- Social Entrepreneurs to Watch for in 2023
- Charlot Magayi // Mukuru Clean Stoves
- Fahad Ifaz // iFarmer
- Carlo Mondavi // Monarch Tractor
- Nguzo Ogbodo // Yara Shea Beauty
- Anieke Lamers // Peekabond
- Adam Taubenfligel // Triarchy
- Cherie Hoeger // saalt
- Tony Selvaggio // eSmart Recycling
- Ifi Akpandak // Brava
- Umaimah Mendhro // One League
- Luuk Weber // Kolektivo
- Charley Cummings // Walden Mutual Bank
- Rose Correa // Amazonian SkinFood
- Hasan Siber // Colive
- Kentrell Martin // Shelly’s Adventures
- Ben Jeffreys // ATEC
- Denise Woodard // Partake Foods
- Darko Mandich // MeliBio
- Jim Chu // Untapped Global
- Kimberly Shenk // Novi
- Matthew Kochmann // Transcend
- Shavini Fernando // OxiWear
- Josh Hile // Citizen Mint
- Pauline Idogho // Mocktail Club
- Cory Ames // Grow Ensemble
- Greg G.L. Genco // Generation Conscious
- Eleonore Eisath // beworm
- Christal Earle // Brave Soles
- Jonathan Kumar // Samaritan
- Derin Oyekan // Reel Paper
- Erica Plybeah // MedHaul
This will mark the 10th edition of the Causeartist – Social Entrepreneurs to Watch for list! If you would like to check out the previous years of social entrepreneurs you can view them below.
Over the past nine years I’ve had the tremendous pleasure of speaking with nearly eight-hundred social entrepreneurs around the world.
This journey has allowed me to interview many leaders within:
- Impact Investing
- Ethical Fashion
- Regenerative Agriculture
Each year, I sit down and assess the social entrepreneur interviews I’ve completed, the stories I’ve read, and the podcasts I’ve listened to.
Our challenges are certainly large in scope, but there are many innovators and visionaries around the world working on solutions.
Each day we are inundated with the negative aspects of humanity and destructions of communities and societies.
These aspects are very real and very hard to confront on a daily basis.
Whether we agree or not how to deal with a changing climate, it is here, our biodiversity is going through stark changes.
Traditional educational institutions are facing disruption.
Mental health and addiction has crippled a generation.
Homelessness is no longer in the darkness, it is visible in the light of our daily lives.
Gun violence still brings tears to mothers who lose children.
Stomachs still turn and ache from malnutrition.
Still, my feelings of inspiration and optimism remain the same.
I have chosen to speak and fill my days with the dreamers, the visionaries, the social entrepreneurs, and the Causeartists who are dedicating their lives to solving these complicated issues.
I still believe business has the power to confront each of these issues in a unique way. I have seen first hand how business can transform communities, transform lives, and create purpose for those involved in building something impactful for the world.
I created Causeartist to do my small part in spotlighting these courageous and creative individuals for their daily commitment to solving problems and creating sustainable and regenerative impact.
Of course, these are not all the amazing people doing spectacular things. These particular social entrepreneurs to watch for in 2023 are the ones that stood out to me.
Social Entrepreneurs to Watch for in 2023
Charlot Magayi // Mukuru Clean Stoves
Charlot’s early life was very difficult. She became an orphan at the age 10 and grew up in the Mukuru Kwa Njenga slums, one of the biggest slums in Nairobi (Kenya’s capital city).
By sixteen she was a teenage mom and the journey continued to get harder from there.
Charlot had to drop out of school to figure out a way to fend for herself and daughter.
Her first job was selling charcoal within the slums.
Both her and her daughter began suffering from respiratory tract infections and when she turned two, her daughter suffered a severe burn injury from a traditional stove.
After a two year break from school, she was finally able to save enough for tuition and enrolled in an adult school – which opened her eyes to the health hazards caused by charcoal and other harmful solid fuels.
An enthusiast of science and social studies, she wanted to inspire fellow women to lead the fight against household air pollution in Africa!
Charlot eventually founded Mukuru Clean Stoves, a social enterprise that produces clean, affordable, and reliable cooking stoves targeting under-served markets to help mothers keep their children safe, save on fuel consumption, and reduce household air pollution.
Fahad Ifaz // iFarmer
Fahad is an entrepreneur with a vision to create innovative, sustainable and resilient solutions for people in emerging economies.
A big believer of businesses and entrepreneurs as driving force for human development.
Fahad believes as rationale human beings we don’t buy or invest in “things”.
“We don’t make decisions based on features and benefits, we make decisions based on emotion, intuition and a range of other calculations which are complex in nature similar to the markets which we thrive in.”
This is true for the poor farmers, producers, big corporations, governments and financial institutions.
Listen on Spotify.
Listen on Apple Podcasts.
Before establishing iFarmer, Fahad spent a decade delving into “market systems development” and “private sector development,” gaining extensive expertise in agriculture, micro-enterprise development, value chain enhancement, policy analysis, and private sector engagement across multiple countries in South Asia.
His rich background includes working with organizations such as the NGO Swisscontact-Katalyst, The World Bank, CARE Australia, and the SPRING Accelerator.
Fahad holds a BBA from NSU (2006-2010) and a Masters in Economics from NSU (2012-2013).
iFarmer serves as a bridge, linking farmers, landowners, investors, and crop buyers to establish a comprehensive farming supply chain.
Presently, the app and platform have garnered a user base of over 71,000 farmers in Bangladesh, and its growth continues to accelerate steadily month after month.
Carlo Mondavi // Monarch Tractor
Carlo Mondavi embodies the legacy of a 4th generation farmer and winegrower, tracing his lineage to the iconic Robert Mondavi.
Beyond his role in winemaking, Carlo stands as the co-founder and chief farming officer of Monarch Tractor, a venture founded in 2017.
His current engagement lies in active sustainable farming, spearheading the rollout of the world’s most advanced fully electric and autonomous tractor. This innovation is making its way to farms across the globe, revolutionizing the agricultural landscape.
In 2020, Carlo took on the mantle of co-founder at Monarch Tractor, playing a pivotal role in driving the integration of electric technology into agriculture for the cause of sustainability.
According to Carlo, “Sustainable” has taken on a diverse range of interpretations, somewhat blurring its fundamental essence.
However, genuine sustainability in farming translates to leaving the farmed soils and environment in a state that’s as good as, if not better than before, ensuring the continuity of life and farming in a healthy manner.
This involves steering clear of herbicides and systemics, adopting regenerative practices that fortify soil health and promote biodiversity on the farm.
Achieving this equilibrium on a farm lays the groundwork for a healthier farm team, which, in turn, fosters healthier communities and, crucially, yields superior and healthier products to be shared and sold.
Listen on Spotify.
Listen on Apple Podcasts.
Monarch Tractor is driving the forefront of sustainable farming by marrying ecological responsibility with economic prowess through their cutting-edge creation, the MK-V.
This groundbreaking innovation stands as the world’s most intelligent, fully electric autonomous tractor, a feat accomplished in an unprecedented three-year timeline thanks to a world-class leadership team committed to an accelerated vision-to-product journey.
At the core of Monarch Tractor’s innovation is the MK-V, a fully electric tractor that holds the potential to eradicate the substantial 35 percent of carbon emissions currently contributed by conventional diesel tractors utilized in agriculture.
Projections from Monarch are striking—indicating that their revolutionary tractor has the capacity to directly slash 1% of greenhouse gas emissions.
But that’s not all.
By fostering regenerative practices, facilitated by the Monarch tractor, the potential extends even further, with the potential to trim down an additional 4% of greenhouse gas emissions.
Nguzo Ogbodo // Yara Shea Beauty
Growing up in Nigeria, Nguzo knew that for many adolescent girls, puberty is a vulnerable time because of sexual harassment, abuse, early marriage, unintended pregnancy, and absences from school which threaten their health and well-being.
The challenges are amplified when girls lack the knowledge and tools they need to navigate puberty safely and with dignity.
She noticed that many girls and women who were denied an education could not afford sanitary pads—or had a choice between buying these products or food for the family.
In response, Nguzo launched Hope and Dreams Initiative, dedicated to menstrual health management, sexual and reproductive health, and rights education.
To help fund this initiative, she then created Yara Shea Beauty.
The brand seeks to make a positive difference in the world by offering high-quality, naturally inspired skincare and body care products produced ethically and sustainably.
Yara uses pure, unrefined shea butter sourced and handcrafted by women in Ghana according to Fair Trade and Organic standards.
It is made in the traditional way that it has been made for millennia, without the use of chemicals.
Profits from Yara Shea Beauty are used to provide young girls with sanitary pads, skills, education, and financial empowerment that can make a significant difference in their educational journey while providing dignity and hope.
“I have always believed that business can and should be a force for social good, as well as being a vehicle for profit and personal fulfillment.”
Anieke Lamers // Peekabond
Anieke is a former venture capitalist who has transformed into a dedicated social entrepreneur with a resolute goal: to ensure that every child across the globe experiences a sense of uniqueness and a strong connection to their origins and loved ones.
Through Peekabond, Anieke is actively engaged in fostering profound family connections for households spread across the world.
Her initiative unlocks profound ties between children, their families, and distant loved ones, all through a unique asynchronous connection.
This bond is facilitated through a delightful array of interactive lessons, engaging activities, captivating games, enchanting stories, and heartwarming songs, all designed to bring families closer together despite the distance.
Listen on Apple Podcasts.
Listen on Spotify.
Peekabond is aspiring to establish itself as a virtual haven for families, offering a space where they can revel in delightful activities and share valuable moments together.
Harnessing the potential of technology for positive outcomes, Peekabond is dedicated to fortifying genuine connections in real life.
Through its straightforward, captivating, and ingenious content suggestions available at the tap of a finger, Peekabond facilitates seamless closeness among every family member, bridging the gap even when physical proximity is not possible.
Adam Taubenfligel // Triarchy
Adam wears multiple hats as an author and co-founder, while also serving as the Creative Director and Sustainability Advocate for the fully sustainable fashion brand, Triarchy.
In his role, Adam is a driving force behind the innovation of fabric technology, traceability, and reusability, all geared towards minimizing waste and upholding authenticity.
His dedication is evident in his relentless pursuit of waste reduction at every possible point in the process.
Yet, the broader panorama reveals an audacious founder embarking on a journey to uncover how his roles as an author, sustainability advocate, designer, and LGBTQIA+ representative in this realm are converging at this precise moment, guiding him towards what lies ahead.
Triarchy, since its inception, has solidified its reputation through its sustainable and ethical practices, alongside its trendsetting designs.
The brand’s commitment to eco-friendly manufacturing methods, including ozone technology to curtail water waste, further cements its environmental consciousness.
Beyond this, Triarchy takes its commitment to social responsibility seriously.
Cherie Hoeger // saalt
Cherie is a passionate believer in living life to the fullest. She believes it’s important to uncover what drives us and our core principles, then use that knowledge to act with purpose each day.
Her focus has been on providing people with education as an avenue for personal growth – 15 years of writing experience have shown her how powerful clear instructions can be when trying to inspire positive change or better conditions.
With Saalt, Cherie is joining forces with her knowledge in health education and philanthropy to make a truly meaningful difference.
This innovative company is revolutionizing period care by providing sustainable solutions that support healthy living for women everywhere – both those of developed nations through simplifying processes and those lacking the necessary resources in developing countries where an investment can help lift them out of poverty and allow them stay engaged with school.
Tony Selvaggio // eSmart Recycling
Tony’s story is truly one of success and inspiration. At age 6, he began his entrepreneurial journey by selling candy treats, but this was just the start.
Tony then proceeded to found eSmart Recycling that has since blossomed into an award-winning social enterprise with retail locations throughout South America.
eSmart Recycling’s primary mission is to set up computer labs for kids in local community’s and in developing countries who don’t have access to technology.
They recycle computers, electronics, and IT equipment in order to fund these initiatives. Their partners are responsible for giving children all over the world the opportunity to leave their digital footprint and to make a global impact through technology.
Through this venture, Tony has managed to empower thousands of children through technology – amazing!
His unique combination of academic knowledge and practical experience allows him to thrive when dealing with cross-cultural scenarios.
Above all else though, it is clear from everything accomplished so far that Tony will always possess a passionate desire for learning which drives not only himself forward but those around him as well.
Ifi Akpandak // Brava
Ifi Onakemu is the innovative mind behind the software company Brava.
Brava makes it easy for individuals and corporations to support Black-owned businesses. For individuals, the platform offers a monthly subscription to local Black-owned restaurants.
For corporations, the platform helps you spend at Black-owned businesses through corporate gifting and employee rewards.
Businesses on the platform receive predictable revenues and early cash flows to reinvest in themselves and communities.
Umaimah Mendhro // One League
Umaimah is a formidable force in transforming the future of education and creativity.
Umaimah is the Founder and President of One League & VIDA.
She founded One League to provide world-class opportunities for change-makers. Prior to her ventures, while VIDA connects creative minds from around the globe who are able to produce original products at scale.
Umaimah is also the Founder of thedreamfly.org, a global initiative connecting communities in conflict around common causes with presence across four countries touching over 5,000 lives. dreamfly kickstarts seed initiatives that are 100% financially sustainable within one year.
Her presence is also felt on the TEDx stage, where she frequently addresses topics of Entrepreneurship, Social Enterprise, and Marketing.
Adding to her prolific endeavors, Umaimah contributes OpEd pieces to Forbes and crafts case studies for Harvard Business School.
These accomplishments coexist with her academic journey, which includes earning an MBA with honors from Harvard and a BSc in Human Development & Computer Science from Cornell University.
Luuk Weber // Kolektivo
Luuk is a social entrepreneur committed to creating ecosystems that empower individuals and provide prosperity for all. He was born and raised on the Caribbean island of Curacao and moved to The Netherlands in 2015, where he still spends most of his time.
He discovered Cryptocurrencies in 2017 and was instantly captivated by the potential of the technology to enhance trust between third parties, which motivated him to build impact projects that leverage these capabilities.
He’s been at the forefront of the ReFi space, a niche within the cryptocurrency market that focuses on creating financial tools to support regenerative practices.
As the founder of Kolektivo, he is committed to reverting climate change and global inequality by creating tools that allow communities in emerging economies to be rewarded fairly for their stewardship of nature.
Kolektivo will enable communities to leverage this value to create a so-called local community currency, which enhances production and trade and further support regional development in a regenerative way.
Charley Cummings // Walden Mutual Bank
Charley embarked on the journey of establishing Walden Mutual Bank with the vision of empowering individuals to grow their savings while simultaneously championing local farms and innovative food businesses that dare to challenge the norm.
At the heart of Walden Mutual Bank lies a sustainable food-focused digital platform. Remarkably, it successfully secured $24 million in Special Deposit Shares, obtaining approvals from both the FDIC and the State of New Hampshire for the first new mutual bank charter in half a century.
Having spent eight years as the founder and CEO of Walden Local, a sustainable meat company now serving countless families throughout the Northeast, Charley has brought the same name and ethos to the realm of banking.
Although the two entities maintain distinct identities, they share a common thread of commitment to sustainable practices.
Before venturing into Walden, Charley played pivotal roles across various companies and non-profits, ranging from commercial-scale composting and offshore wind energy to management consulting.
Rose Correa // Amazonian SkinFood
Rose is a social entrepreneur that has dedicated her career to the search for innovative solutions to promote socioeconomic development and forest conservation in the Amazon Rainforest.
Wanting to contribute in some way to counteract the exploitation of the Amazon Rainforest and its inhabitants, Rose set out to create natural skincare products and follow a regenerative business model that would bring abundance back to the forest and its people.
Rose is now the founder of Amazonian SkinFood ™.
This business model and vision for a sustainable world are what Amazonian SkinFood ™ embodies and is made possible with years of background helping support local businesses and the team’s extensive body of knowledge on sustainability.
Amazonian SkinFood ™ actively works with communities of the Amazon Rainforest harvesting ingredients sustainably and helping regenerate the ecosystem.
Hasan Siber // Colive
Colive sprang to life from an unwavering commitment to quality and equality. The paths of Hasan and Alex intertwined during their early days at a UK university, where they discovered a shared origin on the same island but separated by a border.
Their friendship deepened over the course of a decade.
When Hasan recognized the potential of Cyprus as the birthplace of the world’s most exceptional olive oil, he saw an opportunity, with Alex’s collaboration, not only to craft an exceptional product but also to bolster their island’s prosperity.
Thus, the inception of Colive Oil. Together, they gather premium, locally cultivated Cypriot olives from groves spanning northern and southern Cyprus, pressing them to create the world’s rarest olive oil.
Spanning the demilitarized zone that divides Cyprus, these olives yield an olive oil that stands as a truly Cypriot, globally unique treasure, fostering unity amidst conflicts. Alex and Hasan are forging a path as exemplars.
Colive stands as a pioneering force in Cyprus, the first company in over half a century to operate seamlessly across the island, helmed jointly by Greek and Turkish Cypriots.
As the sole Cypriot olive oil brand available in US retail, Colive not only breaks a 50-year span but also harnesses its premium extra virgin olive oil, crafted from meticulously picked olives, to advance peace on this divided Mediterranean isle, instilling new significance into purpose-driven cuisine.
Kentrell Martin // Shelly’s Adventures
Kentrell Martin is the President and creator of the Shelly’s Adventures series. He’s also an author of many of the books in the series. Growing up with a Deaf brother Kentrell saw how the world viewed Deaf people.
He created Shelly’s Adventures so that he could introduce kids and parents to American Sign Language and Deaf culture.
Kentrell see’s Shelly’s Adventures as a company that will play a part in helping bridge the gap between the Deaf and hearing world. He envision Shelly’s Adventures as a company that will be a household name.
“When you think of companies and names like Disney, Scholastic, Dr. Suess, I want you to think of Shelly’s Adventures. A new age company that found a way to introduce millions to a language and culture in a fun and educational way.”
– Kentrell Martin
Kentrell also see’s movies, live action plays, cartoons and theme parks in the future for Shelly’s Adventures.
Ben Jeffreys // ATEC
Ben Jeffreys is a visionary determined to reshape the culinary landscape, and he’s not letting time slip away. His grand mission? To introduce decarbonized cooking to households worldwide by 2030!
Since co-founding ATEC in 2015, this multi-award-winning social entrepreneur has remained resolute in his pursuit of change, regardless of the audaciousness of his objectives.
Serving as ATEC’s CEO and strategic pioneer, Ben champions the art of unleashing potential in others.
Armed with over 14 years of experience in overseeing teams across the realms of social enterprise, international development, and the corporate sector, Ben is a stalwart advocate for his cause.
Prior to his leadership at ATEC, Ben held positions such as National Development Manager at SSE, Product Development Manager at Oxfam, and Retail Sales Executive at Westfield.
Globally, cooking with wood claims nearly three times as many lives each year as traffic accidents, with a significant number of fatalities, particularly among women, resulting from smoke inhalation.
ATEC, a startup social enterprise, is at the forefront of this issue, manufacturing, selling, and distributing patented biodigester systems for small-scale farmers worldwide.
Forged as a partnership between Engineers Without Borders and Live & Learn, ATEC has already implemented over 1,000 systems since its inception. Its global expansion is now reaching into a market encompassing more than 205 million households.
Denise Woodard // Partake Foods
In 2016, Denise Woodard founded Partake Foods to bring people from all dietary backgrounds together around allergy-friendly snacks.
Crafting their products with the utmost care and attention, these offerings are certified gluten-free, non-GMO vegan treats that don’t contain any of the top nine allergens – wheat, tree nuts peanuts milk eggs soy fish sesame or shellfish.
Through her passion, Denise also created Black Futures in Food & Beverage – an incredible annual fellowship program that provides mentorship and helps open doors to underrepresented people looking for career opportunities.
Since its inception, it has been empowering HBCU students by connecting them with internships and job prospects at the end of their programes.
Darko Mandich // MeliBio
Darko Mandich is the CEO & Co-Founder of MeliBio. MeliBio is an award-winning food technology company recognized by TIME Magazine as Best Inventions 2021.
MeliBio plant-based honey is made without bees!
Darko started his career in the European food industry in 2012 and worked on managing and growing honey companies in more than 5 countries.
By pursuing his dream to reinvent the honey industry and make it sustainable, Darko immigrated from Serbia to the United States in 2019 to launch MeliBio.
Darko is now a social entrepreneur on a mission to sustainably feed 10B+ people with delicious and nutritious foods while saving Planet’s keystone species – wild and native bees.
Darko is passionate about the future of food and ways to advance science to make the food system sustainable, scalable and animal-free.
Darko is also the Founder in a non-executive role at Foodscale Hub, an impact venture studio founded as a non-profit organization and funded through EU’s Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe programs.
Jim Chu // Untapped Global
Jim is an impact investor in early-stage companies in Africa, and founder of Untapped Global.
Jim has 30+ years of experience in tech, international aid, venture investing, impact investing, and running companies in the US, Europe, Africa, and Latin America.
At Untapped Global, the mission is to unlock massive potential from small businesses in Africa and help global investors capture high-growth, high-yield investment opportunities in those hard-to-access markets.
Kimberly Shenk // Novi
Kimberly is driven by a life purpose: replacing unsustainable products with their sustainable counterparts, a philosophy she seamlessly intertwines into both her personal life and business endeavors.
With the onset of her pregnancy, Kimberly’s relentless questioning of chemical components within beauty and personal care items reached its culmination, giving birth not only to a child but also to a tech company startup.
This venture, known as Novi, stands as a pioneering platform that revolutionizes the exploration, sampling, and acquisition of raw materials and packaging. This breakthrough has ushered in a new era of transparent and sustainable consumer products.
In the present day, Novi boasts an extensive dataset and harnesses the power of Artificial Intelligence, impacting the composition and presentation of countless clean and sustainable beauty and personal care goods that promote the well-being of individuals and the environment alike.
Kimberly’s earlier years saw her excel academically, graduating at the top of her class from the United States Air Force Academy. There, she pursued a dual major in Mathematics and Operations Research.
During her service as a Captain in the Air Force stationed at Pearl Harbor, she held the coveted position of working directly under the Pacific’s 3-star General, overseeing intelligence models and holding a prized Top Secret security clearance.
Her contributions earned her the 2013 Richard H. Barchi Prize for her advancements in “Analytics on Improving Integrated Air & Missile Defense in the Pacific Area of Responsibility.”
Continuing her educational journey, Kimberly earned a full-ride scholarship to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she immersed herself in the study of Data Science, ultimately graduating with a Master’s Degree in Operations Research.
Matthew Kochmann // Transcend
From his earliest years, Matthew Kochmann grappled with medical and mental health hurdles, a struggle that compelled him to confront his own mortality. This encounter ignited an enduring curiosity about the human relationship with the enigma of death.
In an endeavor to weave together a more accepting perspective, he turned his gaze towards the natural world. Within it, Matthew discovered solace and inspiration, drawing from the core principles of the American Transcendentalism movement pioneered by Emerson and the ancient Vedic philosophies of India.
These philosophies underscored the interconnectedness of all living entities, even transcending death.
While possessing a poetic resonance, he was further empowered by the realization that this interconnectedness also holds scientific truth in the realm of nature. The circle of life demonstrates that when an organism returns to the earth, it nourishes and sustains life for the surrounding ecosystem.
Equipped with a Landscape Architecture degree earned at Cornell University, a track record marked by entrepreneurial triumphs, and hands-on experience as a land developer, it’s a natural progression for Matthew to spearhead the Tree Burial initiative.
Fostering impact that harmonizes with shared values has consistently remained his core aspiration.
An especially remarkable instance was during his time as the seventh employee at Uber, where he spearheaded the transformation of New York City’s outdated and offline taxi industry.
Despite having the prospect of securing a life-changing amount of equity, he chose to depart due to ethical considerations.
Matthew’s distinct amalgamation of regulatory expertise, real estate acumen, and a profound environmental consciousness positions him as the prime advocate for the Future Tree movement.
Transcend is a groundbreaking initiative committed to reforesting the globe through the novel practice of transforming individuals (and even beloved pets) into trees upon their passing.
Set to make its debut in October 2022, Transcend introduces its innovative Tree Burial™ process, a climate-conscious remedy that reimagines the most life-sustaining natural resource humanity possesses: our bodies.
Offering a courageous and carbon-negative alternative to traditional caskets and cremation methods, Tree Burial breathes vitality into the cycle of life by seamlessly returning individuals to the earth, allowing their essence to flourish anew as majestic trees.
Transcend is at the forefront of the Future Tree movement, aimed at nurturing a more harmonious connection between people and their mortality, as well as fostering a deeper kinship with the planet.
Employing nature as a conduit, Tree Burial serves as a poignant reminder that every ending heralds the dawn of a new beginning.
Shavini Fernando // OxiWear
Shavini Fernando is a video game, virtual reality (VR) web designer and developer. She holds a B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Portsmouth, an M.B.A. from Edith Cowan University, and a master’s in Communications, Culture, and Technology (CCT) from Georgetown University.
In 2015, Ms. Fernando was diagnosed with severe pulmonary hypertension (PH) as a result of Eisenmenger Syndrome. In 2019, she invented OxiWear, an ear-wearable pulse oximeter and emergency alert accessory for continuous oxygen monitoring.
Ms. Fernando personally experienced multiple situations in which her heart stopped beating caused by a sudden drop in oxygen levels, putting her at high risk for cardiac arrest and stroke.
By wearing OxiWear, patients can continuously monitor their oxygen levels and get medical help in an emergency situation.
OxiWear has secured multiple U.S. and international patents for its design and utility. Ms. Fernando won pitch competitions, including Georgetown University’s Entrepreneurship Competition – Bark Tank (2019) and TiE Global Women’s Pitch Competition – TiE DC Chapter (2021).
OxiWear participated in two accelerators in 2021 – MassMEDIC IGNITE and the LEAD Sports & Health Tech Accelerator in Lake Nona, Florida. Additionally, the company closed its pre-seed funding round at $1.25M.
Josh Hile // Citizen Mint
Before embarking on his journey with Citizen Mint, Josh held the esteemed role of Director of Investment Strategy & Research at Laird Norton Wealth Management, an influential registered investment advisor (RIA) overseeing $16 billion, nestled in the heart of Seattle, WA.
During his tenure, Josh played a pivotal role in sculpting, refining, and elevating LNWM’s prowess in impact and sustainable investing across both public and private spheres.
In the earlier chapters of his career, Josh enriched his expertise at Russell Investments, where his responsibilities spanned scrutinizing fund managers for Russell’s expansive mutual fund and consulting divisions, the latter of which advised on a staggering $2.2 trillion.
About Citizen Mint
Citizen Mint serves as the bridge between impact-driven investors and promising ventures in the realms of affordable housing and renewable energy, generating returns for both your financial portfolio and our planet’s well-being.
While investment in private markets is often reserved for a select few, Citizen Mint has dismantled these barriers to make it an inclusive endeavor for everyone. Their commitment lies in curating investments that wield positive impacts on both societal and financial fronts.
With unwavering dedication, their team delves deep to unearth opportunities that might otherwise remain concealed, thus extending the reach of impact investing to a broader spectrum of individuals.
Pauline Idogho // Mocktail Club
Paulina was inspired by a quest to find sophisticated and better-for-you alternatives to alcohol. After her research, she noticed that the options were very limited in this space.
Because of this, Paulina decided to start Mocktail Club, a line of premium crafted ready-to-drink non-alcoholic cocktails available at Whole Foods, Amazon and online.
These non-alcoholic cocktails are inspired by her travels.
She has worked and lived in Europe, Africa, Middle East, Asia and America.
1% of sales go to clean water access in emerging countries.
Before Mocktail Club, Paulina spent 18 years in corporate finance, business, M&A, project finance, principal investing and investment banking experience in the US, Middle East, Africa and Asia.
Cory Ames // Grow Ensemble
Cory is the founder of Grow Ensemble. Grow Ensemble is in the business of making a difference. Cory’s mission is to engage and inspire audiences, helping them become champions for positive change.
Grow Ensemble is a Content Marketing Agency for Social Enterprises. Using data driven content marketing strategies, he helps social enterprises increase their website traffic, brand authority and raise awareness to the causes that are ingrained into their operations.
He also hosts The Social Entrepreneurship & Innovation Podcast – connecting passionate entrepreneurs, ambitious innovators and experienced influencers who all share their valuable insight on creating meaningful social impact through better businesses or initiatives that benefit society as well as profits!
Greg G.L. Genco // Generation Conscious
G.L. spent his formative years in close proximity to a waste transfer station in Jamaica, Queens, NYC, before relocating to Long Island with his Trinidadian-Italian family.
Witnessing the detrimental health effects of the waste facility on his community served as a catalyst for his initiative, Generation Conscious. Through this endeavor, he aims to combat climate injustice, combat plastic pollution, and confront issues of eco-classism.
The realization that Trinidad & Tobago faced the threat of 80% of its land being at or below sea level struck a chord with G.L., motivating him to take even more proactive steps.
This alarming fact meant that a significant portion of his own family was at risk of displacement due to rising sea levels.
As a first-generation college graduate from Amherst College, G.L. deeply comprehends the significance of making sustainable products accessible to all.
Establishing Generation Conscious, his aim was to craft budget-friendly zero waste items tailored for college students.
The foundation of the Generation Conscious approach revolves around rendering sustainability straightforward, attainable, and economical. After all, contributing to environmental well-being should not be a privilege.
In pursuit of this principle, Generation Conscious works hand in hand with university administrations to secure that the institution covers the complete expense of hygiene refills for economically disadvantaged students.
Eleonore Eisath // beworm
Having graduated from Wirtschaftsoberschule H. Kunter Bozen with a focus on business, management, and marketing, Eleonore Eisath pursued her Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Design at Università IUAV di Venezia.
In 2019, she enriched her knowledge by completing a Master’s degree from TUM.
Throughout her tenure at TUM, Eleonore Eisath has been engrossed in researching a highly innovative recycling system.
This endeavor culminated in the establishment of beworm in 2019, a spin-off dedicated to developing a biotic/biocatalytic recycling process designed to break down oil-based plastics like PE (polyethylene).
PE, the world’s most prevalent plastic material utilized in numerous everyday products, stands as a focal point. However, unlike the more recognizable PET (polyethylene terephthalate), the other major constituent for consumer goods, PE has seen minimal recycling efforts to date.
Alongside beworm, only a handful of other global companies are undertaking this pivotal mission for the future.
Harnessing the potential of nature, Beworm is at the forefront of revolutionizing the recycling of the world’s most ubiquitous plastics.
The company is pioneering a biocatalytic recycling method that facilitates the breakdown of plastic waste into organic raw materials.
Drawing inspiration from the remarkable resilience of our cherished be(e)worms, Beworm extracts plastic-degrading bacteria to target polyethylene, the planet’s most widely utilized plastic material.
These bacterial enzymes play a crucial role in disassembling plastics into fundamental chemical constituents, which can then be employed in the production of fresh (bio)plastics or other petrochemical products.
This innovative approach establishes an infinite, self-sustaining cycle.
Christal Earle // Brave Soles
As the founder of an international youth humanitarian organization, Christal Earle had been working and learning from a local community of garbage dump workers since 2005 on the north coast of Dominican Republic.
Among everything else in that garbage dump, there was also an overwhelming amount of tires. They were a breeding ground for mosquitoes carrying deadly diseases and they were a toxic nightmare.
In 2010, an unexpected turn of events in Christal’s journey left her facing the fact that she was going to have to rebuild her life between two countries.
She was now torn between Canada, where her career was based, and the Dominican Republic where her adopted daughter couldn’t leave.
Established in 2017, Brave Soles is a footwear and accessory brand that is changing the planet one upcycled tire at a time.
They believe that through socially conscious and ethical business decisions we can change the perception of fashion and what it means to be proud to represent a cause through consumer choices.
Christal’s sees up-cycling as an exciting opportunity for products to be innovative, therefore they incorporate upcycled tires and inner tubes into everything that they do, from tote bags to flip flops.
All Brave Soles products are handmade in the Dominican Republic by highly skilled artisans using local resources. Brave Soles was founded, in large part, out of the landfills of the Dominican Republic.
Jonathan Kumar // Samaritan
Jonathan’s remarkable journey began in humble circumstances as the son of immigrant parents struggling with poverty. Then, his ambition and intelligence earned him a place at the University of Michigan where he obtained an Informatics degree specializing in UX design.
Jonathan then channeled his academic education into creating real world change by producing documentaries on social issues and inventing FoodCircles – a tool to convert surplus restaurant food into funds for local charities fighting hunger.
Most recently, he has established Samaritan which gives people experiencing homelessness more opportunities toward independence through providing financial assistance they need most.
Samaritan is a support platform that empowers people without a home to move forward. Individuals gain the social and financial support needed to rebuild hope and reach housing goals.
Derin Oyekan // Reel Paper
Reel Paper co-founder Derin Oyekan, grew up in Lagos, Nigeria. His early life experiences inspired the multi-faceted giveback that Reel provides with every sale of the 100% bamboo toilet paper.
Since childhood, Derin has had a fascination with how things work and how to make them work better. Over the years, Derin supported numerous start-up companies that shared his passion for innovation and improving others’ lives.
Reel Paper is made with 100% tree-free fibers, making it the most sustainable paper on the market. Plus, all of the shipping materials are biodegradable and Reel uses plastic-free packaging.
Erica Plybeah // MedHaul
Growing up in the diverse landscape of the Mississippi Delta instilled a deep appreciation for kindness and resourcefulness.
Although this region has many bountiful assets, its residents also face significant obstacles such as poverty, racial injustice and inadequate services – all contributing to Erica’s passion for creating social equity through healthcare technology.
For over 10 years now she have applied software solutions across multiple organizations aiming to give people more control over their own care.
This led Erica to start MedHaul, a Benefit Corporation that uses cutting-edge technology and firsthand experience of the community to help vulnerable patients with critical transportation needs.
The mission is ambitious – instead of leaving individuals from less privileged backgrounds out in the cold when new solutions are created, they strive hard for their inclusion.
MedHaul is backed by an incredible array of investors such as Citi Ventures Impact Fund, Morgan Stanley and Google for Startups among many others who share Erica’s vision.
Inspired by the legacy of her grandmother, Mary Lou Steele, and the resilience of the persevering people from the Mississippi Delta, Erica is determined to create a future where patient empowerment removes the barriers to quality care for everyone in the Deep South.
Grant is the founder of Causeartist, one of the most influential impact business platforms in the world. Since 2013, Causeartist has been read in over 150 countries. Grant has personally interviewed 700+ impact entrepreneurs from around the world, highlighting innovations in ethical fashion, climate change, ethical technology, impact investing, and sustainable travel.