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Social Entrepreneur

Updated 2 months ago

Business
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Entrepreneurship
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Social Entrepreneur exists at the intersection of profit and purpose. We tell positive stories from underrepresented voices, focused on solutions.

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Social Entrepreneur exists at the intersection of profit and purpose. We tell positive stories from underrepresented voices, focused on solutions.

iTunes Ratings

138 Ratings
Average Ratings
132
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Love it!

By Gisele_Oliveira - May 12 2017
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Amazing. Well done podcast. Helpful really.

Well Done!

By HenryLopez@TheHowOfBusiness - Mar 09 2017
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Great show Tony! Enjoying the format and your interview approach and style. Thanks!

iTunes Ratings

138 Ratings
Average Ratings
132
6
0
0
0

Love it!

By Gisele_Oliveira - May 12 2017
Read more
Amazing. Well done podcast. Helpful really.

Well Done!

By HenryLopez@TheHowOfBusiness - Mar 09 2017
Read more
Great show Tony! Enjoying the format and your interview approach and style. Thanks!
Cover image of Social Entrepreneur

Social Entrepreneur

Latest release on Jul 13, 2020

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Social Entrepreneur exists at the intersection of profit and purpose. We tell positive stories from underrepresented voices, focused on solutions.

Rank #1: Cohort Opportunity at Lunar Startups, with Amanda Heyman and Danielle Steer

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Jan 02 2019

24mins

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Rank #2: One Million New Change Creators, with Adam Force, Change Creator Magazine

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Change Creator is a platform for motivated social entrepreneurs who are ready to create solutions to the world’s problems.

What would it take to produce one million new change creators per year for the next 10 years? That’s the question that Adam Force, Amy Aitman, and Keisuke Kubota of Change Creator Magazine sat down to answer. The result of that question is a new strategy.

Change Creator Magazine is a multimedia platform empowering forward-thinking change creators and established enterprises to drive social progress. Their mission centers around three of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). They focus on SDG 1, No Poverty; SDG 6, Clean Water and Sanitation; and SDG 7, Affordable and Clean Energy.

According to Adam, “People want to make a living doing something that matters, aligning their capital to values.” Adam thinks of Change Creator Magazine as an ongoing form of mentorship. They interview social entrepreneurs and global icons to learn about their strategies, how they get their ideas, and how are they scaling. Some examples of notable figures featured in the magazine are Tony Robbins, Dale Partridge, Ariana Huffington, and Guy Kawasaki.

Based on reader surveys, Change Creator Magazine is changing technology platforms, creating an improved reader experience. The magazine uses responsive text for mobile and desktop. Also based on this feedback, they are featuring more stories of every day social entrepreneurs.

“There is so much more we want to offer people in to help them along their journey,” Adam says. To take on additional changes, Change Creator is launching a crowd funding campaign. This will allow them to create new educational and consulting offerings. They will be able to offer virtual summits, speaker series, and online courses.

Social Entrepreneurship Quotes

“They want to make a living doing something that matters to them.”

“One of our key values is collaboration.”

“The magazine is an ongoing form of mentorship.”

“We extract these insights and we put them in the magazine.”

“We’re doing the heavy lifting and saying, here are the strategies.”

“Our focus is listening to our audience and giving them the interviews they can’t anywhere else.” Amy

“We want to put out awesome content that has value.” Amy

“The more you dig through, the more value you find.” Amy

“What are we providing people to give them the outcomes they’re looking for?”

“We’ve developed a crisp vision called our brand network.”

“We have six new channels that we will be rolling out.”

“Phase one is crowdfunding to start development of the next program.”

“Our point is building a community.” Keisuke Kubota

“We want to create 1,000,000 change creators a year for the next 10 years.” Amy

“Really put yourself out there to build relationships.”

“Don’t think that just because you put a strategy together that if it doesn’t work your done.”

Social Entrepreneurship Resources:

Sep 25 2017

25mins

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Rank #3: 028, Marina Kim, Ashoka U | Every Campus a Changemaker

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Colleges and Universities are complex organizations with lots of deep thinkers and multiple stakeholders. Marina Kim has had a lot of practice at working across complex cultural boundaries. The daughter of Korean and American parents, raised by a single mother, summers in Costa Rica, moved to northern England at 10 years old, and then attended Stanford University in Palo Alto, California.

Today, Marina is the cofounder of Ashoka U, where they take an institutional change approach to impact the education of millions of students. Ashoka U has three primary programs:

  • They have a Changemaker Campus designation where, through a rigorous 1-2 year selection process, they recognize colleges and universities that have embedded social innovation as a core value.
  • There is the Ashoka U Commons, where cohorts of institutions work together on specific building blocks of social innovation education.
  • They hold an annual conference called the Ashoka U Exchange.

Key quotes from the interview:

  • “I feel extremely comfortable adapting to new contexts, new cultures and environments.”
  • “I feel right at home in many different places in the world.”
  • “Millennials are dedicated to success, but the metrics are different.”
  • “Millennials have a lower threshold for work that does not mean anything to them.”
  • “Ashoka has shifted its mission to create a world where everyone can be a changemaker.”
  • “A lot of energy and a lot of fearlessness in the early days.”
  • “We believe that colleges and universities should be the place where people can find their potential to be a changemaker.”
  • “If you have the identity of a changemaker, you’ll take that with you for the rest of your life.”
  • “Lead with your super skill.”
  • “Are you better suited to be an entrepreneur or an intrepreneur?”
  • “She would model it, she would coach us, we would do it and then debrief.”
  • “Give yourself time. If you want to make big social impact…it takes time.”

Resources:

Jan 06 2016

56mins

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Rank #4: How to Change the World, with Bethany Tran, The Root Collective

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Oct 08 2018

27mins

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Rank #5: Launch, Scale Up, and Make a Difference, with Kathleen Kelly Janus

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Jan 08 2018

24mins

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Rank #6: Top Twelve Popular Podcasts 2018, Kathleen Kelly Janus

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Dec 31 2018

22mins

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Rank #7: Live Your Mission, with Tyler Gage, Co-Founder of Runa, and Author of Fully Alive

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Nov 06 2017

24mins

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Rank #8: The Future of Philanthropy, with Janet Mountain, Michael & Susan Dell Foundation

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Aug 28 2017

24mins

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Rank #9: 030, Jeffrey Hollender, Sustain Natural | A Systems Thinking Approach to Greater Good

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If Jeffrey Hollender’s name is familiar to you, it should not be surprising. As the cofounder of Seventh Generation, the author of a half dozen books, and a frequent speaker on using business to do good in the world, he’s a natural fit for a conversation with Social Entrepreneur. But he did not come on the podcast to talk about his past accomplishments. He’s busy taking a systemic approach to his latest business Sustain Natural.

Through Sustain, Jeffrey is connecting the dots between condoms, hunger, health care, poverty, and climate change. Yes, that’s right. I said condoms…and lubricants and wipes. All of which are fair trade, organic and sustainably produced. And, Sustain donates 10% of their profits to help poorer women access health care such as STD testing and breast examinations.

In this interview, Jeffrey talks about the importance of systems thinking in order to take on some of our most pressing problems. He describes the experience of being forced out of the company that he had built and he gives solid advice from his lessons learned.

Key quotes from the interview:

“Much of what we consider natural, sustainable products, are less bad rather than good.”

“My insight is that we need to move to what I call net-positive businesses: businesses that are providing a net positive effect on the planet.”

“If you were going to hire an employee, you would ask the employee for three references and you call up these people and you ask them what it was like to have this person working for you. Well, we don’t do that when it comes to investors.”

“If we taught first grade children systems thinking, so that they could anticipate the unintended consequences of their actions, that might the most important thing we could do to create a more just, equitable and happy world.”

“It is not easy to be an entrepreneur. You will run across no shortage of challenges and roadblocks. And it is really, really, really important that you choose to do something that you are deeply passionate and committed to. Otherwise there are too many reasons for you to walk away and give up.”

“You really have to think, does this business idea help you become the person you want to be?”

Books by Jeffrey Hollender:

Resources:

Jan 11 2016

36mins

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Rank #10: The Future of Corporate Social Responsibility, with Rachel Hutchisson, Blackbaud

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Aug 13 2018

24mins

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Rank #11: The Power of Telling Your Secret, with Aneela Idnani Kumar, HabitAware

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Nov 13 2018

24mins

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Rank #12: Five Steps to Easily Tell Your Story and Build Your Brand, with Matt Scott of 180⁰ of Impact

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Aug 27 2018

37mins

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Rank #13: Balancing Entrepreneurship with Family and Self-Care, with Dorcas Cheng-Tozun, Inc. Contributor and Author of "Start, Love, Repeat"

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Nov 06 2017

24mins

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Rank #14: 034, Russ Stoddard, Oliver Russell | How to Build a Purpose-Driven Company

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Purpose matters. 90% of U.S. consumers say they would switch brands to one associated with a cause, given comparable price and quality, according to a study conducted by Cone Communications. In another study conducted by World Federation of Advertisers and Edelman, 60% of people said that they are actively seeking brands with a sense of purpose. And, according to Deloitte’s 2015 Millennial Survey, six out of 10 Millennials said a sense of purpose is part of the reason they chose to work for their current employer.

Russ Stoddard of Oliver Russell builds brands for purpose-driven companies. He’s been at this for 25 years and so he’s learned quite a bit about the intersection of purpose and branding. And his understanding continues to evolve. Oliver Russell is a certified BCorporation and the first public benefit corporation in Idaho.

Russ came to my attention in 2015 when he published three very useful white papers on “How to Build a Purpose-Driven Company.” You can find them here: http://bit.ly/PurposeWP

Resources:

Jan 20 2016

25mins

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Rank #15: Using Your Professional Skills to Volunteer, with Ann Herzog-Olson, Social Venture Partners, Minnesota

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Social Venture Partners is a nonprofit that uses the venture capital model to help other nonprofits build capacity and grow.

Sometimes you want to do more. It might feel satisfying at the moment to march and chant. But does the impact last? You can donate money to social causes, and that’s important. But sometimes, it feels like you want to do even more.

One trend in philanthropy is engaged philanthropy. Engaged philanthropy recognizes that you have more than financial capital to give to a cause. You also have intellectual capital and social capital. You can use your skills and experience to help a nonprofit. You have a network of connections which can benefit a nonprofit. Social Venture Partners allows individuals and corporations to practice engaged philanthropy.

There are 42 Social Venture Partners affiliates around the globe. Social Venture Partners, Minnesota is one of them. They focus their efforts on serving youth.

The partners at Social Venture Partners identify potential nonprofits to target. They look for nonprofits that are emerging early stage, with some proof of concept. Ann Herzog-Olson, the Executive Director of Social Venture Partners Minnesota says, “We focus on nonprofits who have a vision of where they want to go and look like they’re emerging. Then we help them build a capacity building plan.” The individual and corporate partners at Social Venture Partners stick with the nonprofit for three years as they build their capacity.

In some cases, the nonprofit wants to serve more youth. In those cases, Social Venture Partners help them to scale. In other cases, the nonprofits want their existing programs to be more effective.

Social Entrepreneurship Quotes from Ann Herzog-Olson

“Youth are kind of lost in the middle.”

“Social Venture Partners is focused on building capacity.”

“We look for nonprofits that are directly serving youth.”

“It’s what we call engaged philanthropy.”

“It’s skilled expertize, professional expertize, that we provide to the nonprofits.”

“We usually get about 30 to 50 applications, and we select just one nonprofit.”

“We walk alongside them.”

“It’s highly strategic skilled volunteers.”

“We use revenue as a proxy.”

“They double their revenue in three years.”

“We expect our partners to become involved and volunteer their time.”

“It’s sophisticated volunteering.”

“We train people to use their skills to help a nonprofit in a strategic way.”

“We are impacting more teens as we add more partners.”

“Development’s really about the donor.”

“They need to have a vision of where they want to take their organization.”

Social Entrepreneurship Resources:

Aug 21 2017

24mins

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Rank #16: Make a Living without Losing Yourself, with Sharon Rowe, The Magic of Tiny Business

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The Magic of Tiny Business is now available for preorder.

Sharon Rowe is a pioneer in social entrepreneurship. She launched her company, Eco-Bags Products, almost thirty years ago. Her company produces ECOBAGS, the original reusable bag.

When the daughter of a friend approached Sharon looking for a book on how to launch a business, Sharon looked around and didn’t see what she wanted in the marketplace. Like any good entrepreneur, Sharon decided to fill that gap. The solution is her new book, The Magic of Tiny Business: You Don’t Have to Go Big to Make a Great Living.

Sharon first told me about her book exactly one year ago when she first appeared on Social Entrepreneur. You can hear her interview here: https://tonyloyd.com/162

When I asked Sharon who she had in mind when she wrote the book, she quickly responded “Me. Thirty years ago.” She wrote the book that she wishes would have been on the market when she began.

Sharon takes on the myths that keep aspiring entrepreneurs from starting. “There are too many cultural myths out there that say; you can’t get started unless you have…this,” she explains. “I wanted to take the cover off the mystery called business.” The book provides practical advice on how to start without becoming overwhelmed. “I wove into this book a lot of takeaways that you can easily and readily apply,” Sharon says. “I wrote it to be accessible, applicable, and fun.”

The Magic of Tiny Business is available for preorder today.

Quotes from Sharon Rowe

“I built a business that fit my life.” @sharon_rowe_ @ecobags

“I decided to write the book to get clearer on my why, and then to figure out, how did I do it?” @sharon_rowe_ @ecobags

“Along the way, there was a lot of failures.” @sharon_rowe_ @ecobags

“It was time to start sharing what I’d learned.” @sharon_rowe_ @ecobags

“There are too many cultural myths out there that say, you can’t get started unless you have…this.” @sharon_rowe_ @ecobags

“I wanted to take the cover off the mystery called business.” @sharon_rowe_ @ecobags

“It’s a lot of work to get the work you don’t want to do.” @sharon_rowe_ @ecobags

“Without profit, you can’t proceed.” @sharon_rowe_ @ecobags

“This is not another book about ‘get confident and go.’” @sharon_rowe_ @ecobags

“If you can identify your why, you can stay on the right path.” @sharon_rowe_ @ecobags

“You’re going to fail at least 20% of the time, so just let it go.” @sharon_rowe_ @ecobags

“It’s not about making a killing. It’s about making a very good living.” @sharon_rowe_ @ecobags

“A book, you can share.” @sharon_rowe_ @ecobags

“I am still pretty attached to my pen and my paper.” @sharon_rowe_ @ecobags

“It’s kind of like a birthing process.” @sharon_rowe_ @ecobags

“I wove into this book a lot of takeaways that you can easily and readily apply.” @sharon_rowe_ @ecobags

“Preorders really matter.” @sharon_rowe_ @ecobags

“I wrote it to be accessible, applicable, and fun.” @sharon_rowe_ @ecobags

“It’s about becoming a part of many different communities.” @sharon_rowe_ @ecobags

“What’s your why?” @sharon_rowe_ @ecobags

Social Entrepreneurship Resources:

Apr 09 2018

24mins

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Rank #17: BONUS Interview, Sally Koering Zimney, This Moved Me

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This Moved Me helps purpose-driven changemakers speak with confidence, clarity, and authenticity so they can create talks that move the world.

This interview contains bonus material where Sally discusses:

  • How she learned to be a speaker and coach.
  • What she got wrong about coaching.
  • Her personal mantra as a coach.
  • How feedback can be a gift.

You can find the full interview here: https://tonyloyd.com/239

Social Entrepreneurship Resources:

Mar 26 2018

8mins

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Rank #18: Find Your Funding, Part 1, Jeff Ochs, Venn Foundation

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The Venn Foundation uses Program-Related Investments in surprising new ways.

This week, we’re kicking off a two-part mini-series how to fund a business that does social good. We did something like this in April 2016. Next week, Cathy Clark is going to be here to talk about CASE Smart Impact Capital, an online resource to help social entrepreneurs figure out how to find the right capital at the right time.

This week, we’re talking to Jeff Ochs of the Venn Foundation. Jeff is an experienced entrepreneur and investor. He invented and commercialized an educational party game that was licensed by Hasbro. He started a successful nonprofit, Breakthrough Twin Cities. And he was the Executive Director of an angel investing network. In each of these instances, Jeff saw the difficulty of getting the right investments to the right startups at the right time.

Jeff explains that today there are two types of capital:

  1. Charitable donations, which support causes we care about with no expectation whatsoever for financial return.
  2. For-profit investments, which are designed to make as much money as possible for investors on a risk-adjusted basis.

“In this current capital system, it is obvious why there is no investment capital available that is willing to accept ‘below-market’ financial terms,” Jeff explains. To meet this challenge, Jeff partnered with Rob Scarlett and Jeanne Voight to launch the Venn Foundation.

Jeff says, “At the highest level, Venn Foundation has a method for using charitable donations, which today we just give away, to make investments. This allows us to create the below-market investment capital that we badly need. Charitable investments have all the same tax advantages of donations, are anchored against -100% financial returns of donations, and allow the precious charitable donation to be recycled over and over again. Venn Foundation is where charity and investing meet.”

Venn is creating a marketplace for charitable investing. They are removing the obstacles that donors face in making charitable investments directly. By opening a special donor-advised fund called a Venn Account, any individual or organization can recommend that their charitable dollars be used by Venn to make Program-Related Investments, or PRIs. Venn can syndicate any PRI among any number of Venn Accounts. Financial returns from these PRIs go back to participating funds for the donors to redeploy into new PRIs or to grant out as desired.

Venn recently made a program-related investment to Binary Bridge. BinaryBridge creates software that helps humanitarians do their work effectively and efficiently. You may recall our conversation with BinaryBridge founder Lori Most.

Who should seek program-related investing? Jeff suggests that business and nonprofit leaders ask themselves, “Is that I’m doing helping advance a charitable cause as defined by the IRS? And if the answer is yes, or maybe yes, the program-related investment tool is something that could apply to you and your goals.”

Social Entrepreneurship Quotes from Jeff Ochs

“If that kind of capital existed, what could we do?” Jeff Ochs, Venn Foundation

“It’s where charity and investing meet.” Jeff Ochs, Venn Foundation

“Today, there is not a market for charitable investing.” Jeff Ochs, Venn Foundation

“If capital behaved differently, what would be possible?” Jeff Ochs, Venn Foundation

“Capital is the lifeblood of our economy.” Jeff Ochs, Venn Foundation

“If we can change the nature of capital, we can change the way our economy works.” Jeff Ochs, Venn Foundation

Social Entrepreneurship Resources:

Feb 19 2018

24mins

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Rank #19: Use Your Business Skills to Make a Direct Impact, with Kate Hayes, Echoing Green

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Aug 20 2018

26mins

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Rank #20: The Terrifying, Magical Life of a Social Entrepreneur, with Emily Hunt Turner, All Square

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Jan 29 2018

24mins

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When Sustainability Isn’t Enough, with Mary Jane Melendez, General Mills

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General Mills is blending regeneration and philanthropy to create impact.

How do you feed a hungry world without destroying the planet? And, how do you do so in a way that is just and equitable?

Agriculture and forestry activities generate 24% of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. The world population will reach 9.7 billion in 2050. And, a growing middle class in emerging countries is straining our global food supply.

Mary Jane Melendez is Chief Sustainability and Social Impact Officer for General Mills. She also serves as President of the General Mills Foundation. “It’s broader than philanthropy and broader than sustainability,” Mary Jane says. “It’s those two areas coming together to drive greater social impact.”

General Mills is a leading global food company whose purpose is to make food the world loves. They are a 150-year-old company that is using their scale to produce more quality food while reducing their footprint.

Regenerative Agriculture

“Our work is rooted in the earth,” Mary Jane explains, “and we want to restore it. We share a unique bond with nature. When there are threats to nature through changes in climate, those are threats to our business. At General Mills, this is a business imperative and a planetary imperative.

“Today, about a third of the world’s topsoil is degraded. We have lost about 40% of insect species on the planet, including pollinators that are important to our food. There is nothing about that fate that should be sustained. We don’t want to sustain declining ecosystems.

“At General Mills, what we’re being very thoughtful about is our responsibility to move beyond sustainability and think about regeneration.”

General Mills has commitment to advance regenerative agriculture practices on one million acres of farmland by 2030. Regenerative agriculture is a system of farming practices that enhance soil health, pulling carbon from the air and storing it in the soil. It helps land to be more resilient to extreme weather events.

100% Renewable Energy

Scale can be a force for good as demonstrated by General Mills’ commitment to regenerative agriculture. But scale can also be a burden on the planet. In 2015, General Mills was the first company to publish a goal approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) to reduce absolute greenhouse gas emissions across the company’s full value chain by 28% by 2025. That means that, no matter how much they grow, they committed to reducing their 2010 greenhouse gas emissions.

Last April, General Mills also set a goal of 100% renewable electricity worldwide by 2030.

“Technology changes quickly,” Mary Jane told me. “As new technologies come online, we are constantly keeping our eyes open for new ways to activate that technology, drive the investments to help reduce our greenhouse gas “

Learn More About Mary Jane Melendez and General Mills:

Mary Jane Melendez on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mary-jane-melendez-4a45915/

General Mills Global Responsibility Report: https://blog.generalmills.com/2020/04/2020-global-responsibility-report/

General Mills and Regenerative Agriculture: https://www.generalmills.com/en/News/NewsReleases/Library/2019/March/Regen-Ag

General Mills and Renewable Energy: https://www.generalmills.com/en/News/NewsReleases/Library/2020/April/General-Mills-commits-to-100-percent-renewable-electricity-globally-by-2030

General Mills CEO Jeff Harmening’s LinkedIn post from June 4: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/where-we-go-from-here-jeff-harmening/

Jul 13 2020

34mins

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Comfortable, Efficient, and Healthy Buildings, with Deepinder Singh, 75F

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Optimizing building energy efficiency can be complicated and expensive. According to Deepinder Singh, it doesn’t have to be.

The world has more than 230 billion square meters of building space with another 65 billion square meters coming online in the next decade. Buildings account for 6% of global greenhouse gasses.

With the ongoing global pandemic, the CDC has developed guidelines that encourage more fresh air circulation. The goal is to maintain lower viral load in the work atmosphere. Those guidelines could increase energy consumption. Improving energy efficiency could make a significant dent in climate change.

It Started with His Daughter

Deepinder Singh is a computer network engineer by training. He designed some of the world’s fastest core networks for AT&T, NTT, and Verizon. In his work on complex systems, he found ways to simplify operational complexity and to make products intuitive. “If you use Verizon,” Deepinder told me, “there’s a 95% chance it goes over a network I built. My claim to fame is that I had one of the first petabit routers sitting in my garage for five years.”

When he and his family moved to Minnesota, he ran into a problem that was a little closer to home. “My daughter, who was one at the time, would wake up in the night crying. The temperature in her room would drop ten degrees at night. The thermostat was in the mater bedroom, which was west facing. We were nice and warm because the sun would keep it warm in that room. In the rest of the house, the heat would not kick on.

“When my daughter was this uncomfortable, I quit my job to fix the damned problem.” Since Deepinder was not trained in HVAC, he used his computer network skills to solve the problem.

75F, Born Digital to Solve Problems for Commercial Buildings

After solving his own problem, Deepinder realized he had a solution with a commercial application. In 2012, Deepinder and his cofounders launched 75F, an intelligent building solution that utilizes the Internet of Things and the latest in Cloud Computing to create systems that predict, monitor and manage the needs of buildings.

“I found that there was an even bigger problem in commercial buildings. People are there all day, and somebody is wearing a coat during the summer.”

“The building controls industry, the last innovation that they had was in the mid-1990s. They are mechanical engineers who try to design It-controlled solutions. Those solutions are archaic by today’s standards. In the controls industry, people are taking these Lego pieces and they are building a custom solution for each building. To me, that’s an opportunity to disrupt.

“I had none of this baggage. I had no idea what the heck I was doing. We were born digital, so we looked at IOT and cloud computing, and created a completely different architecture. It’s modern. It keeps getting upgraded all the time. We look at the building holistically. We use machine learning and AI to implement things that people are doing manually. The building is continuously adjusting and adapting.”

75F uses smart sensors and controls to make commercial buildings healthier, more comfortable, and more efficient than ever before, all at a disruptive price.

“Normally energy efficiency and comfort oppose one another,” Deepinder commented. “We’re trying to do both at the same time.”

75F helps customers achieve an average savings of 41.8 percent in energy consumption and carbon footprint. 

Learn More About Deepinder Singh and 75F:

75F: https://www.75f.io/

Deepinder Singh on Twitter: https://twitter.com/FlyingSardar

Jun 30 2020

21mins

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Healing is in the Environment, with Robert Blake, Solar Bear

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Solar Bear is a Native American owned solar installation company.

Robert Blake of Solar Bear has a habit of mashing up two problems and coming up with a solution. His driving philosophy is “healing is in the environment.”

Solar Bear is a Native American owned solar installation company. They train people on the Red Lake Indian Reservation to install solar power. “If we can do this in Red Lake, we can bring this out to other tribal nations,” Robert explains.

“We’re going to see that solar energy can solve a human health crisis. On Native Nations and reservations, there is a high poverty rate, alcohol addiction, and drug addiction. What I’m hoping is, with this energy source, we can provide opportunities and give purpose to community members.”

Solar Bear also works with the Department of Corrections, and the Willow River Correctional Facility to provide a solar installation workforce development program for the inmates. “The idea here is to battle mass incarceration with climate change,” Robert says. “Here in the United States, we are one of the leaders in incarcerating our citizens. We have this existential problem. Can we get individuals that are incarcerated to fight climate change?

“I believe that healing is in the environment. If we can have these individuals work in the solar industry, be installers, maybe become electricians, this will be a way to heal and give back to society.

“It’s a ripple effect. When these individuals come out of the correctional facilities and are doing solar, they are taking their families off of public assistance. They show their kids that they have a steady job, and that breaks the cycle.”

Robert is also the executive director of Native Sun Community Power Development. Native promotes renewable energy, energy efficiency, and a just energy transition. They use education, workforce training, and demonstrations.

One Native Sun project is creating a K -12 curriculum on climate change. In the pilot program on the Red Lake Reservation, they teach children about energy efficiency, renewable energy, recycling, and gardening.

“Imagine a polar bear family that wear sunglasses. They’re solar bears,” Robert explains. “It’s going to be the kids who are going to have to deal with the aftereffects of climate change.”

Another Native Sun project is to teach solar installation skills to military veterans.

Learn More About Robert Blake, Solar Bear, and Native Sun:

Robert Blake on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/robert-blake-b5b82543

Solar Bear: https://solarbear.earth

Native Sun Community Power Development: https://www.nativesun.org

Jun 25 2020

20mins

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Delivering Efficiency with Marc Kuo, Routific

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Routific uses AI to cut mileage and drive time by 20%-40%.

Marc Kuo is the Founder & CEO of Routific. He is a routing expert with nearly a decade of experience in last-mile logistics. But he didn’t always work in logistics.

“Being a fresh grad out of school, I just wanted to get into either management consulting or investment banking, simply because of its prestige,” Marc told me. “I was ambitious. I wanted to aim for something challenging.

“Once I was in finance, I was on the equity trading floor for one of the investment banks in Hong Kong. It was a glamorous dream job. I was sitting on the fifty-first floor of one of the tallest skyscrapers in Hong Kong. But I just felt a little empty. I was quickly disenchanted by this glamorous job and the corporate life.

“I wasn’t adding much value to society, using algorithms to move money from the retired pensioners to the rich bankers. I didn’t feel like it was value added to society.”

After being on the job for a year, Marc decided to go back to what he studied in graduate school. He wrote his thesis on route optimization algorithms.

From his perch on the fifty-first floor, he watched the ships, trucks, and logistics in the harbor.

“I felt a calling to move physical goods and rout them more efficiently. Physical goods are being moved anyway. Why not do it that much more efficiently?”

The Big Problem

Transportation is responsible for 14% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Imagine a delivery business that delivers to 500 locations every day with a fleet of 10 vehicles. The puzzle of deciding which vehicle goes where and in what order, while making sure the fleet operates as efficiently as possible, is extremely hard.

“Every day we optimize the routes of hundreds of delivery businesses around the globe to save them time and fuel,” Marc explains. “Our mission? To make route optimization software accessible to every delivery business. We are passionate about helping businesses thrive and creating a more sustainable world.

“Routific surveyed 11,246 businesses and found that 72% still plan routes manually. That means they plan routes using tools like spreadsheets, pen and paper, and Google Maps. Businesses dependent on manual route planning struggle with the consequences of inefficient routes—hours of manual route planning time and inflated delivery costs.

“It’s hard work. And humans are not particularly good at it. Businesses report spending anywhere from one to three hours a day trying to plan delivery routes – many of which are not efficient nor optimal.”

This is where route optimization software can help.

“Aside from saving the manual route planner a lot of time, we also cut mileage and drive time by 20%-40% by generating more efficient routes than humans can ever find.”

The fact that most businesses are still manually planning routes is a big problem for the environment. Third-party environmental consultants estimated carbon emission reductions equivalent to planting 86 trees/year for every driver that switches over from manually planned routes to one optimized by Routific.

In 2019 alone, Routific helped delivery businesses around the world save 11,322 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, the equivalent of planting more than 500,000 trees.

More Information: https://routific.com/

Jun 16 2020

26mins

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Environmental Change in the Midwest, with Janet McCabe, Environmental Resilience Institute

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The Environmental Resilience Institute helps midwestern communities understand and prepare for environmental change. 

There’s something powerful about understanding how a global trend impacts your local community. For example, it’s one thing to hear about world hunger. It’s another to hear about hunger in your state. But there’s a different feeling when you realize that there’s a hungry kid in your neighborhood. As Tip O’Neill said, “All politics is local.”

It’s the same thing with climate change. You’ve probably heard about the global climate crisis. And, when your state is mentioned, you might pay attention. But, when you notice the impact on the health and wellbeing of your local community, well, there’s something compelling about that.

Climate Change in the Midwest

We hear a lot about the impacts of climate change in far-flung corners of the world. We are aware of the dangers of flooding along the US coastline. But what about the Midwest?

The average annual temperature has been increasing across the Midwest. Warmer air holds more moisture, which changes moisture patterns. That means more frequent flooding, and drought.

For each 1 degree Celsius of warming, the crop yield declines for corn, wheat, rice, and soy.

Warmer, wetter winters have led to higher tick populations. The mosquito season is longer. Mosquitoes and ticks spread diseases.

Helping Midwestern Communities Understand and Prepare for Environmental Change

Janet McCabe is an expert in environmental law and policy. She is the director of the Environmental Resilience Institute at Indiana University.

The Environmental Resilience Institute collects data across all 92 counties in Indiana to predict changes in climate, groundwater systems, vegetation, wildlife, and more. Their goal is to help Indiana understand how a changing climate will affect health, communities, industry, and agriculture.

Before joining the Environmental Resilience Institute, Janet held key positions in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.

Learn More About Janet McCabe and Indiana University Environmental Resilience Institute:

·        Indiana University Environmental Resilience Institute: https://eri.iu.edu

·        Janet McCabe on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/janet-mccabe-204b53126

May 19 2020

29mins

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A Just and Equitable Transition to a Clean Energy Future, with Ry Brennan

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The problems are systemic and complex. So are the answers.

Globally, the United States accounts for 5% of the world’s population, but we produce 15% of the energy-related CO2 emissions. Coastal flooding, hurricanes, drought, and fires are all related to climate change. And who suffers the most from the impacts of climate change? Mostly the poor and vulnerable.

Bringing this closer to home, in the US, 5.9 million people live within three miles of a major coal-fired power plant. On average, these people have a per capital income of $18,400, which is 17% lower than the average in the US.

A Yale University study found that Hispanics have the highest exposure rates for 10 out of 14 air pollutants. African Americans have higher exposure rates than whites for 13 out of the 14 air pollutants.

68% of African Americans live within 30 miles of a coal-fired power plant. Black people are exposed to 1.5 times more particulate matter than white people. Hispanics have about 1.2 times the exposure to particulates than non-Hispanic whites.

African Americans are hospitalized for asthma at three times the rate of white Americans. And, the death rate from asthma is 172% higher for African Americans than white Americans.

Among children, the results are even worse. According to the Centers for Disease Control, black children are twice as likely to have asthma as white children. And black children are 10 times more likely than white kids to die of complications from asthma.

And, that is not to mention increased birth defects, heart disease, lung disease, learning difficulties, and lower property values.

The average US household spends 4% of their income on energy costs, while low-income families spend 17% of their income.

African Americans spend around $40 billion on energy. Yet, 1.1% of energy jobs are held by African Americans. And, only .01% of energy revenue went to African Americans.

The Solutions Can Be the Problem

At one level, we have the solutions in hand. King Coal is dead. It is more expensive to generate electricity from coal than from either wind or solar.

Wind is the cheapest source of new electricity generation in Minnesota. The cost fell by 16% in one year.

The price of solar energy in Minnesota has declined 34% over the last five years.

LED lighting is energy efficient. Electric cars don’t emit CO2 from combustion.

However, as H. L. Mencken said, “There is always a well-known solution to every human problem—neat, plausible, and wrong.”

The problems are systemic and complex. The solutions are at the systems level.

According to Ry Brennan, a doctoral researcher at the University of California, Santa Barbara, “Solving the problems with our existing energy infrastructure requires creating resilient energy systems. These systems must be decentralized, diverse, and open to democratic deliberation. This change will require a dramatic remaking of our hard and soft energy infrastructures.”

A Call to Action

In this episode of Social Entrepreneur, Ry challenges us to think deeply about our electrical system. “Figure out how energy gets from the plant to your light switch. If you're not happy about it, find out what people in your town are doing about it. If they're not doing anything about it yet, ask if anyone wants to help you make some noise. If you are happy about it, share your community's good idea with someone else.”

About Ry Brenna

Ry Brennan is a doctoral researcher at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where they study energy justice, infrastructure, environmental sociology, prison ecology, and democracy, especially as these themes and fields relate to energy decentralization. They are also a community organizer working in a range of different affinity groups with the simple ambition of ending oppression in all its forms to cultivate the flourishing of humans, non-human animals, and their ecosystems. They do nothing in their spare time because they have no spare time.

May 11 2020

30mins

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Jessica Hellmann, Geofinancial Analytics and the Institute on the Environment

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If you could invent a post-pandemic world, what world would you create?

I hear a lot of people talking about the desire to return to “normal.” However, normal was unsustainable. Before the pandemic, there was another crisis, an environmental crisis. A crisis in our food systems, our energy systems, our clean water systems, and our unequal economic systems. Coronavirus did not break our systems. It revealed how broken our systems already are.

There is a saying, “Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them." That is why, when faced with intractable problems like COVID-19 or the climate crisis, I like to talk to thought leaders.

On the other side of the pandemic, we have an opportunity to begin again. What world can you imagine in a post-pandemic world? I asked this question to Jessica Hellmann, the Director of the Institute on Environment at the University of Minnesota.

The Institute on the Environment has a bold vision for the world:

  • Sustainable agriculture feeds the world.
  • Renewable energy powers healthy homes, efficient transportation, and flourishing businesses.
  • Every person has access to food, water and shelter.
  • Oceans, lakes and rivers are clean and healthy.
  • Communities have vibrant economies, neighborhoods and cultures.
  • Thriving ecosystems support thriving economies and societies. Overall, humanity restores and renews resources for the benefit of all living things.

IonE is accelerating the transition to this future by supporting breakthrough research across disciplines. They develop the next generation of global leaders, discover breakthrough solutions, and build transformative partnerships.

“Universities have been profoundly important in figuring out what environmental issues are,” Jessica explains. “Now, it’s equally, if not more important in addressing those problems.”

Jessica says, “Occasionally, there are projects or activities that are created within an interdisciplinary institute. Some ideas continue to flourish within an institute, and some go off elsewhere.”

One example of a spinoff from the institute is Geofinancial Analytics. Jessica is the Chief Scientist at Geofinancial Analytics. They are a science-driven benefit corporation. Their mission is to accelerate capital flow from climate stressors to sustainable solutions. They inform investment decisions with transparent, objective facts.

Learn More About Jessica Hellmann:

May 03 2020

22mins

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A Systems view of the Climate Crisis (and Coronavirus) with Jonathan Foley, Project Drawdown

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Apr 24 2020

25mins

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Kickoff, Season Two, Social Entrepreneur

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In season two, we are telling stories of an inclusive and just transition to a clean energy future.

Happy Earth Day! Welcome to Season Two of Social Entrepreneur. You already know that we tell positive stories from underrepresented voices, focused on solutions. In season two, we are focusing on stories of an inclusive and just transition to a clean energy future.

Here are the kinds of guests we will feature:

  • Underrepresented voices such as women entrepreneurs, people of color, Native Americans, LGBTQ voices, and others who don’t normally get the spotlight. The venture capitalist Arlan Hamilton refers to them as the underestimated. We highlight the true hustlers, those who have overcome the most on their journey.
  • Are working to solve big problems, tied to sustainable development goals. In this season, we are focused on an inclusive and just transition to a clean energy future.
  • Have a sustainable business model. We give preference to for-profit businesses. We will consider nonprofit businesses who sell a product or service to sustain their impact.
  • Are solution-focused. Our Guests are making a lasting difference through direct action.

Upcoming Episodes:

We’re excited to bring you new stories about our clean energy future. Here are some examples of upcoming episodes:

Apr 22 2020

3mins

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Introducing Thrive. Connect. Contribute.

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Positive stories of resilient people who thrive in life, connect with others, and contribute to the world in the face of adversity.

Who do you know who is modeling resilience during difficult times?

Have you heard any good stories lately? In this critical time, we are surrounded by acts of heroism, both large and small.

I want to introduce you to the podcast, Thrive. Connect. Contribute.

Here is What You Will Hear:

I am sharing stories of resilient people. Here are three examples.

Episode 3: How I Overcame Anxiety, Found the Purpose of Life, and Lived a Year of Personal Bests. If you’ve been wondering “What happened to Tony?” This answers the question. It’s been quite a year.

Episode 4: These Children Show Us How to Connect with Others in a Time of Crisis. I interview a 10-year-old boy and his 7-year-old sister. They launched a new podcast so that kids can learn and have fun.

Episode 10: Crowdsource Kindness During the COVID-19 Crisis with Morgan Schmidt. According to Morgan, the world is full of kind people. She found a way to crowdsource kindness.

What I'm Doing During the COVID-19 Crisis

I’m looking for these stories. I’ll bet you have heard stories like this. And, I’ll also bet that you have stories from your life.

In the middle of this pandemic, I feel compelled to do this.

I am calling for stories. Here’s how it works.

You can nominate a story that you heard from someone else, or you can tell your own story.

Why "Thrive. Connect. Contribute."?

Last year I did a personal experiment called “My Year of Personal Bests.” If I boiled the entire year-long experience into one phrase, it would be this:

You are here on earth to connect with others and contribute to the world. But before you can connect and contribute, you must first practice self-care. In other words, you must thrive. Thrive. Connect. Contribute. In that order.

Take Control of Your Destiny

So, help me out, will you? Let’s find and tell the stories of people who are thriving, connecting, and contributing in the face of adversity.

Nominate someone to tell their story. Or, let us know about the story you have to tell.

We need these stories now more than ever. 

Apr 22 2020

3mins

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Cohort Opportunity at Lunar Startups, with Amanda Heyman and Danielle Steer

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Jan 02 2019

24mins

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Top Twelve Popular Podcasts 2018, Kathleen Kelly Janus

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Dec 31 2018

22mins

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Top Twelve Popular Podcasts 2018, Emily Hunt Turner, All Square

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Dec 28 2018

23mins

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Top Twelve Popular Podcasts 2018, Jeff Ochs, Venn Foundation

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Dec 26 2018

22mins

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Top Twelve Popular Podcasts 2018, Gator Halpern and Sam Teicher, Coral Vita

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Dec 24 2018

22mins

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Top Twelve Popular Podcasts 2018, Matt Scott, Let’s Care

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Dec 21 2018

38mins

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Top Twelve Popular Podcasts 2018, Isaac Hunja, Sky.Garden

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Dec 19 2018

22mins

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Top Twelve Popular Podcasts 2018, Elizabeth Sarquis

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Global Gaming Initiative provides a suite of tools and services to make it easier for game developers and publishers to produce and monetize games for social good.

Note: Between now and the end of the year, we’re counting down the top twelve popular podcast interviews of 2018. It is a people’s choice award, determined by the number of downloads. This interview originally aired on February 12, 2018.

Elizabeth Sarquis was born in a small town along the Magdalena River in Colombia. When Elizabeth was five years old, her family moved to the US. Growing up, she went to school in the US and spent time her summers in Colombia. Elizabeth says “It struck me, when I would see children on the streets begging. Then I would go back home, and I would have everything. It didn’t make sense to me.”

As an adult, Elizabeth worked in nonprofits focused on children’s issues. During the 2008 financial meltdown, Elizabeth observed how difficult it was for nonprofits to raise funds. And, after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, she noticed that there was a wide gap between the money raised and the impact of those funds. “I knew something had to change,” she says. “I wanted to create a model that used technology, which I love, and create an impact.”

In 2010, Elizabeth’s 14-year-old son traveled to Ecuador to volunteer with a nonprofit. Her son told her a story about a boy he met. The boy did not have transportation, and therefore, did not attend school. Elizabeth’s son challenged her to help. Around this same time, Elizabeth found herself playing Angry Birds for hours. She thought, “Can’t we figure out a way to use games, tied to impact?” From this thought cam Global Gaming Initiative.

Global Gaming Initiative is a mobile game company that creates games and aligns them with social impact. They are a cooperative. They work with game developer who wants to create social impact through their game. Global Gaming Initiative is a BCorporation. They have been selected as a “Best for the World” company two years in a row.

Global Gaming Initiative was not successful right away. They hired eight engineers and animators, spent months on the game, but it was not commercially successful. “We didn’t bring marketing in soon enough,” Elizabeth explains. “At that time, it was a bit more of the wild west in the app store.”  

One of Global Gaming Initiative’s first successful games was Sidekick Cycle, a competitive retro arcade game that positions players in a race against time. Profits from in-app purchases and advertisement go towards bicycles for kids. The game is popular and has provided lots of bikes. However, parents began to push back on the content of the advertisements.

To help control the types of ads that are presented on their games, Elizabeth and her team created Jukko. Jukko connects game players with socially-conscious brands. Jukko is scheduled to launch around April of 2018.

Social Entrepreneurship Quotes from Elizabeth Sarquis

“You can make games and you can have an impact.” @elizabetsarquis, @GGInitiative

“You have to surround yourself with a network of people who believe in what you’re doing.” @elizabetsarquis, @GGInitiative

“Get involved in your community.” @elizabetsarquis, @GGInitiative

Social Entrepreneurship Resources:

Dec 17 2018

20mins

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Top Twelve Popular Podcasts 2018, Elisa Birnbaum

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In the Business of Change features stories of changemakers who use the power of business to address society’s most pressing problems.

Note: Between now and the end of the year, we’re counting down the top twelve popular podcast interviews of 2018. It is a people’s choice award, determined by the number of downloads. This interview originally aired on May 24, 2018.

Elisa Birnbaum is the publisher and editor-in-chief of SEE Change Magazine, a digital publication of social entrepreneurship and social change. You may recall her interview from June 2017. Elisa has a new book out, In the Business of Change: How Social Entrepreneurs are Disrupting Business as Usual.

The book highlights how social entrepreneurs are using business savvy to create change in their communities. Elisa tells stories from a wide range of sectors, including employment, food, art, education, and social justice. Each chapter focuses on lessons learned and measurable impact. The book provides practical tips for starting and scaling a social enterprise.

Social Entrepreneur Quotes by Elisa Birnbaum:

“It’s part storytelling and part lessons for those who want to start their own social enterprise.” @ElisaBirnbaum @SEEChangemag

“It’s for the average person who wants inspiring storytelling.” @ElisaBirnbaum @SEEChangemag

“Look at all of this amazing work being done.” @ElisaBirnbaum @SEEChangemag

“I wanted to provide a broad spectrum of people doing things in different sectors.” @ElisaBirnbaum @SEEChangemag

“The book has actually been on my mind for a long time.” @ElisaBirnbaum @SEEChangemag

“It’s good to tell stories in different medium.” @ElisaBirnbaum @SEEChangemag

“You want to get these stories out there in as many ways as you can.” @ElisaBirnbaum @SEEChangemag

“This was a lot more strategic.” @ElisaBirnbaum @SEEChangemag

“There were a couple of chapters that ended up changing.” @ElisaBirnbaum @SEEChangemag

“You have to be flexible.” @ElisaBirnbaum @SEEChangemag

“Social entrepreneurs are taking a bigger role in systems change.” @ElisaBirnbaum @SEEChangemag

“I didn’t start writing until I had a contract.” @ElisaBirnbaum @SEEChangemag

“I had a book on my mind for many years.” @ElisaBirnbaum @SEEChangemag

“People don’t get to see the grit, the passion, and the work that goes into it.” @ElisaBirnbaum @SEEChangemag

“These stories, I find so inspiring.” @ElisaBirnbaum @SEEChangemag

“I enjoyed the process more than I imagined I would.” @ElisaBirnbaum @SEEChangemag

Social Entrepreneurship Resources:

Dec 14 2018

23mins

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Top Twelve Popular Podcasts 2018, Mondo Davison, The Black Tech Guy

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Dec 12 2018

23mins

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iTunes Ratings

138 Ratings
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Love it!

By Gisele_Oliveira - May 12 2017
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Amazing. Well done podcast. Helpful really.

Well Done!

By HenryLopez@TheHowOfBusiness - Mar 09 2017
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Great show Tony! Enjoying the format and your interview approach and style. Thanks!