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.

Swipe out hunger: Young social entrepreneur redistributes campus meal points to the needy 

If you’re like many college students living on campus, you have access to that sacred card that lets you swipe for seemingly infinite food options. And chances are, you have lots of unused dining dollars/swipes by the end of the year.

For Rachel Sumekh, the thought of wasting those meal points while there are people going hungry in her community was unsettling. And that’s when she and her two friends came up with the idea for Swipe Out Hunger.

Students who have have leftover dining dollars can opt to donate the remaining balance on their card to help feed community members facing hunger. Each donated swipe equates to one meal for someone facing hunger in their community.

Now with chapters in 20 colleges campuses across the nation, the organization has served more than one million meals.

“Through Swipe Out Hunger, I went from being just another student who cared to one who had a simple and powerful way to help end hunger,” says Sumekh, who is among the leading entrepreneurial millennials dedicated to creating social impact and combating hunger.  

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

It's Like an Online, For-Charity, Theme Party... For Profit?
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(image credit: Patrick Hoesly)

Increasingly, websites and organizations are popping up where you can spend, grow and give your money – all in the same place.

Places like Kiva, where you can make microloans to people in developing countries, or Kickstarter, where you can make donations to all sorts of little projects and causes that need money, are – by millennial standards – kind of old. However, these sites are sort of like big, anything-goes charity ragers. Websites like and, on the other hand, are more like theme parties.

These sites focus on specific causes – WorldPennyJar rasies money for disaster relief and GreenFunder focuses on “green” businesses and projects. That way, projects and organizations that need support don’t have to compete with a million other random people, and people who want to support a specific cause don’t have to spend forever searching through the crowd.

Keep reading

Always happy to wear my vegan pride for everyone to see! Change doesn’t happen over night but collectively we can all share a cruelty free message and urge people to be more compassionate in every aspect of their lives. 

What sets Tantamount Apparel apart is that the company and philosophies are built around a cycle of equality. The shirts are sustainably sourced from the softest, eco-friendly fabric! The unique designs challenge societal norms and have enough edge to keep all eyes on you.

But Tantamount Apparel doesn’t stop there. As ‘tantamount’ means equality, with each purchase from the online store, one pound of organic, fresh, and healthy fruits and vegetables are donated to people who are currently experiencing homelessness or living below the poverty line. All species - both animals and humans - deserve the highest respect so this is awesome! #equalityforall

Why does Tantamount Apparel donate fruits and vegetables? Drastic health inequalities can be measured in the lack of access to adequate nutrition that vulnerable populations have. A poor diet leads to health conditions that often can be reversed by eating a balanced vegan diet. Unfortunately, many food drives only accept canned and processed goods with long shelf lives and people often donate food they would no longer put into their bodies.

Health should not be a privilege, because access to food is a right we all share.

With a dream and a vegan diet, Tantamount Apparel now supports jobs globally, sources soft pure fabrics, gives a voice to animals, and donates healthy food for those in need.

Support a fellow vegan! Link below:

Entrepreneur Spotlight:

Chantal Butare, 21, Rwanda

Chantal Butare launched her Kinazi Dairy Cooperative in 2012 to help Rwandan genocide survivors, who had been given cows under a government assistance program, but who were struggling to sell and market their milk. The initiative now serves more than 3,200 farmers, and supplies markets in Rwanda and Burundi.
The 10 Emerging Sustainable Cities to Watch in 2012

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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

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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.

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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.

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.

Kyoto: Discovering the Beauty in Imperfection - Wabi-Sabi

Whether or not you are familiar with Wabi-Sabi, it is a difficult concept to fully understand. Ingrained in Japanese design and influenced by Buddhism, the viewpoint is simply defined as the beauty of imperfect, impermanent and incomplete things, which many of us associate with the cliché “perfect imperfection.” To some degree, this paradoxical assumption is correct as the loose translation of the word “Wabi” refers to the type of beauty underpinned by imperfection, while “Sabi” refers to the beauty of the inevitable aging process. Upon delving deeper into the subject area it is clear that its significance is greater than superficial factors as it is underpinned by spiritual meaning. Using the perception of sight, sound and smell, Wabi-Sabi encourages people to appreciate the surrounding environment by stripping down and experiencing everything in its basic form. This perspective enables people to find interest for simple objects and in turn, lead a more fulfilling life.

From a design point of view, it is easy to see why Wabi-Sabi is often confused with both minimal and natural aesthetics; both of which are disciplines separate in their own right. However, the tangible aspects are conceivably easier to grasp than its intangible elements, which is suggested by the popularity of Wabi-Sabi inspired decor in many restaurants, shops and homes. However, in many instances even this goes underappreciated due to either misrepresentation or lack of understanding for both the designer and the consumer.

Hypebeast Magazine, “Kyoto: Discovering the Beauty in Imperfection - Wabi-Sabi” by Cody Horne, November 2014.

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.

How'ya Like Them Apples?

Someone I knew in my life BB (before Burundi) once told me that I’d be doing better by the world if I were starting a business (as of course he was) than I would be by working at a clinic in the developing world. His argument involved something about job stimulus, classism and xenophobia… I forget the finer points. 

Well, happy news! I’ve been promoted. I’m now leading our Economic Development programs. Effectively, I’m helping to start four new businesses that will benefit more than 100 women (victims of gender based violence, specifically) and their families, not to mention aid in developing a naissent economy in the world’s 4th poorest country. We’re using a co-op model that will pay everyone fair wage and then reinvesting any additional profits into business training and micro insurance. 

I’ll end there because I’m on the edge of my ability to remain civil. I’ll just close with a great big, “How'ya like them apples?"
Five lessons for making a difference in the world

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.