Earlier this summer, the Case Foundation teamed up with Forbes and several other leading changemaking organizations to put out a call for the world’s most innovative social entrepreneurs under the age of 30 who are changing the world with their groundbreaking ideas. More than 2,500 of them answered and shared with us their disruptive and scalable ideas in the hopes of winning the Forbes Under 30 $1 Million Change the World Competition.
From this talented pool of both for-profit and nonprofit organizations, six finalists were chosen. Each of the finalists represents a bold new idea that has the potential to catalyze solutions in the areas of education, extreme poverty, sustainability, global health and other pressing social problems.
It is awe-inspiring to see what this gifted group of changemakers from all around the world is bringing to life. Determined to tackle the world’s most difficult and chronic challenges, these bright young social entrepreneurs are forging new solutions and creating meaningful impact along the way.
Meet our six finalists and learn about their organizations:
- Amara Humphry, Gooru: Humphry, age 27, co-founded Gooru, which helps students in underserved communities where there is a lack of support and limited resources both at home and in the classroom. The Redwood City, CA, based organization provides students with access to crowd-sourced courses, as well as actionable data, enabling immediate insight into their strengths and weaknesses related to learning. Gooru is free and open to anyone, and is currently focused on serving California public schools and planning on expanding to the rest of the US and to the world.
- Daniel Yu, Reliefwatch: Yu, age 22, founded Reliefwatch, which provides stock level data for organizations in the developing world. The Chicago, IL, based company uses basic mobile phones for inventory management, overcoming the need for computers or Internet access. Medical stock outs and expirations are a pervasive problem across the developing world, impacting more than $4 billion dollars of medical aid each year. The Reliefwatch platform creates transparency, allowing organizations to prevent stock outs and track expiration dates. Reliefwatch’s platform reduced wasted medication by 90 percent while working with Global Brigades in Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama.
- Govinda Upadhyay, LEDsafari: Upadhyay, age 27, founded LEDsafari, a Switzerland-based organization which provides low cost solar LED lamp kits for secondary school students in un-electrified areas of developing countries, enabling children to make and use their own lamps. LEDsafari’s instructions allow for the complete understanding of the physics behind the circuit and the design process. As the penetration of smartphones is increasing, LEDsafari is developing an app that students can use to measure their own impact.
- Heather Concannon and Elizabeth Nguyen, Unitarian Universalist Community Cooperatives: These two 27-year-old clergy members co-founded the Roxbury, MA, based Unitarian Universalist Community Cooperatives. The organization offers cooperatively-owned affordable housing communities and opportunities for individual investors or organizations who value cooperation, and justice, but who struggle to find places to invest their money in ways that reflect their values.
- Kiah Williams, SIRUM (Supporting Initiatives to Redistribute Unused Medicine): Williams, age 29, co-founded SIRUM, an online platform that provides life-saving medications to low-income people. Based in Stanford, CA, SIRUM taps into a new source of medications: unopened, unexpired surplus that would have been destroyed. The company leverages technology to identify surplus medications at institutions like nursing homes and pharmacies, find a matching need and then ship the medications directly to safety-net clinics that serve low-income populations.
- Paul Duan, Bayes Impact: Duan, age 23, founded Bayes Impact, which provides technology solutions for improving critical social services around the world. Incubated at Y Combinator, the San Francisco, CA, based Bayes Impact brings data science solutions to governments that have never had access to them before.
These organizations will advance and compete on-stage at the Forbes Under 30 Summit in Philadelphia on October 6, 2015—where more than 2,000 of the world’s top young entrepreneurs and game changers, as well as world-class mentors will come together to celebrate the next generation of leaders. Each of the finalists will receive $100,000 in awards and the overall winner will walk away with an additional $400,000 in awards. Finalists will also be invited to participate in the Forbes Under 30 Impact Lab—an afternoon during which the attendees at the Under 30 Summit will work with challenge finalists to help them solve problems and accelerate their growth.
Through its global brand and trendsetting reputation, Forbes is actively lifting up the next generation of talented makers and movers. For these finalists, participation in the Change the World competition can provide an important spotlight on their work, as well as access to networks and resources that may ultimately help advance their social enterprises and bring them one step closer to sustainably scaling their ideas. It is our passionate belief at the Case Foundation that this new generation of changemakers holds tremendous promise for building a better world, and it is the reason we are so pleased to sponsor this important competition.
Given this, I would be remiss if I stopped there and only highlighted these six finalists. Indeed, in the review of the 2,500 applicants there were numerous, exciting examples of young leaders with bright, innovative ideas that can change the world. While six may be recognized here today, and one will win this competition, my hope is that this challenge will not only inspire those with big ideas to make them a reality, but also encourage those looking to mentor, fund or champion a next gen changemaker to take action.
Looking for a way to get started? Check out a few of the other revolutionary ideas submitted for the competition that inspired us:
- 1DocWay provides a platform that enables Americans in remote or underserved areas to access psychiatric care. 1DocWay brings doctors to communities they were not providing care in otherwise through telemedicine, potentially serving millions.
- Eko Devices provides the first smartphone-connected stethoscope that integrates with a patient electronic health record for clinicians. Clinicians are helped with diagnosing heart sounds and are able to record, save and analyze them.
- LuminAID makes sustainable and space-efficient solar lights that pack flat and inflate into lightweight, waterproof lanterns ideal for disaster relief and more. The portable, waterproof, solar lights are also useful for families living without access to reliable electricity, and LuminAID’s Give Light Program lets anyone contribute to providing sustainable light.
- MetaMixis provides biological tools for chemicals and materials producers; to help them transition from petroleum products to biomass (plants and waste). The company has developed a rapid discovery platform that combines biology, computation and automation to harness solutions from nature.
- Ensibuuko Tech Limited provides the means for Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOS) and credit unions to grow and scale rapidly as they reach underserved communities in Uganda. Ensibuuko provides a customized mobile banking software for SACCOS that improves how these institutions manage data and makes possible the use of mobile banking to make financial services accessible anytime.
- Kinvolved provides mobile and web apps that enable instant SMS and email communication between teachers and parents of kids in disadvantaged schools. Kinvolved’s technology and coaching improves family engagement through more efficient and effective communication, which has been proven to increase student attendance.
- LearnLux provides educated customers for financial institutions. LearnLux educates Millennials for free through an online personal finance hub and connects them to financial institutions able to help them grow and manage their money.
- Soko is creating ethical fast fashion and providing sustainable income to artisans in emerging markets. Soko’s virtual factory provides artisans with market research, mobile enterprise tools and an online marketplace to sell their products to a global customer base.
- Universidad Mexicana de Innovacion en Negocios (UMIN) provides the best-applied and theoretical education to the Mexican and broader Latin American population. UMIN provides affordable high-quality education to Mexican and Latin American students that combines theory and practice—so that students are more prepared to secure full-time employment when they graduate.
Check back after October 6th to find out which organization won the competition!
The Case Foundation is proud to sponsor this competition alongside: Forbes; the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation; the Pratt Foundation; the Keywell Foundation; Echoing Green through a grant from the John Templeton Foundation; and entrepreneur Bob Duggan.