The World Economic Forum announced their newest class of Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneurs of the Year this week. The list recognizes 12 entrepreneurs whose social good enterprises are changing the global landscape.
Their initiatives range in size and scope, but they all share the common goal of aiding and advancing underserved groups around the world.
From a waste management and design startup in India to a leading fair trade chocolate company, here’s a look at the 11 social good enterprises — and their 12 fearless leaders — that are changing the world today.
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David Risher and Colin McElwee are bringing e-books to millions of people.
Country: US (active in 69 countries; predominately in Africa)
Focus: Education and technology
David Risher, a former Microsoft and Amazon executive, and Colin McElwee, the former marketing director of ESADE business school in Barcelona, Spain, cofounded Worldreader in 2010 to bring digital books to the masses and improve the world’s literacy rate. The nonprofit boasts a cache of nearly 32,000 book titles in 43 languages available to readers in 69 countries.
Worldreader donates Kindle e-readers to schools through sponsorships and fundraising, and it also has a mobile application where a reported 5 million readers are accessing the full library of titles. A Worldreader survey revealed the organization’s impact on underserved groups, showing that while “girls and women make up 23% of readers on the Worldreader reading app, they consume 66% of the content.”
Jean-Marc Borello oversees 350 social enterprises across France.
Focus: Education, health, housing
Jean-Marc Borello is at the helm of perhaps the world’s largest social enterprise, Groupe SOS, which oversees 350 stand alone organizations that impact more than 1 million people in 20 countries.
Groupe SOS’s vast portfolio of social causes is controlled by three associations that were founded at the company’s inception in 1984: Prevention and Care of Addictions, Housing and Care, and Integration and Alternatives. Today, the group is committed to devising innovative solutions related to health, housing, education, social inclusion, senior citizens, and employment.
Luvuyo Rani operates a string of internet cafès and training centers in South Africa.
Country: South Africa
Over the past decade, Luvuyo Rani has scaled Silulo, his network of internet cafés and training centers for unemployed youth, to 39 branches throughout South Africa. In addition to offering accessible internet and how-to technology training to the masses, each branch offers résumé workshops and employment advice.
Through the “one stop shop,” more than 50% of Silulo’s students have secured jobs, some at Microsoft, Vodacom, and Tsiba thanks to partnerships with Silulo. Rani, who founded the company with his brother, is managing director. Through franchising, the pair aim to have a presence in every South African province and a total of 200 stores over the next 10 years.