Social Entrepreneurship

12 entrepreneurs whose social good enterprises are changing the global landscape

4 April Apr 2016 1123 04 April 2016

The World Economic Forum has announced the list of Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneurs of the 2016. Twelve social entrepreneurs from around the world have been recognised for outstanding entrepreneurial activities for the benefit of the marginalised and poor.

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The World Economic Forum has announced the list of Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneurs of the 2016. Twelve social entrepreneurs from around the world have been recognised for outstanding entrepreneurial activities for the benefit of the marginalised and poor.

The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship (0), a network of over 320 social entrepreneurs from 70 countries, is a not-for-profit, independent and neutral organization, founded in 1998, with the purpose of advancing social entrepreneurship and fostering social entrepreneurs as an important catalyst for societal innovation and progress.

This year, the works of the 12 winners have provided education, skills and empowerment in areas where “traditional market forces have failed and social enterprises provide crucial services” said Hilde Schwab, Co-Founder and Chairwoman of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, in a press release by the organization.

Among the awardees was Nina Smith who founded GoodWeave International (1), which works to stop child labour in countries like India, Afghanistan and Nepal, by building a global demand for rugs certified ‘child-labour free'.

Thousands of Syrians were received by Morocco after they were displaced from their homes as a result of the war. Their presence has been evident in the major cities, and namely in Casablanca. Yasmina Filali, as Head of la Fondation Orient Occident (2), worked more intensely to provide assistance job training to underprivileged, migrants and refugees. It enabled these “migrants and refugees to integrate into Moroccan society and helped ninety-five per cent of graduates from IT institutions, and 60% of hostelry and tourism graduates find regular employment”, Hilde Schwab added.


Poonam Bir Kasturi, of Daily Dump (3), found a creative solution to the problem of waste management in India. Her venture provides composting pots that can be used to convert organic waste into compost within the four walls of one’s home. As of 2015, 25,000 families and 120 institutions use Daily Dump products, collectively keeping 22,000 kg of wet waste out of landfills at no cost to the government.

From waste management to pollution control. The impact of “dirty air” is more severe in developing countries, leading to ill health, death and disabilities of millions of people annually. In order to fight a problem deadlier than HIV, malaria and TB combined, Ron Bills of Envirofit (4) sells affordable biomass cook stoves that significantly lower exposure to indoor air pollution. By introducing clean cook stoves as a less costly fuel alternative, the company also addresses low-income consumer households that have been traditionally overlooked.

One of the best known names within Fairtrade is Kuapa Kokoo. The 85,000 strong Ghanaian co-operative owns its own chocolate brand, Divine Chocolate (5) which ensures farmers receive a better deal for their cocoa and additional income to invest in their community. Divine has built partnerships with major retailers such as Starbucks, Tesco, and Marks & Spencer’s, selling more than 30 different products in 12 countries.

Another 2016 awardee is Jean-Marc Borello from France. His Groupe SOS, (6), which is arguably the world’s largest social enterprise, oversees 330 organizations that address social needs with 12,000 employees across these organizations.

In South Africa, 50% of women are unemployed and 54% of children live below the poverty line. Tracey Chambers of The Clothing Bank (7) provides unemployed single mothers from South Africa’s rural areas with two years of training. The objective is to make them financially and socially independent. While Luvuyo Rani of Silulo (8) operates IT stores and training centres in townships and rural areas of South Africa, thus providing job opportunities for unemployed youth.

It's a well-known fact that books and literacy change lives. In Africa, 200 million children are living without access to books. J. David Risher and Colin McElwee of Worldreader (9) are seeking to change that, offering a collection of more than 28,000 books from over 150 publishers in 44 languages. In this way, Worldreader makes these books available to over 6 million readers in 69 countries with an emphasis on students not only in Africa but also in Asia. As a result, 7 out of 10 primary students and 8 out of 10 library patrons report reading more.

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) estimates that there are 500 million small-scale farmers worldwide, producing about 80% of the food consumed in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Simon Bakker of Kennemer Foods International, provides modern cocoa farming technology to Filipino farmers. In just five years of operations, most of them have seen an average income increase of 340%. In Brazil, Sergio Arande with Public Agenda is helping administrators and councillors to develop solutions for public policies like housing, sanitation, and health.

While there is no financial grant that will be given to these winners, the Foundation empowers innovators by offering them access to other entrepreneurs, world leaders, and capital., as well as interactions with government and civil society.

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