It doesn’t take a market analyst to know that in 2020, the way we exchange goods and services radically and rapidly shifted. Just like everyone else, we’re catching up with what that means for social and environmental impact and e-commerce.
Whether it’s little innovations in the supply chain, fresh ideas about the relationship between business and social benefit, or simply a novel way of sustainably using our resources, enterprising impact entrepreneurs are increasingly positioned to be the leaders with business innovation that boosts people and the planet.
As we’ve grown GoodCarts, I’ve pressed the [Follow] button on LinkedIn many times. If you are looking to be inspired by impact business leaders and connectors extraordinaire who share their authentic experiences and promote the wider movement of business for social good, this is a great place to start to catch the vibe, one leader at a time.
We’ve linked their names to their Activity pages on LinkedIn so you can see their posts and comments – from there you can “Follow” them even if you aren’t a direct connection. Their company/organization social media links are good to follow as well, but I love first-person posts on LinkedIn the most – so that’s our focus.
Tom Szaky – TerraCycle
TerraCycle has been broadening the way people think of what’s “recyclable” for almost 20 years now. In that time, CEO and co-founder Tom Szaky has taken that time to build a consistent, thoughtful presence online and in public appearances as a thought leader in sustainable business.
As the importance of recycling and reusability in products grows, so will the impact of TerraCycle’s model and Szaky’s approach to social enterprise.
Seungah Jeong – MPOWERD, Inc.
Seungah Jeong shines a light on the humanitarian impact e-commerce businesses could potentially have on developing communities, while accelerating growth. Having spent decades shaping global companies, she was named President and CEO of MPOWERD Inc., an award-winning B corporation that makes clean energy products that are affordable and good for the earth.
Most notable is Seungah’s commitment to providing their lightweight, solar-powered lights to developing countries. Though available in retailers to everyday consumers, their lights have been given to developing communities around the world, and have been used to assist in disaster and humanitarian relief efforts. True to her spirit of determination and compassion, Seungah plans to go bigger and provide light to every person in need.
Jared Meyers – Florida For Good
With a long career in B Corps, Jared Meyers has spent the past three years building Florida For Good, a social entrepreneurship network and resource hub for the local Florida business community, and using his resources to invest in conscious business across the Sunshine State.
His ideas on a “purpose-driven economy” are worth remembering for any aspiring social entrepreneur, and his taste in new ventures is intriguing: most recently, a Climate First Bank.
Rahama Wright – Shea Yeleen
With a mix of grassroots organizing, storytelling chops, and retail business savvy, Rahama Wright has become one of the signature successes of the social entrepreneurship e-commerce boom.
The Ghana-born, New York-raised entrepreneur sells soap through her website, Shea Yeleen, that works to support women in Ghanaian villages through a microenterprise sales strategy. She’s also been a representative for the e-commerce social entrepreneurship world in the media and across universities as a public speaker.
Yonatan Medhin – Grain4Grain
Grain4Grain’s innovation is right there in the product—a novel, patent-pending method for upcycling leftover barley from breweries into usable grain. By innovating a new process to recover the grain, Grain4Grain is able to make enough that it can give away some grain for every pound they sell.
Scientific innovation has always been a driver of both economic growth and sustainable development, and CEO Yonatan Medhin’s history in the energy industry has given him the framework to execute those ideas in a whole new space.
Garik Himebaugh – Eco-Stylist
Eco-friendly never looked so good. Garik Himebaugh is the founder of Eco-Stylist, an online-marketplace for ethically and sustainably made men’s clothing. Garik created a space where consumers could shop apparel according to their style AND values.
He’s strategically chosen retailers that provide clothing that is fair-trade, sustainable, and transparent. So customers don’t have to do the work themselves. Garik is changing the way people shop clothing and apparel, and is sure to expand his impact in the coming year.
Cathy Clark – Impact Investing
Having spent over 30 years bringing people, money and ideas together for good, Cathy Clark has helped change the way entrepreneurs and investors impact the world. As a business school professor at Duke and Columbia Universities, she conducted courses, programs, and research on what she called, “social entrepreneurs” and “impact investors.”
As Faculty Director of CASE at Duke, she has taught thousands of MBA students to build careers that impact the world. Recently recognized as a Social Innovation Thought Leader of the Year by the World Economic Forum and Schwab Foundation, Cathy continues to create avenues in which investors can make a global impact.
(For full disclosure, I actually worked for Cathy on the “Web White & Blue” project of the Markle Foundation way back in 1998. It was the nation’s first effort promoting the positive use of the Internet for informed voting in elections.)
Molly Stillman – Still Being Molly Podcast
Molly Stillman is more than your sweet and bubbly friend next door. Although upon visiting her website, you’ll feel as if you’ve known her for years! She is a family-doting, charismatic, powerhouse who is visibly bringing sustainable and ethical businesses to the forefront. Through her podcast, Molly provides “the world’s most generous entrepreneurs” with a powerful platform to share their products and services.
The content creator, speaker and self-proclaimed burrito eater also designed an easy-to-use database in which she’s compiled an extensive list of fair trade, ethically made, and sustainably made products. Still Being Molly means creating a social impact and empowering people all over the world to choose products and services that positively impact the planet.
Tom Dawkins – StartSomeGood
Tom Dawkins helped bring social entrepreneurship powerhouse Ashoka into the age of social media, and now he’s turning his attention to integrating social entrepreneurship with the tools of crowdfunding.
His StartSomeGood platform, based in Australia, has made it easier for social entrepreneurs to build comprehensive, effective crowdfunding campaigns, and match their ideas with an interested community. As crowdfunding continues to evolve, StartSomeGood will be the place to watch for social entrepreneurs.
Arman Anatürk – FoodHack
FoodHack is focused on more than a savory recipe. They’re focused on community and sustainability. And how the two support one another. Arman Anatürk created FoodHack as a shared global community for food entrepreneurs and innovators. He seeks to inform others about the broken global food system, and provide a platform for other innovators and entrepreneurs to share their products.
His ultimate goal is to work with others around the world to transform the food industry and create a more sustainable and healthy system.
Whether your interest in generating social and environmental impact via business is new or well established, sometimes it can feel a bit lonely. Follow these leaders above and others who share their journey and you’ll be with kindred spirits every day!
Also, please connect with me on LinkedIn. Don’t just follow me, just mention this article with a full connection request. If LinkedIn isn’t your thing, every weekday I curate a free email newsletter called Impact Retail. Sometimes I share content from the impact entrepreneurs above as well as the kinds of articles and resources you might want to share with your peers yourself.
Join the GoodCarts network today to connect with a growing community of impact entrepreneurs and boost your sales. See how GoodCarts can help you become a social entrepreneurship success story.