALL of us have a role to play in finding solutions and building changes.” Sandra started simply. “I just started. I was home on maternity leave, and I got a bee in my bonnet and never let go. We started with grassroots advertising, word of mouth, and leveraging neighborhood networks, especially parent networks.” It worked! At their first popup event, people showed up with their broken stuff. “We partnered with other organizations to move into new neighborhoods, eventually operating pop-ups in neighborhoods across 3 boroughs.”   Sandra didn’t always get it right. “I tried to raise money from investors at one point during the process, and that did not work,” Sandra says. “The project didn't seem to fit some sort of model or mold that they were looking for, and we didn't seem to speak each other's language. I think this is an important point, not for my business per se, but about how we approach climate solutions, how we think about innovation, and how we can learn to work across siloes. “The hardest part was trying to iterate and pivot while also keeping our focus.” A popup shop becomes a book. Sandra sees the book as an extension of her work. “Now, in this latest phase, we are reaching more people through the book, Fixation. “Fixation provides a comprehensive look at the problem, a clear path forward, and a call to action for individuals, businesses, and policymakers.” Learn More About Sandra Goldmark and Fixation: Book: Fixation: How to Have Stuff without Breaking the Planet: https://amzn.to/3qLlK3M Sandra Goldmark: https://sandragoldmark.com
NOTE: For a full transcript of the conversation, see: https://tonyloyd.com/karim-abouelnaga. Close the Opportunity Gap through high-impact programs before, during, and outside of school hours. Karim Abouelnaga is CEO of Practice Makes Perfect, a company he founded when he was 18 years old. Practice Makes Perfect partners with K-12 schools to help narrow the opportunity gap. Karim is a TED Fellow and Echoing Green Fellow. At 23, he was named to Forbes’ 30 under 30 list in education, and at 24 was named to Magic Johnson’s 32 under 32 list. In 2016, he was ranked in the top 3 most influential young entrepreneurs under 25 globally. Karim’s TED Talk was named one of the 9 Most Inspiring Talks of 2017. Karim has gathered his lessons learned in a powerful new book, The Purpose-Driven Social Entrepreneur. Learn More About Karim Abouelnaga and Practice Makes Perfect: Book: The Purpose-Driven Social Entrepreneur: https://amzn.to/3seHTYO Practice Makes Perfect: https://practicemakesperfect.org Karim Abouelnaga: https://www.karimabouelnaga.com
If you want a better future, you need a better story. “Leading change has never been tougher,” Denise Withers says. “Fear, apathy, and uncertainty have paralyzed most of the world, making it almost impossible to engage people in even the most straightforward initiative. “But it doesn’t have to be like that. Story Design can help. It’s a practical way for leaders to take the risk out of change and create a better future.” Denise Withers is an award-winning storyteller and ICF certified leadership coach who helps clients reduce the risk of change and design better futures - with stories. Denise spent the first two decades of her career making whitewater films, corporate videos, and TV documentaries - primarily for Discovery Channel. Early in her career, she discovered the power of stories to drive change while directing a film about Indigenous youth for CBC and quickly found her niche creating docs about environmental and social issues for change-makers across the globe. Five continents, eight awards, and a hundred stories later, Denise left the media to study narrative, engagement, and design, ultimately becoming one of Canada’s top design educators. In 2013, she discovered how to combine storytelling and design thinking into a robust framework for change and pioneered the Story Design concept - a practical way to imagine a better future and make it happen. Since then, Denise has worked with hundreds of clients across sectors, including CEOs, scientists, politicians, entrepreneurs, academics, and creatives. Together, they’ve used Story Design to do things like advance clean energy, protect ecosystems, transform higher ed, and slow disease. Most recently, she helped two National Geographic photographers double the revenue, reach and impact of their ocean non-profit in less than a year. Millions of people have seen Denise’s stories on Discovery, CBC, NatGeo, SSIR, the UN, and National Post. Her first book, Story Design: The Creative Way to Innovate, is a favorite with purpose-driven leaders. And her podcast, Foreward: How stories drive change, ranks in the top 100 of management shows. In the last 35 years, Denise’s clients have used Story Design for impact projects such as clean energy, wilderness protection, reducing chronic disease, advancing food security, and improving financial literacy. Denise helps clients through custom coaching, training, storytelling, and retreats. As a certified leadership coach and storyteller, she shows you how to combine design thinking and storytelling. Her initiatives build trust, fuel innovation, engage supporters, and inspire action. “The world desperately needs a new story, says Denise. “Let’s see what we can create together.” Learn More About Denise Withers and Story Design: Book: Story Design: The Creative Way to Innovate: https://amzn.to/3bm7rfO Denise Withers: https://denisewithers.com Denise Withers on Twitter: https://twitter.com/denisewithers Denise Withers on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/denisewithers
YardHomes Minnesota uses a prefabrication approach and an innovative financing model to create affordable housing. YardHomes Minnesota is creating housing affordability by building and maintaining accessory dwelling units (ADUs). “We are a startup that focuses on delivering ADUs in Minnesota as a method of housing,” Nichol Beckstrand explains. “ADUs are tiny houses designed to be permanent living spaces. The problem we set out to solve is housing affordability.” Under its Y-HELP program, YardHomes installs an ADU on an existing residential property owned by a partner. YardHomes holds and manages the ADU for ten years, offering it as an affordable rental unit for low-income tenants. Each month, YardHomes typically shares a portion of the ADU rental income with the property owner. After 10-years, YardHomes transfers ownership in the ADU entirely to the partner. The problem YardHomes Minnesota is solving: Nichol grew up in a house where she could have fun and feel safe. As a parent, she created a space for her children. But, she soon realized that a safe, secure home is not an option for every family. “We are creating more affordable housing for the housing insecure. We create a community setting for them. This creates wealth for the families and nonprofits that participate as host locations for our ADUs.” “I’ve understood the finance side of affordable housing all my life, but I needed to partner with someone. My business partner understands the building side and the cost factors that go into building a home. I also know that under my current model, the units’ affordability could change after ten years. So I knew I needed to partner with organizations and people who had a desire to keep the property in play for affordable housing after the ownership transfers. I spent a fair amount of time understanding how ADU’s work, how city policy can be helpful (and sometimes harmful) to adding density. I focused on also creating a community connection for the individuals that we are housing.” Here’s how they solve it. Yard Homes Minnesota is creating more living spaces quickly. This efficient building model meets housing and safety standards. With more homes in supply, this will eventually reduce the cost of housing. “We leverage our Y-HELP leasing program. YardHomesMN asks an intermediary between nonprofits or people with the land they would like to use for affordable housing. We own the ADU and maintain it. We lease the land where the ADU will be placed and rent the ADU’s to an individual on voucher programs. The program amortizes the lease over ten years, thereby transferring the ADU ownership to the nonprofit or individual landowner at the end of the ten years.” Here’s how they’re funded. “Thus far, we are self-funded. We recently established a Program Related Investment (PRI). Our lead donor is the Maggie Foundation, with a matching grant from The Bush Foundation. We will be using their funds as a down payment on a loan to leverage five times to create five times this amount of housing. For every $25,000, we can create one unit of housing with our lease program.” Learn More About Nichol Beckstrand and YardHomesMN: YardHomes: https://www.yardhomesmn.com YardHomes on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/yardhomesmn/64755918 YardHomes on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/YardHomes-MN-103884421228762 YardHomes on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/yardhomesmn
For every planner and course sold, #ThisIsMyEra helps a child with an education. #ThisIsMyEra produces a 90-day planner that helps you set goals that align with your values. They also provide online courses to help you get clear on your life’s purpose. For every planner that is purchased, #ThisIsMyEra donates school supplies to kids in need in Africa. So far, they’ve provided more than 10,000 school supplies. And for every course that is purchased, they provide a school scholarship. Why Education? “In Ghana and most African countries, public education is not free,” Ruth Biza explains. “So if your family cannot afford to pay for your tuition, you stayed at home.” Ruth recalls a particularly humiliating experience. “It was in the middle of a session, and the financial aid lady comes in class, and they call out every single person that owes the school money. When they call you out, you stand in front of the class. So this is an embarrassing moment because every person on that list means you can’t afford your education. You owe money. They parade in you in front of the class.” On that particular day, The person from financial aid called out Ruth’s name, and she had to stand in front of the class. “I thought we were a middle-class family, and we could afford the tuition. When I got sent home that day, I spoke with my parents. I learned that we actually could afford my education. Being the selfless person she is, my mom was using half of my tuition to pay for the schooling of other kids who were not so fortunate - kids who had lost parents or kids who lived with grandparents who could not afford it. “That was the first experience for me, where I noticed how people view you and how education can just affect you.” Late, Ruth had a second experience that shaped her. “I was around nine or ten. My mom and I were returning home from the market. We had stopped at a red light. Often, in Ghana, at a red light, people approach the cars selling anything, just anything they can find to make money and make ends meet. “We were approached by this girl that looked so out of place to me. And I realize she is my she’s probably the same age as me. Why is she here approaching the car asking for money when she should be at home playing or in school? She seems so out of place, and it did not sit well with me. My mom being the chatty lady, decided to strike up a conversation. We learned that her mom was sitting across the street. Her mom was blind, and she was taking care of a newborn baby. So it was up to this nine-year-old girl to find the resources to feed her family. “ These two incidents sent Ruth Biza on a quest to provide education for those who cannot afford it. Today, Ruth runs #ThisIsMyEra. About Ruth Biza Ruth was born in Ghana, went to middle school in Zimbabwe, completed high school in Switzerland, and moved to the U.S. to study at Lynn University. Ruth is the Co-Founder of #ThisIsMyEra, a personal development brand that donates school supplies for every planner purchased to kids in need in Africa. They have sold over 10K planners and counting. Together with her husband Kuda, they founded the Amani Hope Foundation, a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization whose mission is to empower underprivileged children by providing scholarships. Ruth is also a Fitness Trainer and Consultant to social impact brands. She is driven by her desire to leave a positive impact on the world and inspire others to fulfill their potential. Learn More About Ruth Biza and #ThisIsMyEra: ·        #ThisIsMyEra: https://thisismyera.com ·        #ThisIsMyEra on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thisismyeraofficial   ·        Kuda Biza’s speech at the 2014 Millennium Campus Conference: https://youtu.be/fac_roNrfyI
For extended show notes, see https://tonyloyd.com/zoe-levin Trees Should Capture Carbon, Not Crap We know the problems with carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions: Climate change, rising sea levels, flooding, droughts, wildfires, ocean acidification, climate refugees, political instability, and a lot more. We know that it’s important to reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere and the oceans. We can do that by reducing the production of CO2. We can also do that by capturing CO2 in carbon sinks. In the US, forests store 14% of our annual CO2 emissions. Trees are a valuable, and powerful carbon sink. And yet, in the United States, 27,000 trees are flushed down the toilet every day. And here’s another problem. Paper-making is a toxic process. It uses toxic chemicals. It creates air and water pollution. This is especially a problem for people with chemical sensitivities. Zoë Levin calls herself “The toilet paper queen.” She is the Founder and CEO of Bim Bam Boo. They make sustainability-focused, health-forward essentials from fast-growing bamboo. Last year, they experienced 900% growth in annual revenue. And they saved 1.2 million pounds of virgin forest from getting flushed down the toilet.  Help Launching and Growing a Business with a Social Mission: If you need help thinking about these questions, take one of the free self-assessments at CultureShift.com. If you need help thinking about your strategy to start and grow a business with a social mission, you can schedule a complimentary strategy call. Also, we have provided a full transcript of this conversation at https://tonyloyd.com/zoe-levin. Learn More About Zoë Levin and Bim Bam Boo: Bim Bam Boo: https://bimbamboopaper.com Bim Bam Boo on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bimbamboopaper Bim Bam Boo Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/bimbamboopaper Bim Bam Boo on Twitter: https://twitter.com/bimbamboopaper Lunar Startups: https://www.lunarstartups.org Free Self-Assessments: https://cultureshift.com/assessments Complimentary Strategy Call: https://cultureshift.com/strategy
For extended show notes, go here: https://tonyloyd.com/karima-ladhani/ 80% of maternal and infant deaths are preventable. Dr. Karima Ladhani is the daughter of immigrants. Her parents moved from India to Uganda. In 1972, Ugandan president Idi Amin expelled Asian minorities. He gave 90 days to leave the country. Karima’s mother made her way to Canada. Her father was in a refugee camp in Malta before immigrating to Canada. “We can’t take for granted the luxuries and privileges that we have,” she says. “There are people going through things. We have an opportunity and responsibility to help them. Others have helped us. We never know when we could be in that position in the future. It’s our responsibility to society to do our best to uplift all.” When Karima was in fifteen years old, she volunteered to travel to Chitral Pakistan where she taught English and Science. “It was transformative. It was my first experience of seeing dignity in places we don’t often associate with dignity.” From Finance to Free Falling As an undergrad at the University of Waterloo, Karima studied finance. “I thought my goal was to work on the trading floor and to become a trader.” In her fourth year of school, Karima had a chance to work on the trading floor. “Within two weeks, I realized I hated it. The world I was in was interesting. I always thought I could volunteer on the side. My work and these other interests don’t have to align. But I found it wasn’t sufficiently motivating for me. I decided I had to take drastic change. “Before I graduated, I emailed every professor. I told them that I have no experience in science. But I have a hunch that there is something in this medical-health field that would be more satisfying for me. Here are the transferrable skills I could bring to the table. “Only one professor replied to me. When all my friends went on to high-paying jobs, I went on to a minimum wage research assistant job in this small town of Waterloo. “That’s how I learned about public health. I was exposed to this world of population-level health. Then, I was trying to figure out my next steps. I often call this my free-falling period. I took a risk. I had no idea where I was going to end up. Taking a risk is what allows you to grow. If I continued to know what ground I was going to step on the ground in front of me, I could only land where I expected – what was in the realm of my imagination. But, by free-falling, I allowed myself to go beyond that.” Giving Cradle and Barakat Bundle In North America, Giving Cradle provides a safety-certified, eco-friendly bamboo rocking cradle. Families can make a safe choice for their newborn and for a newborn in need. In South Asia, they provide lifesaving Barakat Bundles. These bundles include a Giving Cradle, evidence-based medical items, and health education to families in need. Karima pitched the idea at the Harvard Business School New Venture Competition. They won enough funding to help them get started. Today, Karima is the Founder & CEO of Giving Cradle. They sell safety-certified bamboo rocking cradles to families in North America. For every Giving Cradle sold, a mother and newborn in South Asia receive a bundle of needed supplies through Barakat Bundle. “I think it is unjust that women and newborns continue to die from causes the world has already solved,” Karima says. “80% of maternal and infant deaths are completely preventable. We already have the tools to solve this problem. We just haven't figured out how to get the items that are needed into the hands of people who need them. If we do get them the needed items, we need to teach them how to use them, and they need to want to use them.” Learn More About Karima Ladhani, Giving Cradle and Barakat Bundle: Giving Cradle: https://givingcradle.com Barakat Bundle: https://barakatbundle.org Giving Cradle on Instagram: https://instagram.com/givingcradle  Barakat Bundle on Instagram: https://instagram.com/barakatbundle
Airbnb.org to support emergency response around the world. Natural disasters are on the rise. Climate change has accelerated wildfires and hurricanes. Healthcare workers are responding to the global pandemic. People find themselves displaced without warning. Who better to provide a safe place to stay than Airbnb and their global network of hosts? To respond to the need for safe housing during disaster, Airbnb has launched Airbnb.org. Airbnb.org is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to facilitating temporary stays for people in times of crisis. The inspiration for Airbnb.org began in 2012 with a single host named Shell who opened her home to people impacted by Hurricane Sandy. Since then, Airbnb hosts have responded to natural disasters like an earthquake in Nepal, and manmade tragedies, like the Pulse Nightclub shooting. Airbnb hosts have provided stays to evacuees, relief workers, refugees, and asylum seekers. Recently, frontline workers fighting the spread of COVID-19 have benefited from the generosity of Airbnb and their hosts. More than 100,000 hosts have opened their homes and helped provide accommodations to 75,000 people in times of need. Going forward, Airbnb’s Open Homes and Frontline Stays programs will now be called Airbnb.org. Katherine Woo to Lead Airbnb.org Katherine Woo is the new Head od Airbnb.org. She brings a wealth of business and tech experience. She has held roles at Netscape, PayPal, eBay, and Facebook. But it was her work at Kiva.org that helped her to realize that her work could have a direct impact on people in need. She is joined by a staff and a board that reflects the communities they serve. Airbnb.org is building a diverse team at all levels, starting with its founding board of directors. At launch Airbnb.org’s founding board is composed of 80% women and 40% underrepresented minorities. Board members include: Joe Gebbia, Co-Founder of Airbnb, Chairman of Airbnb.org Jennifer Bond, Founder & Managing Director of the University of Ottawa Refugee Hub and Chair of the Global Refugee Sponsorship Initiative (GSRI)Jocelyn Wyatt, CEO of Ideo.orgMelissa Thomas-Hunt, Head of Global Diversity and Belonging at AirbnbSharyanne McSwain, COO of Echoing Green Learn More About Katherine Woo and Airbnb.org: Airbnb.org: https://airbnb.org  Katherine Woo on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/katherinewoo
For extended show notes, see: https://tonyloyd.com/regina-larko A place and a community shaped Regina Larko. Regina Larko was born and raised in Vienna. “Three generations raised me,” Regina says. “My great-grandmother played a huge role in raising me. Her generation had experienced the hardships of the second world war. One of my great grandfathers never came home from the war.” When Regina was around nine years old, the former Yugoslavia broke apart, plunging the territory into ethnic wars. Refugees poured across the border into Austria. Many of Regina’s classmates moved to Austria to escape the fighting. She heard first-hand the stories of refugee children. “I felt immense gratitude for growing up in a peaceful, safe city,” she says. Regina also spent her summers in a small village of 300 inhabitants located 50 kilometers outside of Vienna. There, she learned the value of community. She saw how community members took care of one another. “There is so much purpose and meaning in every single small action,” Regina explains. “Neighbors and extended family members would always look out for each other. This is the reason I am so passionate about purpose-driven work that draws its energy from the community. “It has always bothered me that there is so much inequality in the world - that I had privileges just because of the place and time I was born. I always wanted to live in a fair, equal, and peaceful place. I wanted everyone to have the same rights and possibilities I have. It frustrates me that there are so many people out there suffering every day, just trying to survive.”  #impact Podcast is Born Regina launched #impact Podcast in the spring of 2017. They feature inspirational, motivational, and impactful stories. The listeners of #impact Podcast are interested in social impact and sustainability initiatives. #impact marries two passions in Regina’s life: audio and purpose-driven work. As an audio enthusiast, Regina has always loved how intimate the medium of audio felt. Listeners create pictures in her head. #impact Podcast tells impactful stories in a light, refreshing and inspirational way. Regina talks about the issues, but she also talks about solutions. #impact Podcast portrays individuals making a positive impact in the world. They talk about why and how they got started, the challenges along the way, and what keeps them going. Listeners feel inspired by the individuals that Regina and her co-hosts interview. Listeners feel empowered to create change. The podcast guests often find new volunteers and donors. “The first interviews for #impact were game-changing,” Regina says. “I was clumsily setting up my microphones. I asked very scripted questions. Yet, I saw the impact the conversations made on the guest I featured. These NGOs had never had the chance to tell their story. They humanized their work, giving their cause a voice that people could connect to. They reached new listeners. They found new volunteers. “The first listeners started to reach out, thanking me for introducing them to NGOs. Many listeners started volunteering or donating, thanks to #impact Podcast. That’s when I knew that it was so worthwhile and that I have to continue producing and expanding the show.”  Regina Larko’s Work Today Today, Regina is a TEDx speaker. She has been named “10 Women who are shaping Hong Kong for the better”. Her work has been featured in radio, print, and online media. Regina is passionate about inspiring everyone to start making a positive impact. She also mentors aspiring podcasters, empowering them to find the confidence to get their voices heard. Learn More About Regina Larko and #Impact Podcast: #impact Podcast: https://www.hashtagimpact.com #impact on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hashtagimpact Free Podcasting Guide: http://www.hashtagimpact.com/guide Podcasting Course: https://www.hashtagimpact.com/start-a-podcast
How do we get more people involved in social innovation? NOTE: For extended show notes, see https://tonyloyd.com/tom-dawkins Tom Dawkins is the founder of StartSomeGood, the leading home of cause-driven crowdfunding, innovative partnerships, and social entrepreneur education. I first interviewed Tom nearly five years ago, on December 14, 2015. You can hear our previous interview at https://tonyloyd.com/018. Tom keeps coming back to one fundamental question. How do we get more people involved? “All of us are smarter than any of us,” he says. “It’s essential in a world that is evolving so rapidly. It’s never good enough to come up with a single good idea, a single solution, because things that were proven to work yesterday won’t work tomorrow. “Those of us who care about the future, the planet, and the community, we need not just to find innovations, we need to build an innovation muscle. As a community, the best way to innovate is to ensure that every perspective is heard. Everyone has an opportunity to participate in that process of creating a better future. “One of my foundational beliefs is that all the ideas are already out there. They’re often held by someone who has lived experience of a particular challenge. “But so many people don’t know how to get their ideas out into the world. They don’t know how to turn it into a story that will resonate with people. They don’t know how to identify: Who is it for? What’s the value I create for them? “They don’t have access to a network or impact investors or other types of supporters. So, we started with crowdfunding, but since then, we’re adding all these pieces that might help people make that leap as well.” What Do Early-Stage Social Entrepreneurs Need? “There are three key types of capital they need to underpin progress and impact. “There’s intellectual capital, which is knowing how to do things or accessing the people who do. “Financial capital is in some ways to fill the gaps of your intellectual capital – to pay for things that you can’t acquire in other ways. And to boost growth and reach. “And then relational capital, which helps you not to burn out. It’s more than accessing people who know stuff. It’s people who care about you – people who understand the journey. “ The Next Level of Evolution for StartSomeGood Today, StartSomeGood builds capacity for early-stage social innovators in several ways. They run accelerators on behalf of corporate partners. They have the Good Hustle, a ten-week social enterprise design course. And they offer other workshops. They run live crowdfunding events called Pitch for Good. They run inspirational events such as their annual Starting Good virtual summit. They provide the Starting Good Network, an exclusive community for those committed to changing the world. And they continue to innovate on their crowdfunding platform. StartSomeGood now offers a recurring crowdfunding model. Learn More About Tom Dawkins and StartSomeGood: StartSomeGood: https://startsomegood.com Recurring Crowdfunding model: https://startsomegood.com/recurring Good Hustle: https://www.goodhustle.online Starting Good virtual summit: https://www.starting.gd Starting Good Network: https://startsomegood.com/starting-good Tom Dawkins on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tomdawkins Tom Dawkins on Twitter: https://twitter.com/tomjd
In season two, we’ve been telling stories of a just and equitable transition to a clean energy future. The Coronavirus is a wakeup call. If you don’t know by now, the way we’ve been living isn’t working for the earth. Most of all, it is not working for the poorest inhabitants of the earth. Climate change, extreme weather, hurricanes, floods, droughts, melting glaciers, rising sea level , wildfires, degraded food supplies, tick-borne diseases, mosquito-borne diseases, climate refugees, political instability  – these are just a few results of our current way of living. The way we produce, transmit, and store our energy, hurts the poorest among us. The way we grow, waste, and consume food hurts the poorest among us. The way we transport ourselves, and our goods, hurts the poorest among us. We way we produce and consume goods, hurts the poorest among us. The way we build, heat, and cool buildings, hurts the poorest among us. The climate crisis is a social justice crisis. But there are solutions: wind energy, solar, energy efficient lighting, smart buildings, regenerative agriculture, alternative transportation systems, and consumer trends are available to us. We must change. We can change. And we will change - if not for ourselves, for the poorest among us. That is why we produced season two of Social Entrepreneur where we’ve been telling stories of a just and equitable transition to a clean energy future. Season Two Wrap-up In Season Two, we talked with: Jonathan Foley of Project Drawdown. Jessica Hellman, Director of the Institute on Environment at the University of Minnesota. Ry Brennan. Ry reminds us that the problems with electrical generation and distribution are systemic and complex. The solutions are at the systems level. Janet McCabe of the Environmental Resilience Institute Mark Kuo of Routific Robert Blake of Solar Bear. Deepinder Singh of 75F Mary Jane Melendez of General Mills Lauren Gregor of Rent-a-Romper Steven Downey of Harmony Fuels Sebastian Sajoux of Arqlite Dave Goebel of enVerde Looking Ahead to Season Three of Social Entrepreneur We’re kicking things off with someone I admire and consider to be a friend, Tom Dawkins of StartSomeGood. Karima Ladhani will tell us about Giving Cradle and Barakat Bundle. Ruth Biza will tell us about #ThisisMyEra. One of my favorite storytellers, Denise Withers will talk about Story Design. And Nichol Beckstrand will talk about YardHomesMN. Still Looking for Guests for Season Three Our commitment is this: We tell positive stories from underrepresented voices, focused on solutions. If you know someone we should interview, here is what we’re looking for in a guest: https://tonyloyd.com/guest.
enVerde converts organic waste into sustainable clean energy. The Office for Technology Commercialization (OTC) is the office at the University of Minnesota whose mission is to facilitate the transfer of technology to licensees. This allows for the development of new products and services that benefit the public good. It also fosters economic growth and generates revenue. Since 2006, the University has spun out 170 startup companies. But there is a challenge. Technology transfer is not simple. For a venture to be successful, it must be desirable (the market wants it), feasible (an organization can produce a market solution), and viable (the cost structure and returns are sustainable). There is a vast desert from license to commercialization. Research can create an idea that is desirable but is not viable or sustainable. It takes time to prove out and commercialize a technology. The time and effort to commercialize a technology is often called the commercialization gap. On today’s episode of Social Entrepreneur, we talk to Dave Goebel, CEO and Founder of enVerde. enVerde has licensed a thermochemical catalytic technology from the University of Minnesota. The catalyst converts organic material into heat energy. enVerde provides circular economy solutions by repurposing carbon-containing waste into clean, sustainable energy and chemicals. The Problem with Organic Waste Every day, the average American generates 4.4 pounds of waste. That includes paper, plastics, yard trimmings, food waste, wood, rubber, leather, textiles, and more. At the same time, the US Energy Information Administration predicts nearly 50% increase in world energy usage by 2050. What if we could use organic waste to provide clean, renewable energy? That’s the promise of enVerde. They are addressing the nearly infinite amount of organic waste and the growing need for energy. They do so in an environmentally friendly, cost-effective manner. Waste becomes a resource instead of a problem. “Waste is stored energy and we have a clean way to liberate, free, that energy for our use,” says enVerde Founder and CEO, Dave Goebel. “We economically transform organic wastes into a product called syngas. We also produce heat in the process. Both syngas and heat can be power sources for making electricity. “Syngas is also convertible into new clean fuels like hydrogen, methanol, or dimethyl ether. It can be green precursor for other chemical processes displacing petroleum products. “Agricultural, industrial, commercial, and other organizations decrease their operating expenses by significantly reducing their waste streams and creating clean fuels/heat they can use locally and immediately.” Recent Successes enVerde is finding some successes along the way. The inventor of the technology, Dr. Paul Dauenhauer won a MacArthur Foundation Genius Award.  enVerde was also selected as a member of the next cohort with Creative Destruction Lab. Creative Destruction Lab accelerator program is based out of Calgary, Alberta. Learn More About David Goebel and enVerde: enVerde: https://www.enverdellc.com enVerde on Twitter: https://twitter.com/enVerdeLLC enVerde on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/enVerdeLLC University of Minnesota Office for Technology Commercialization: https://research.umn.edu/units/techcomm/about-us/overview Dr. Paul Dauenhauer, MacArthur Fellow: https://www.macfound.org/fellows/1056 Creative Destruction Lab, Energy: https://www.creativedestructionlab.com/streams/energy
For extended show notes, look here: https://tonyloyd.com/sebastian-sajoux/ 93% of plastic is not recycled.   Only seven to nine percent of the plastic that is generated on an annual basis is recycled. Sebastian Sajoux explains, “The plastics go to a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF, pronounced “Murph”), and then go into a recycling system. Still, 50% of plastics that are manufactured are impossible to recycle with current technologies.   “The number that’s really scary is, by 2050 the amount of plastic used and discarded will double.”   “We are in this race to become more efficient in separation and recycling, but we are still manufacturing products that cannot be recycled.”  Why Some Plastic is Born Unrecyclable   "Plastics are divided into categories,” Sebastian told me. “Usually, you see the numbers one through seven in a recycling system. They can only be recycled within the same stream.   “There are also rigid plastics, such as a shampoo bottle, and flexible plastic, which is a wrapping, for example, for an Oreo Cookie or Lays Potato Chips.   “For flexible plastics, because it is so thin, it requires different layers to work together to be safer, to keep the product for more time. So, you exchange thickness for another technology. If you combine two different types of plastics, it is automatically unrecyclable.   “What we are addressing is all of the flexible packaging out there that was born unrecyclable. It seems like a wrapper from, let’s say a butter toffee, it’s harmless. But people discard them every day.   “So, laminates are our main focus.”   A Solution to Unrecyclable Plastics  Arqlite takes unrecyclable mixed plastic and produces a gravel that can be used in construction.   When compared to traditional mineral gravel, Arqlite’s smart gravel is three times lighter, ten times better insulator, doesn’t break or produce dust, and doesn’t require hydration. These are all characteristics that are desirable in the construction industry.   Lighter gravel is easier and cheaper to transport. It can be manufactured locally, reducing costs and greenhouse gas emission. And, it does not require mining to produce.   Builders who use Arqlite smart gravel can gain LEED points. The material is recycled, it is locally produced, and it improves insulation.   The solution is scalable. “I didn’t want to make countertops and sell 100 countertops per day,” Sebastian says. “I wanted to make gravel and sell 100 trucks per day.”   Learn More About Sebastian Sajoux and Arqlite:  Arqlite: https://www.arqlite.com   Arqlite on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/arqlite_us   Arqlite on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/arqlite   Arqlite on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2aC0VRGB6dLgKxEtCkAI6A/videos  
How do you reduce your carbon footprint without breaking the bank?   Did you turn on your heat this week? A lot of people in the northern hemisphere either already did, or they will soon. For 12 million homes in the US, that meant burning heating oil or propane, both of which contribute to climate change.   For single family homes, the cost of replacing oil and propane furnaces is unrealistic. According to Bankrate, only 40% of Americans could absorb an unexpected expense of $500 or more. Lots of people want to reduce their carbon footprint, but they don’t have extra money to spend.  That’s where Harmony Fuels comes in. They are the only carbon-neutral provider of home heating fuel in the US. They didn’t invent a new oil or propane. They make it easy for consumers to reduce their carbon footprints by offering carbon offsets. For each gallon of heating oil or propane its customers purchase, Harmony Fuels buys the equivalent number of pounds of carbon offsets from certified green energy projects.  Steve Downey is the president of Harmony Fuels. He admits that carbon offsets are not a silver bullet, but it’s a step in the right direction.   Learn More About Steven Downey and Harmony Fuels:  Steven Downey on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/stevenjdowney   Harmony Fuels: https://www.harmonyfuels.com   Harmony Fuels on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/harmonyfuels   Harmony Fuels on Twitter: https://twitter.com/harmonyfuels   Harmony Fuels on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/harmony_fuels  
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Comments (6)

Happy⚛️Heritic

This podcast & the interviewees gives me hope for humanity.

Nov 18th
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Hex_Medusa

After listening to this podcast on a few different platforms. I think for me at least it is safe to say that this podcast is basically a bio intro for the person speaking, transitioning into a 20 min advertisement for a company. If that is what you are looking for you are at a great place. If you want more substance regarding approaches, models and so on you might want to skip this podcast.

Sep 1st
Reply

Victoria Muchiri

Great content. I'd really love to transcribe your podcasts. People who are deaf, hard-of-hearing, non-native speakers, or suffer from auditory neuropathy spectrum disorder may have trouble following a fast conversation. Transcription provides an avenue for them to absorb everything you are putting out. My email is vickies2cents@gmail.com. Thank you.

Aug 9th
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She Ra

Are there any podcasts in particular about disaster response or recovery? I've done a few keyword searches but nothing is coming up.

Feb 13th
Reply

Trudi Lawrie

fantastic. glad to have found you. can't wait to learn more

Oct 10th
Reply (1)
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