The Next Time You Cut Your Finger, Save a Life

Ten thousand people need bone marrow transplants each year to fight life-threatening diseases, but only half of them get one. Graham Douglas, who works at ad agency Droga5, came up with a unique solution to get more donors: Stick a sign-up kit inside a Band-Aid box. When people cut their finger and goes hunting for a Band-Aid, they can just dab some of the blood on a Q-tip-like swab, drop it in an envelope already included in the kit, and put it in the mail to the lab.

Read more on GOOD 

Entrepreneur Spotlight: 

The entrepreneurs behind the schoolbag that transforms into a light at night

When South African childhood friends and later entrepreneurs Thato Kgatlhanye and Rea Ngwane finished high school, they knew they wanted to start something that impacted young people and underprivileged communities. At age 18, they founded Rethaka, a social enterprise they hoped would do just that, although it would be two years before they figured out how. 

Repurpose Schoolbags is an environmentally-friendly innovation made from ‘upcycled’ plastic shopping bags with built-in solar technology that charges up during the day and transforms into a light at night. The initiative targets school children in underprivileged communities and looks at addressing a number of problems.

Firstly, the bags allow them to study after dark in homes without electricity. Secondly, the bags are designed with reflective material, so that children are visible to traffic during their walk to and from school.

The production of Repurpose Schoolbags also involves the collection and recycling of plastic bags that typically litter the South African landscape.

Erika Varga of Romani Design is an award-winning fashion designer who has created the world’s first Roma-owned, Roma-designed fashion label.

She is located in lovely Budapest, Hungary and specilizes in using traditional motifs and techniques to create updated and modern clothing and jewelry.

Her mission is to create a positive image of the Roma people to help combat discrimiation and stereotypes.  Etsy:
Blog: If you are in Budapest, visit the showroom located right next to the St. Stephen Basilica (Szent István Bazilika) at 1051 Szent István tér 3 on the third floor.
Catch up on the very first #SocEntHangout: Financing Social Impact!

How do we get money to the projects that are doing good around the world? 

And as a changemaker how do I begin thinking about the best way to find the right kind of finance for my organisation? 

Earlier this month, StartSomeGood brought together a panel of experts for our very first #SocEntHangout for Changemakers Festival, to explore the opportunities, obstacles and future directions in the rapidly changing world of social impact finance. 

Joining us for the discussion was: 

Sandy Blackburn-Wright - Social Finance Adviser for the Centre for Social Impact and Convenor of The Social Marketplace

Cameron Burgess -  the provocateur behind the widely wed blog uncompromise 

Kaj Lofgren - Director of Strategy at Small Giants Group 

Caroline Vu - New Generation of Giving Manager at Philanthropy Australia 

Tom Dawkins - Cofounder/CEO of 

Our panelists looked at some of the emerging ways of financing social impact such as social impact bonds, impact investment and, of course, crowdfunding.  

There was heated discussion over the pace and methods of financing social impact. What are the most efficient ways to direct financial capital?  Do we proceed with caution? Or is do we not have time for that?  

They also reflected on the relationship between new and old methods of funding with predictions that new funding models, which partner traditional philanthropy with community driven funding (such as StartSomeGood & ING Direct’s Dreamstarter) will be the way of the future. However, as Caroline from Philanthropy Australia highlighted, there is “always going to be philanthropy because some things don’t have business models, nor should they." 

Finally, our panelists wrapped up with some absolutely unmissable advice for changemakers looking to finance their projects, from how to pitch to investors to where to begin looking for funding. Want to know what their advice was? You’ll have to watch the hangout! 

Resources for changemakers looking to finance social impact projects: - the global crowdfunding platform for social good projects. 

Philanthropy Australia - the national peak body for philanthropy in Australia. The website is full of resources and opportunities to network. 

B Corporation - great resource on what a B-corp is and the benefits of becoming one. 

Small Giants - the website for Small Giants Group who are leading the way in supporting businesses that deliver social impact through partnerships and investments  

Centre for Social Impact - dedicated to exploring a systems approach to social impact through government, business and social purpose sectors

uncompromise  - a resource blog for changemakers which aims to increase the revenue, reach and impact of world-changing endeavours

We’re looking to do more #SocEntHangouts in 2014 and we want to know what kind of topics/guests you want to see! Let us know in the comments section below!

One shirt purchased provides one month of schooling to a child who would otherwise not receive an education. One shirt will plant 3 trees through much needed reforestation projects.  One shirt will save an animal in a shelter, either through spay and neuter programs or food and health services.  One shirt provides clean water for a year for a person at risk of life threatening waterborne illnesses. 

Buy a good shirt. Choose a good cause. THIS SHIRT HELPS

When “green,” “sustainable” or resilient cities come to mind, the usual suspects crop up: Portland,AmsterdamSan Francisco and even high-tech Abu Dhabi score plenty of attention. As more cities push their green agenda the way they promote business opportunities or local tourism, some cities are way ahead of others. Mayors now try to jockey themselves to the front of the sustainability beauty contest with some cities here in the United States showing far more success (Chicago) than others that miserably fail (Los Angeles). Around the world are many cities that have responsive government, vibrant passion at the grass roots level, or both.

Whether they benefit from visionary leaders, flourishing social enterprise, or commitment from community activists, the following 10 cities are well worth a visit to experience their transformation and resilience. If they are not in your travel plans anytime soon, track them from afar. The progress underway in these cities will inspire other mayors and civil societies to learn from their example.

Accra, Ghana: As more African cities seek to balance economic growth with sustainable development, Accra will attract more interest from inside out beyond Africa in the coming year. A joint Siemens and Economist Intelligence Units study recently ranked this leading African business center as a top green city on the continent. Accra benefits from scores of local NGOs and regional offices of leading international organizations. Local companies like MTN, Ghana’s largest telecommunications company, boast professionals that are building a corporate social responsibility culture in Accra.

Whether they benefit from visionary leaders, flourishing social enterprise, or commitment from community activists, the following 10 cities are well worth a visit to experience their transformation and resilience. If they are not in your travel plans anytime soon, track them from afar. The progress underway in these cities will inspire other mayors and civil societies to learn from their example.

Accra, Ghana: As more African cities seek to balance economic growth with sustainable development, Accra will attract more interest from inside out beyond Africa in the coming year. A joint Siemens and Economist Intelligence Units study recently ranked this leading African business center as a top green city on the continent. Accra benefits from scores of local NGOs and regional offices of leading international organizations. Local companies like MTN, Ghana’s largest telecommunications company, boast professionals that are building a corporate social responsibility culture in Accra.

Adelaide, Australia: 2011 was a punishing year for Australia with floods and drought. But Adelaide is hanging in there as its downtown becomes a hotbed ofgreen building and clean energy. The city, which is in the early stages of a 30 year plan to improve its quality of life, has its critics who believe plenty of space in the center core could be retrofitted for commercial or residential use. Could Adelaide become more two-wheel friendly with its hosting of a bicycling conference later this month? Its integrated design strategy wraps up this June.

Belgrade, Serbia: Europeans in the know will argue that Serbia’s capital has the most exhilarating nightlife in Europe. But during the day, the city in the Balkans boasts vast swaths of nature in its inner core and along the outskirts. As Serbia creeps towards integration within the European Union, the city brims with activists that are challenging the status quo on everything from waste disposal to government transparency to developing a local market for sustainable agriculture. Organizations like Ecoist, the year-oldSerbia Green Building Council and CRNPS have their work cut out for them. With 75 percent of Belgrade’s buildings constructed before 1980 municipal funding lacking and red tape a hurdle, those who want a role in transforming one of Europe’s most exciting capitals will need plenty of chutzpah to make a difference. The effort will be worth it.

Wecyclers CEO, Bilikis Adebeyi

(via Recycling waste can create 500,000 jobs in Nigeria| West Africa)

Wecyclers is a social enterprise which incentivizes people living in poor areas of Lagos to recycle their household waste, preventing it from piling up. Lagos born and raised Founder and CEO Bilikiss Adebeyi, previously worked at IBM and conceived of the idea whilst doing an MBA at MIT business school.

At 31 she is a mother of two, and was recently chosen as a Laureate of the Cartier Women’s Initiative Award.

Wecyclers uses special bicycles to peddle through these neighbourhoods, picking up bags of recyclable goods from subscribers, who earn points based on the weight of their trash. The point can then be cashed in for rewards, such as a blender.

Garden Space is Here!

Sometimes its great when you begin to see ideas become real, and in the case of this new venture I reckon thats certainly the case!

Garden Space is going to be a new social enterprise, though very much connected with space inclusive, that will help young people with intergration and employment.

Services we’ll offer will include Patio and Turf Laying; Block Paving; Garden Clearance; Lawn Mowing…in fact, anything (within reason obviously!) to do with Garden Maintenance.

So, eat your heart out Alan Titchmarsh! This is going to be a fantastic venture, and if you live in the Nottingham area, don’t hesistate to get in touch!  

How one Connecticut company raised $10,000 for their Social Enterprise Investment Fund

reSET is a Connecticut-based nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote, preserve, and protect social enterprise. Ojala Naeem and James Woulfe are just two of the many people at reSET who contributed to making this StartSomeGood campaign a success. Learn more below about how Ojala, James, and team were able to raise $10,000 to start the Social Enterprise Investment Fund and lend much needed funds to promising social enterprises:

How was your crowdfunding experience? Were there any nervous moments along the way?

James: Our crowdfunding experience was a very positive one. We launched our campaign to tap into the unique audience that crowdfunding could provide us with, and they really delivered. Over 50% of the supporters for our campaign were individuals we’d never formally interacted with. Nervous moment? There were some nervous moments about halfway through the campaign. We felt like we might have reached a wall, but we pivoted, and made more one-on-one personal appeals, and that definitely boosted the number of donations we started receiving. 

Ojala: I agree with James, I think it was a very positive experience. I also think it was a HUGE learning experience. We went into this knowing it would require a lot of time and effort from our end, but I don’t think we realized how much we could learn – about how crowdfunding works, what our supporters are looking for, what types of outreach are most effective, and how best to get our message across.

What kind of preparation is involved in putting together a crowdfunding campaign? What was your strategy for spreading the word?

James: As far as legwork, we did a significant amount of tweeting, mass e-mails, and personal e-mail appeals to people in our network, in addition to leveraging the networks of some of our state and local allies for outreach. We worked hard to keep our messaging consistent, without overwhelming our network. 

Ojala: We tried to plan out our strategy well in advance – before we even began filling out the information on StartSomeGood’s website. We first thought about what resources we had available – our network, our partners, social media, etc. Then we came up with a solid plan on what types of messaging we would send across to spread the word.

If you could start your campaign all over again, would you do anything differently?

James: We had a limited amount of time we could devote to our crowdfunding campaign due to some of our other responsibilities. If we could do it again, I think we would have really dug deep and tapped into the various state and national networks we have access to, which would have been more time-intensive to develop. 

Ojala: I would work on sending more clear updates, and do prior research on how to reach individuals outside of our existing networks. Ideally, I’d love to see more supporters engage in the campaign from outside of Connecticut. 

What do you think were the main factors that contributed to your success? Do you have any special tips for would-be crowdfunders?

James: The key factors that contributed to our success were our consistent messaging and personal appeals. People want to contribute to a cause that resonates with them; they want to be part of something bigger than themselves. For our first attempt at crowdfunding, I think we did a pretty good job with that. 

Ojala: Tip–don’t do this alone. James and I were able to do a lot of the preparation for this campaign, but we could not have gotten so far without the help of the entire reSET staff and supporters. Make sure you have a couple of people that are willing to help you with reaching out about your campaign-–it’s the most vital part of crowdfunding.

What’s next for you and your organization, and how can followers say in touch?

Ojala: We’ve got a very busy, but exciting few months ahead of us! Watching the social enterprise community strengthen and grow is one of the most rewarding parts of our job, and supporting a network of dedicated and inspiring social enterprises is what we are all about! Thanks to a successful crowdfunding campaign and support from our network, the Social Enterprise Investment Fund is officially up and running and we will be accepting applications from entrepreneurs shortly. We’re also working hard to make Connecticut the 20th state in the nation to pass benefit corporation legislation, which we think will really jump-start our state’s social enterprise sector. Finally, we’ll be busy supporting entrepreneurs at our Community Space through our various programs and services to help more and more social enterprises launch, scale, and create positive impact in their communities.

Karen Pace, Peacebar–one of the many entrepreneurs reSET will be able to help get off the ground with the Social Enterprise Investment Fund!

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out:

Ojala Naeem, Incubator and IT Manager,
James Woulfe, Public Policy and Impact Investing Specialist,


Inspired by Ojala and James’ story? What good do you want to create? Visit our site to learn about how to start your own campaign.

5. Never stop innovating. The future of social entrepreneurship is limited only by our imaginations and creativity. In many ways, all socially-responsible businesses are moving in this direction. Their employees and shareholders are demanding they be accountable for more than just dragging money to the bottom line — making new approaches to problems a must. We are in continual dialogue with our clients to identify the new products and services that they most need to build stable, more secure livelihoods.

To me, social enterprise is a business model that follows the three ethics of Permaculture: 

  • Earth Care (tackling environmental issues)
  • People Care (tackling social issues)
  • Fair Share (reinvesting profits in pursuing the above)

This article highlights the importance of good business sense in creating a sustainable social enterprise. 

If you don’t read it all, take one key point: everything else comes secondary to a fantastic product.

Do a good product while doing good in the world: your social enterprise will be good.

Do a poor product while doing good in the world: your social enterprise will be poor.


The abandonment and decay of Detroit’s urban fabric is a compellingly documented story of the once mighty ‘Motor City’ fallen on hard times. In recent years there has been much discussion, and some hope, that the city might be reborn as an inspirational example of new urban farming and sustainable living. The debate on ’what to do with Detroit,’ and the reality of the initiatives happening in the city, is complex, partisan and fraught.

Local businessman John Hantz has been buying up large swathes of land with promises of urban farms, forests and employment. Yet he has faced vociferous opposition by those who see him building a land bank, bought 'on the cheap,’ as a personal investment.

The Greening of Detroit is one of many ambitious community projects to resuscitate and rejuvenate the city, and Recovery Park hopes to create fish farms, greenhouses and local food businesses from the derelict urban wasteland. Alongside these community projects individuals, such as new urban farmers Carolyn Leadley and Jack van Dyke, are investing their own time and money in Detroit’s future.

Whatever your own views may be on any of the particular initiatives, the story of a city struggling to redefine and reinvent itself is an important one for us all at the start of the 21st century. The Detroit Works Project has put in place a framework for action. Take a look at their strategy.

A zone for meritocracy — that alone would be an achievement in Guatemala. Since the first coffee boom that began around 1875, Guatemala’s economy has been defined by wild swings, cronyism and wide income disparities, with ethnic and class divisions that have mostly kept the poor poor and the rich rich.

And yet, as an urban microprocessor — a catalyst for change — Campus Tec is showing signs of promise. After about a year of operation, neighbors say it is already stirring a small revival in a district called 4 Grados that has had its ups and downs.

Many of the companies inside, under exposed air ducts meant to signify Important Creative Work, were founded by Guatemalans with foreign experience. The motion graphics start-up on the seventh floor, BigoMo, consisted of two people: one, Pedro Méndez, 28, had worked in Spain; the other, Kristoffer Hormander, 25, recently returned from three years at Full Sail University outside Orlando, Fla.

Both said that they came back to Guatemala because they felt there were more opportunities for creativity, and less competition for business. One recent independent report, from The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, found that the average cost to start a business in Guatemala is only $7,569, compared with $17,513 in Brazil and $39,670 in Costa Rica.

“I honestly think a new Guatemala is being born right now,” Mr. Mini said. “But,” he added, “it’s going to take time.”

Is the Social Enterprise Bubble About to Burst?

Social enterprises are transforming development work, and social entrepreneurs are being hailed as rock stars. But are these do-good companies just another business trend? Social entrepreneurs talk about profit vs. impact, being treated as ‘godly human beings,’ and whether or not their bubble is about to burst.

Read more on GOOD→ 

“Test early and test often. Start on a small scale, iterate, and course-correct,” advises Beth Gerstein (MBA ’03) to entrepreneurs who are testing out an idea. This iterative process allowed her and cofounder Eric Grossberg (MBA ’04) to bootstrap their online jewelry business Brilliant Earth, which sells ethically sourced diamonds. Today their social enterprise is transforming the diamond industry. Read more: 

Photo credit: Brilliant Earth

StartSomeGood News: Father and son team swimming, riding and running their way to a new solar well!

written by Jesse Delbridge

Brand New Good! Recently launched campaigns: 

The Florida Gators are spreading good one family at a time. These College Students Buddy Up with Kids in Hospitals in their area and offer help to exhausted and overburdened families. The Gators also organise Bone Marrow Registration Drives and community outreach programs in a holistic approach to patient support. Spread the good and help them reach their tipping goal of $5,000 to register as a nonprofit and purchase training supplies to initiate a second program. 

Terrorists are targeting Africa’s elephants in the Zambezi river valley, turning to the cruel practice of wildlife trafficking to fund their activities. In the face of armed poachers, Chengeta Wildlife’s tipping goal of $20,000 is urgently needed to train rangers who put themselves on the line to protect these majestic beasts. Strike a blow to terrorism and help safeguard the Zambezi’s elephant population. 

Join Mary Beth Tinker, free speech champion and activist, on a journey across the American east coast in her hot pink ‘free speech bus’ named Gabby. Mary and her team inspired over 20,000 students and educators on the Tinker Tour, spreading a message of student empowerment and giving young people the tools they need to make a real difference. The Tinker Tour West: Helping Young People Roar needs $25’000 to fund their spring tour, and bring real life civic lessons to schools and communities across the U.S.

The Elephant Magazine needs $12,000 to cover the costs of Australia’s first national good-news magazine, written and run by ‘little people doing big things’ in social enterprise, aid work and NGOs throughout the country. They’re hoping to publish 5,000 copies, and any surplus revenue will go to funding some of the projects featured in the issue. 

Wrecked for Watera father and son team, is only not far away from  their tipping point to install a new solar pumping system in a remote village of the Solomon Islands. To fundraise for the system, Tim is undertaking a Half Ironman Challenge, involving a 1.9km swim, a 90km road ride and a 21km run!

Let’s Celebrate! Recently tipped campaigns:

IT’S TIME is teaching and empowering young people to Invest like Buffet and debate like Obama and have exceeded their tipping point by $1,000! This will allow them train 15 new future leaders this year. 

The LDN Research Trust has raised an impressive £8,515 to produce a documentary to raise awareness of a potentially life changing treatment for a variety of chronic diseases, including MS, Crohn’s disease, Cancer and HIV. LDN (Low Dose Naltrexone) has enormous potential but few companies are willing to finance further trials as patents have expired.

Making birth safe in Laos provides women with clean birth kids that reduce the risk of infection and serious health complications for newborns and mothers. They are well over their tipping point of $4,000 and will now be able to train 5 nurses, 15 volunteers and provide 250 birth kits. 

The River Song School in Bend, OR is a non profit Montessori school with a strong focus on Peace Education for children. Leaners are taught conflict resolution skills and compassionate communication in a supportive environment. Reaching their tipping point will fund a $1,000 partial scholarship. 

A passionate young woman recently set a goal of $1,500 to give the gift of education to one Nepalese girl at risk through the Little Sisters Fund. A Girl Trying to Save a Girl reached more than double its goal and the rewards included hand painted bowls and plates.

The REGEN Regrowth Festival 2014 raised $30,000 to help fund their 9th festival of art, performance, music, healing and tree planting. The festival uses 100% renewable energy and has greatly reduced their carbon footprint through a mass volunteer tree-planting event. To date over 60,000 trees have been planted; a great contribution to the rehabilitation of the Australian environment.