Meet the Next Generation of World-Changing Entrepreneurs
Submitted by: Social Venture Network
Posted: Aug 11, 2014 – 11:00 AM EST
SAN FRANCISCO, CA, Aug. 11 /CSRwire/ - Deforestation. Pollution. Soil degradation. Poverty. These are just a handful of the critical social and environmental problems Social Venture Network’s 2014 Innovation Award winners are addressing through groundbreaking business practices. From stoves that save 10 tons of firewood each year to a pioneering training program for low-income entrepreneurs, the SVN Innovation Awards program recognizes companies and organizations that are changing the way the world does business.
Now in its 27th year, SVN serves as the leading peer-to-peer network of influential, values-driven entrepreneurs and investors worldwide. This year’s Innovation Award winners have the unique distinction of being the standouts of the next generation of socially responsible business leaders. Coast to coast, from the Gulf of Mexico to the Bay of Bengal, SVN Innovation Award winners are working in diverse and cutting edge ways to solve the most pressing social and environmental problems. Their backgrounds and approaches may not look the same, but the common thread that binds them is their shared imperative to leverage business to build a more just, humane and sustainable world.
The 2014 Innovation Award winners were selected by a panel of 16 expert judges, including Leigh Buchanan of Inc. magazine, Neil Grimmer of Plum Organics, Jean Oelwang of Virgin Unite, Jorge Calderon of Impact Strategy Advisors and Ed Dugger of the National Institute for a Sustainable Economy. The entrants were judged on their use of innovation, impact and ability to scale.
Craig Wichner, Farmland LP: The demand for organic foods continues to grow exponentially, but the availability of organic farmland and raw materials lags far behind. With more than $50 million of acreage under management, Farmland LP demonstrates that sustainable agriculture at scale is economically superior to conventional agriculture, which relies on agrochemicals and commodity crops due to the high cost of land. Farmland LP provides investors with the opportunity to own high quality farmland, while the company’s land management practices increase investor cash flow by using sustainable crop and livestock rotations. By providing access to high quality, organic, sustainable acreage, Farmland LP enables organic farmers and progressive ranchers to focus on the crops and livestock they produce best.
Shannon Dosmegan, Public Lab: A broken CD, an old VHS player and an inexpensive webcam. These three items usually end up as trash, but the innovators at Public Lab have turned them into a low-cost, do-it-yourself alternative to the traditional spectrometer – a tool used to detect neurotoxins and ordinarily costs thousands of dollars. This innovation is just one example of Public Lab’s unique approach to addressing environmental issues. Public Lab makes inexpensive and accessible do-it-yourself techniques available for underserved communities by applying open-source techniques to the development of tools for environmental exploration and investigation. In addition, Public Lab generates knowledge and shares data about community environmental health, while focusing on locally relevant outcomes that emphasize human capacity and understanding.
Alfa Demmellash, Rising Tide Capital: From poverty and isolation to opportunity and innovation, Rising Tide Capital believes that the best way to revitalize local economies is to support and grow the entrepreneurial energy and talent that exists in every neighborhood. Rising Tide Capital works with a community of emerging entrepreneurs to equip them with the tools, skills and access to funding they need to grow successful businesses. When these entrepreneurs are empowered to succeed, they not only generate income for their families, they create a ripple effect that catalyzes the social and economic development of their local community.
Svati Bhogle, Sustaintech India: Severe respiratory disease, unsustainable CO2 emissions and indoor air pollution are grave concerns facing India as a direct result of traditional cooking stoves. Sustaintech India is a social enterprise that manufactures and sells sustainable energy products, including fuel-efficient commercial cook stoves, designed to improve the health of underserved populations, reduce firewood consumption, slow deforestation and contribute to India’s climate change mitigation efforts. Sustaintech’s smoke-free PYRO stoves provide a path out of poverty for street food vendors along with substantial environmental benefits: each stove in its lifetime conserves two acres of open forests and saves 10 tons of firewood per year.
SVN 2014 Innovation Award Benefits
This year's award winners were judged based on the innovation and impact their businesses demonstrated in solving social, environmental and economic problems. The winners will be formally recognized at SVN's 2014 Fall Conference to be held October 23-26 in Greenwich, CT, where they will present their pioneering work to an audience of more than 400 CEOs, investors and social entrepreneurs. They will receive two years of SVN membership, support and advisory services from SVN members and extensive media promotion. Sustaintech India will receive support from both SVN (www.svn.org) and SVN India (www.svnindia.org).
Social Venture Network’s 2014 Fall Conference
SVN's Fall Conference unites these emerging innovators with pioneers like Linda Mason of Bright Horizons Family Solutions, Nikki Silvestri of Green for All, Daniel Lubetzky of KIND Healthy Snacks and Baratunde Thurston of Cultivated Wit. The conference will be held October 23-26 in Greenwich, CT, and focuses on building valuable connections and collaborations among high-impact, innovative business leaders. More information on guest speakers and registration is available at www.svn.org/fall2014.
Since 1987, Social Venture Network (SVN, www.svn.org) has been the leading network of entrepreneurs who are transforming the way the world does business. SVN connects the leaders of socially responsible enterprises to share wisdom and resources, form strategic alliances and explore new solutions that build a more just and sustainable economy.
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