All posts filed under: Social Startups

Organizations using business to bring about social change.

Loomio

Loomio, An Open Source Tool That’s Helping People Make Better Decisions Together

You know a product is truly desired when thousands of people flock to use it even before its launched. This is what happened with Loomio. A simple online tool for collaborative decision making, Loomio has thousands of people using it worldwide.  And the product is still in prototype that people are already doing great things with. Developed by a small team of open-source developers, facilitators and activists from New Zealand, Loomio was born out of a need felt by the Occupy Protesters. The team is currently crowdfunding so they can get more resources to build the real thing – Loomio 1.0​ In 2011 when the Occupy movement was spreading world over, the Occupy protestors in New Zealand faced a challenge. They were not able to arrive at decisions that was reflective of the group. Few loud voices dominated the discussions while the majority were left out. Seeking to find a solution, the protesters approached Enspiral, a network of purpose driven businesses in Wellington, New Zealand. In the absence of good online decision making tools in the …

Image is from an Instagram of the Project Repat Founders Nathan and Ross along with their logo.

Saving Your Loved T-Shirts – Project Repat On How They Went From Idea to Success

Got t-shirts in your closet that you no longer wear and don’t really want to get rid of either. We all have old t-shirts that we want to hold onto since they have so many fond memories attached.  Project Repat offers you an excellent  way to declutter your closet and at the same time preserve your t-shirt memories forever. All you need to do is send them your old t-shirts and they would flip it into a hip new blanket that you could use to stay warm or just keep around your house. Project Repat launched their custom t-shirt blanket through a Groupon campaign last year and it was an instant hit, within a week they sold over 2000 blankets with over 1500 people shipping hordes of their old t-shirts to their office to be memorialized forever. Since then the demand for their service has only been skyrocketing, hitting over $1 million dollars in sales in just over a year. Their popularity is not surprising considering that in America people get t-shirts for almost every …

Jagritiyatra

Jagriti Yatra : Learn About India’s Startup Train

There is a famous quote of Thomas Edison which I truly believe in when it comes to starting something new – “I find out what the world needs, then I proceed to invent” – T Edison. I was delighted to see that in India some people are actually putting this quote to the test, there is a massive initiative underway that’s designed to nurture entrepreneurship with this approach. The program called Jagriti Yatra (Journey of Awakening) is an annual train ride that takes hundreds of India’s highly motivated youth across the length and breadth of the country, exposing them to the needs and concerns of the masses with the idea that they would go back and start something that would serve those needs and contribute towards the overall development of the country. Jagriti Yatra has been running successfully for the past 5 years and is highly sought after. In 2012, for 450 spots, the organization received more than 17000 applications. These numbers speak highly about the enthusiasm amongst India’s youth to serve the country. The yatra …

Photographer Ryan Lash

Medical Checkups Are Now An iPhone App Away, Thanks To This TED Fellow

Myshkin Ingawale is a senior TED Fellow and has presented at the TEDGlobal conference twice, both the times unveiling revolutionary medical technologies. At his first TED conference in 2012, Myshkin showcased his invention ToucHb, a low-cost, portable, handheld device that could do a blood test without bleeding to scan for anemia. At TED 2013, Myshkin unveiled a smartphone app called uChek, that could analyse your urine in seconds to check for a range of medical conditions including diabetes, urinary tract infection, liver and kidney problems. Don’t worry you don’t have to pee on your phone for that. The way uChek works is described on their site. I first spotted Myshkin Ingawale at the Social Capital Market (SOCAP) conference in 2011 where he was showcasing his medical device ToucHb. I was enamored by his easy to use technology for detecting anemia, a major medical condition commonly found in women and especially pregnant women which if not treated could be life threatening to both the mother and child. I featured his startup in my post – Five …

This picture is from the Ushadidi website brck.com

BRCK – A Device For Uninterrupted Internet Connectivity

Imagine losing power and with that your internet access for a few hours, sounds bad? While most of us could live with no power for a few hours, losing internet access would just make it that much more painful. Spotty internet access and power is a big problem in most of the developing nations and surprisingly in a lot of the developed world too. Ushahidi, a nonprofit tech company that operates in rugged environments believes that reliable internet connectivity is very important no matter where you live and to solve this problem they’ve developed the BRCK. BRCK is a wifi router, plus a battery backup all wrapped up into one portable box that charges itself and provides internet when power is available and maintains your internet connection when you lose power or when your primary internet connection goes down. The BRCK itself gets its internet access using a GSM modem like the ones in your mobile phone. Ushahidi claims the battery would last around 8 hours which should be enough time for power to return and the BRCK …

The Mend Messenger Bag from Invisible Children

Five Designer Brands That Are Helping Women Rise

On the occasion of the International Women’s Day, March 8th, we’ll like to highlight  five brands that are using the power of commerce  and design to uplift marginalized women. They are doing this by bringing beautifully crafted, one of a kind products to the  global markets, handmade by female artisans from the developing world.  These brands are using trade instead of aid to help women beat  poverty. 31 Bits: A jewelry company that works with women artisans from Northern Uganda. The female artisans handicraft  the jewelry  using 100% recycled paper and other locally sourced materials. The California-based  31 Bits, has created a buzz around their jewelry collection, with Jessica Alba and few other celebrities being spotted wearing their stunningly beautiful pieces. Bliss: Works with adolescents girls and women from Pakistan, teaching them embroidery and needlework on fabric, which are then finished into stylish  handbags for sale in global markets. Available in vibrant colors and hues, Bliss bags boasts of traditional embroidery and design from different regions of Pakistan, which the girls in the program design and …

Hub Ventures

What You Need to Know About Hub Ventures Social Startups of 2012

Evening of July 10th, I attended the Hub Ventures Community Pitch Night where seven startups who underwent their 12-week incubator program pitched their world changing business ideas. All the pitches were really sharp and impressive, each of their business models were unique, and fulfilled a large unmet need. Acopio: Has built a cloud based software (which can also work offline) for information management at Coffee Co-operatives, currently focused on getting the co-ops in Latin America to use technology to better manage their business processes. Refuel Me: Is a mobile app that allows teens to earn money and rewards based on their safe driving performance, positioning it to be a win-win solution for all concerned parties – the teen, their parents and the insurance companies. Project Repat: Up-cycling the textile industry’s excess into trendy and fashionable accessories like bags, scarves etc. CheckInOn.Me: A mobile app that allows your freinds, family and colleagues to check-in on you in situations where you might feel unsafe. GivKwik: Aims to make charitable giving easy and fun, specially on mobile devices. …