35 social entrepreneurs to watch for in 2019
This group of incredible people are all growing businesses and changing the world.
Over the past five years I have had the great pleasure of speaking with over 400 social entrepreneurs while running Causeartist. It has been an amazing pleasure to watch many of these startups grow into companies and scale without losing their focus on impact.
With each new year brings new social entrepreneurs and new ideas on how to impact the world using our consumer power. This year the list brings many new faces to the social entrepreneurship space. Some of these new faces come from the traditional business world and are using their skills to now build ethical businesses that are changing the landscape of conscious business and ethical consumerism.
Some of the other new faces are brand new to business and have started their social entrepreneurship journey out of passion for an amazing cause. Its a beautiful thing to see so many individuals from around the world leaping into social entrepreneurship.
Without further I do, I am pleased to introduce the 35 Social Entrepreneurs to watch for in 2019. Its always challenging to create this list, because there are so many incredible social entrepreneurs around the world. I am thrilled to see what they will accomplish in this new year. Of course there will be amazing social entrepreneurs and innovators not on this list, these are just the individuals over the past year that I see doing incredible things and building ethical and sustainable companies.
Durell Coleman – DC Design
Durell Coleman is the namesake founder of DC Design, a social impact design firm dedicated to addressing our most pressing social challenges through Human-Centered Design. In his journey as a designer, Durell has worked alongside governments, foundations, non-profits, companies and those they serve to shift entrenched systems toward paradigms that function better for everyone.
He has worked to redesign aspects of the foster care system, develop new approaches to criminal justice reform, reimagine healthcare service models, create apps that connect communities, and develop new educational models for the 21st century. Trained in mechanical engineering (B.S) and sustainable design (M.S.), he is a two-time alumnus of Stanford University and its famous Institute of Design (the Stanford d.school). As an educator, Durell regularly lectures on social impact design, innovation, and leadership at Stanford University.
He has taught design thinking to refugees designing solutions to challenges in refugee camps, students seeking to create a more inclusive campus, and corporate executives from Sony, Oracle, and Santander. He is the creator and director of Design the Future – an award winning STEM program run in collaboration with top universities that teaches high school students to design products for individuals with physical disabilities.
He is an expert in multi-stakeholder, human-centered design; has been awarded the Jefferson Award for Public Service as a result of his work; and is one of the subjects of the PBS documentary: “Extreme by Design,” which is used as a design thinking teaching aid all over the world.
Jess Charwin & Ann Davis – Venture with Impact
Jess Charwin – Jessica (Jess) is the co-owner and marketing director of Venture with Impact. She is an engaging storyteller with over 5 years of experience in marketing communications in the financial industry and the startup world. Jess is also a globetrotter, an aspiring polyglot and, in past (career) lives, she has been a non-profit founder, a professional artist and a jazz singer. A self-proclaimed foodie, she spends her free time in search of the best street food and local coffee wherever she roams.
Ann Davis – After surviving cancer and subsequently traveling to over 40 countries in my 20’s, Ann found her most valuable and fulfilling travel experiences to be the instances when she stayed in one place, and worked with the local population – forming relationships and learning about their culture in the process. At the same time, she saw friends and colleagues struggle between the desire to maintain careers that provide financial security and the desire to travel and work for the social good.
Life is too short not to have it all, so she founded Venture with Impact with the dream that working professionals could share in these same experiences while still working from their jobs. Prior to founding Venture with Impact, she worked for 4 years as a teacher in the New Orleans and New York school systems, initially through Teach for America. Additionally, the age of 18, she founded Swim for Success, a nonprofit dedicated providing free swimming lessons and water safety skills to New Orleans Youth.
The mission of Venture with Impact is to expose professionals to new cultures, people and ideas so that they may be more informed and empathetic world citizens, and in the process, provide a positive social impact.
Aline Sara – NaTakallam
Aline Sara is the Co-founder and CEO of NaTakallam, a social enterprise that connects refugees and displaced persons with work opportunities in the language sector through the freelance economy.
Lebanese, born and raised in New York, Aline completed her Baccalaureat at the Lycée Français in New York City and graduated in psychology from Tufts University in Boston. She then moved to Beirut and worked in conflict resolution and human rights before transitioning into journalism, focusing on human and women’s rights and wider socio-political affairs before, during and after the Arab Uprisings.
In 2012, Aline returned to New York for her masters in International Affairs at Columbia University. She then worked as an international election observer in Tunisia, Guyana and Haiti while continuing to write as a freelancer on the side.
In 2015, in light of the challenging work situation for the million+ Syrian refugees in Lebanon, and while searching for ways to practice her own Arabic skills, Aline came up with the idea for NaTakallam –to hire refugees as online tutors– which has grown into a larger social enterprise working in multiple languages and communities.
To date, the venture, which is disrupting the way we typically think of humanitarianism, has provided over half a million dollars in cash to displaced people worldwide. Besides income to refugees on the one hand and a service to students and clients on the other, NaTakallam helps foster intercultural exchange and raise awareness around the daily challenges of fleeing conflict zones, notably through its academic partnerships with schools and universities (including Columbia, Duke, GW, Tufts, Yale and more).
Tony Weaver Jr. – Weird Enough Productions
Tony Weaver Jr. is founder and CEO of Weird Enough Productions, a new media production company dedicated to creating positive media images of black men and other minority groups.
After training with the Tupac Amaru Shakur Center for the Arts, the Youth Ensemble of Atlanta, and the Acting Program at Elon University, Tony recognized that there was a severe lack of positive roles for black men. Volunteering with black males in his local community showed him how widespread this misrepresentation was, and the devastating effects it was capable of having on minority groups.
With the intention of changing the media narrative of black men, Tony founded Weird Enough Productions at age 20. Tony has been the recipient of the Leadership Prize and the Black Excellence Award, and participated in the NBCUniversal Fellowship Program.
Clarence Tan – Boddle Learning
Clarence Tan is an edtech entrepreneur that has been working in games and e-learning for over 7 years. He grew up in China, Singapore, and the US, and has experienced all private, public and homeschool education.
He started his entrepreneurial journey back in 2011, while he was still a junior in college, developing educational games and learning platforms with friends he met online for government municipalities in Colombia, South America, as well as partnering with companies in North America to launch educational entertainment projects.
Since then, he has been championing the positive impact of student engagement using educational gamification through his ventures and speaking engagements. He has the heart and mind of a creative and has always been fascinated by games and creative projects.
Clarence is currently the Co-Founder & CEO at Boddle Learning, an edtech company, founded in 2018, that has developed a game-based learning platform that delivers e-learning materials to K-8 students in game-format to engage and motivate them in academics.
The game app also comes with a management platform that generates analytics & reports for teachers and parents to stay in the loop. Boddle is designed to use gamification to help elementary and middle schools benefit from higher student engagement and automated reporting.