Many of today’s startups recognize social issues are just as important as earning profits. Social entrepreneurs, and startups, seek innovative solutions to society’s most pressing social problems.
These five startups seek to create a better world for us all.
Decode Global develops mobile games for social change, while providing international opportunities for humanitarian technologists. For example, in Get Water! For India, Decode Global’s first game, players direct Maya, a girl who loves going to school, but keeps on getting sent out to collect water instead. Maya then teams up with charity: water on her adventures.
Gamers help Maya and charity: water bring clean water to India through playing the story-driven endless runner. This game gives young people a chance to learn how water scarcity impacts development around the world. Fifty percent of the proceeds from the game’s in-app purchases go to charity: water, whose mission is to bring clean and safe drinking water to every person in the world.
Free2Work addresses an issue that many people don’t think about in today’s society: slavery. For many, it seems to be a problem of the past, but it is still a serious problem that persists in many parts of the globe. The general public remains unaware due to opaque supply chains that make it difficult to connect brands with manufacturers located overseas.
Free2Work aims to increase transparency and reveal how our favorite brands relate to trafficking and other labor abuses. Free2Work provides consumers with information on forced and child labor for the brands and products they love.
The company has even created an iPhone and Android app that empowers consumers to learn more about the brands they purchase simply by scanning barcodes. A quick scan tells potential buyers how the brand addresses slavery in the modern world. Their efforts gives consumers the power to make better choices that can, in turn, pressure companies to pay people well and provide safer working environments.
Reconstructed Living Lab (RLabs) is a social enterprise that provides innovative solutions to address complex problems. RLabs launched in 2008 when its founder, Marlon Parker, began teaching drug addicts how to tell their stories by using the Internet.
The venture quickly grew into a text counseling service that helps addicts stay clean. It’s similar to having a 12 Keys Rehab counselor in your pocket. Today, RLabs works on several projects designed to empower impoverished and marginalized communities. It has helped create over 260 jobs and offers assistance to businesses that provide job skill and job placement services.
Dsenyo (dee-SEN-yo) aims to give a hand up to women and artisans working their way out of poverty. The textile company supports living wage opportunities for workers in Malawi, Africa.
When artist, Marissa Perry Saints visited Malawi she found many families already had the skills needed to make bags, clothing, and other types of textiles. Unfortunately, they did not have a way to connect their skills with buyers. Dsenyo not only pays workers a fair wage, but donates a portion of its sales to community development projects that benefit the people of Malawi.
Samasource takes a rather simple approach to creating a big impact on communities in some of the world’s poorest countries. The company uses digital services to distribute work to the world’s poor. Instead of giving more jobs to the tech elite in Silicon Valley, Samasource sends jobs to people who are impoverished — outsourcing that benefits workers and companies.
According to company reports, between 2011 and January 30, 2013, the company increased its accounts by 400 percent. Samasource is dedicated to creating more jobs that pay living wages in poor countries with more satisfied customers around the globe.
Abigail Clark is an upcoming freelance writer. Clark graduated from The University of South Florida with a bachelors in marketing, minoring in journalism. When she isn’t up to her neck in coupons she is enjoying the outdoors fishing. She loves doing reviews for technology, home products and beauty products.
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