CEO & Founder of Inspiring Stories, Guy Ryan is at the Social Enterprise World Forum in Milan this week – an incredible opportunity that’s come out of his Young New Zealander of the Year award. While he’s there, he’ll be speaking on a panel with the Nobel Peace Prize Winner Muhammad Yunus, who invented microfinance, and other young social entrepreneurs from around the world.
Guy is stoked to have this invaluable experience to find out how we ensure New Zealand is at the cutting edge of social entrepreneurship, and that our young people can kick it on a global stage (while changing the world, obviously!). He’s learning heaps, so stay tuned, but he mentioned these three awesome humans you should totally check out:
- Durreen Shahnaz – Impact Investment Shujog, Singapore.
An incredible social entrepreneur. From being the first Bangladeshi woman to work on Wall Street, she has gone on to establish three hugely successful enterprises, and is about to launch a major fourth – the sustainability bond, backed by backed by Rockefeller. Check out her TED Talk!
- Sophia Grinvalds, AFRIpads, Uganda.
Sophia was on a ‘gap year’ after uni, doing some volunteering in Uganda, when she realised that young women had little to no access to sanitary pads. They were dropping out of school, using all sorts of unhealthy alternatives. Apparently, there is data for the economic implications of this in the neighbouring country, Rwanda, and it is thought to cost the economy an estimated $150 million a year – Uganda is four times the size of Rwanda. Sophia, there with her boyfriend and now husband, decided to try and fix the problem. She start a local business – getting a few local girls together to design and create ‘Afripads’, in a tiny rural village with no electricity. The pads are locally made, washable, and the business provides employment to many local young women in what was previously a hugely deprived area. Six years on, Afripads is cranking, and has served the needs of more than 600,000 young women in Uganda. They’re now working to scale to East Africa, and the whole of Africa within the next five years. Incredible!
3. Young Social Entrepreneurs from the UK – Ruth and Amy from HiSbe.
Ruth and Amy, who are from Brighton in the UK, are Founders & Directors of HiSbe food. They are reinventing the way UK supermarkets do business. What if you could transform the way the UK does food so that supermarkets actually serve the needs and wellbeing of people and planet, not private commercial gain? HisBe stands for “how it should be done”. That means creating an chain of independent supermarkets with a social enterprise model, fit for the 21st century. The pilot store opened in Dec 2013, in Brighton. The focus is on local, sustainable, welfare. And HiSbe is working to erode the high cost usually associated with good organic food.Since the pilot in 2013, they’ve turned over $1.7m Euros, serving about 200 customers a week, and the community loves it. The store also benefits 80 local producers. All employees are paid above living wage, and the store supports local food entrepreneurs. This has become a beacon for social enterprise, and has helped to transform what was a very deprived community. This gives us hope for what could be done in New Zealand.