8 Startups that are Changing the World

8/23/2011

Startups for Good Challenge

From life-changing technologies that reduce poverty and disease to online volunteerism for busy professionals, the Startups For Good Challenge contestants proved they had more than just a great business idea: They also are working to make a positive impact on the world.

We’re thrilled to announce the eight finalists for the Startups For Good Challenge. These finalists will compete on stage during the Social Good Summit on September 22 for a chance to win $10,000 for their company.

The winner will be selected by judges, including representatives from Mashable, the UN Foundation, 92nd Street Y and guest judge, Yossi Vardi, who has helped launch more than 60 high-tech companies such as ICQ, a popular instant-messaging system.

To learn more about the Social Good Summit, please visit the agenda to view topics and speakers for each day of the event.


The 8 Startups For Good Finalists That Are Changing the World


Who: Awaaz De means “give voice.” Awaaze.De provides hosted and open source voice solutions that help organizations engage communities in any language, leveraging the power of voice and mobile phones to make social media accessible for everyone.

How are they changing the world?: Awaaz.De is empowering individuals and organizations in emerging countries to access and share local content. This enables farmers in rural India to get relevant and timely agricultural advice, and connect with local buyers through a voice classifieds application. Teachers in village schools use Awaaz.De to get tips on activities and lessons, ask questions and share experiences with other teachers in their region.


Who: Catchafire connects professionals who want to apply their on-the-job skills to non-profits and social enterprises that need their help in areas such as marketing, public relations, design, social media, strategy and finance.

How are they changing the world?: Catchafire believes that a great pro bono experience can transform someone’s life, help social good organizations realize their goals around the world, and make a global social impact.


Who: Kopernik provides life-changing technologies to the developing world. They connect technology providers, technology seekers and investors to provide local products that are proven to reduce poverty and disease but are often unavailable to the people who need them most.

How are they changing the world?: Kopernik has reached out to nearly 50,000 people across Asia and Africa that lack access to electricity, clean drinking water and other basic services. Within these communities, Kopernik has drastically reduced dependency on dangerous, inefficient, and polluting technologies by collaborating with donors on the web to provide products that will improve lives.


Who: em[POWER] is concerned about what happens to a population that is forced to pick through landfills to find food, shelter and a source of livelihood. They seek to revitalize waste scavenging communities by improving the sorting efficiency of recyclables, turning organic waste and waste water into electricity, creating high quality compost and providing the nucleus for a host of community-owned businesses.

How are they changing the world?: em[POWER]‘s vision is to convert a form of poverty into a mechanism that can be used by a community to improve living conditions and make a positive contribution to society.


Who: Prove My Concept is an online enterprise platform that allows young people to create, develop and test their business ideas.

How are they changing the world?: Prove My Concept is fueling the early onset of entrepreneurialism in young people. It is a community where ideas can be turned into reality, international networks are widened and new concepts are shared with small businesses, social enterprises and charities around the world.


Who: Sparked offers convenient online volunteerism for busy professionals who don’t have time to lend their expertise through traditional channels. They make volunteering as fun, social and easy to use as Facebook, Farmville, or Twitter. It’s volunteerism for the digital age, or “microvolunteering.”

How are they changing the world?: Sparked has channeled hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of skilled professional labor to charities that was previously unavailable to the social sector. Success stories include a volunteer from Ohio who helped a Maasai warrior build a well in Kenya (entirely online) and a volunteer from Jordan translate a document into Arabic for the Ronald McDonald House in Cincinnati.


Who: Simple Energy is changing how millions of people save energy by revolutionizing how utilities engage their customers. They combine energy industry experience, behavioral science, game mechanics and social networks to change how people save energy

How are they changing the world?: By driving customers to become more energy efficient.


Who: Roseicollis Technologies aims to deploy technologies that can disrupt both developed and emerging markets. Currently they are implementing the SunSaluter, an inexpensive solar panel rotator, to push solar technology to the forefront of the alternative energy in the developing world.

How are they changing the world?: Two SunSaluter prototypes were deployed in Mpala, Kenya, and reports indicate that they are improving the lives of one thousand Kenyans. These cost efficient and environmentally friendly solar panels have the capability impact developing nations around the world.

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