50 Entrepreneurial Influencers You Should Be Following On Twitter

At the Case Foundation, we celebrate the power of entrepreneurship—as a means to help changemakers tackle global challenges, transform communities, create jobs, spur economic growth and close the opportunity gap—every day of the year.

This week however is special, as we join with millions of others in the world’s largest celebration of entrepreneurs, innovators and job creators during Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW). Now in its ninth year, GEW “inspires people everywhere through local, national and global activities designed to help them explore their potential as self-starters and innovators.” It has become a “platform for connection and collaboration—engaging all players along the entrepreneurship spectrum in strengthening ecosystems around the world.”

To forge a stronger, more dynamic and increasingly diverse entrepreneurial ecosystem, we have curated a list of 50 influencers in the entrepreneurial space—with a focus on social entrepreneurs, women entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs of color, impact investors and ecosystem builders—who we encourage you to follow and engage with on Twitter. We recognize that there are thousands of others who are actively engaging in this conversation on Twitter… so if you want to shine a spotlight on others supporting this ecosystem, please let us know on Twitter using @CaseFoundation and the hashtag #Ent4All.

And don’t forget to keep in touch with the Case Foundation and our team!
@CaseFoundation   @JeanCase   @SteveCase   Full Team List

Entrepreneurial Influencers*:
Easily follow every Twitter handle on this list through our Entrepreneurship Twitter List.

Halcyon Incubator

@HalcyonIncubate

Supporting intrepid social entrepreneurs with transformative ideas to solve 21st century challenges.

PowerMoves

@PowerMovesNOLA

PowerMoves.NOLA is about creating power through opportunity – the opportunity of high growth minority Traditional & Tech Entrepreneurship.

1776

@1776

Global incubator & seed fund helping startups transform industries that impact millions—education, energy & sustainability, health, transportation & cities.

FundGoodJobs

@FundGoodJobs

We bet on good job creators.

Propeller

@GoPropeller

Propeller is a New Orleans nonprofit that works to solve local problems through social innovation. #PropelForward #PropelChange

Scott Case

@tscottcase

@MainStGenome Co-Founder *** Up Global http://www.UP.co *** @MalariaNoMore to end malaria deaths in Africa by 2015.

Entrepreneur Magazine

@EntMagazine

Premier business magazine for entrepreneurs. Our main account is @Entrepreneur. Follow this account for all print-related content and material.

Penny Pritzker

@PennyPritzker

The official Twitter feed of the United States Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker

TechStars

@TechStars

Techstars is a global ecosystem that empowers entrepreneurs to bring new technologies to market wherever they choose to build their business.

Catalyst

@CatalystInc

Working globally to build inclusive workplaces and expand opportunities for women and business. Terms of use: http://catalyst.org/node/683

Tory Burch Foundation

@ToryBurchFdn

The official Tory Burch Foundation tweets.

UBS

@UBS

Follow us for news about UBS, our events and opinions from around the world.

Startup Weekend

@StartupWeekend

Create communities & build companies in a weekend! No Talk. All Action. Part of @techstars and powered by @GoogleForEntrep

Kauffman Foundation

@KauffmanFDN

Fostering economic independence by advancing education & entrepreneurship. RTs ≠ endorsements. House Rules http://kff.mn/110LS6x

Global Entrepreneurship Network

@unleashingideas

#GEW has given rise to a Global Entrepreneurship Network of entrepreneurs, investors, policymakers, researchers and other startup champions in 160+ countries.

Branson Centre

@bransoncentre

The Branson Centre was established by Richard Branson and Virgin Unite to identify promising entrepreneurs and equip them to launch successful businesses.

Inc

@Inc

Everything you need to know to start and grow your business now.

Conscious Company

@ConsciousCoMag

Print and digital publication about innovative, sustainable businesses that are doing good in the world.

Forbes

@Forbes

Official Twitter account of http://Forbes.com , homepage for the world’s business leaders.

FastCompany

@FastCompany

Official Twitter feed for the Fast Company business media brand; inspiring readers to think beyond traditional boundaries & create the future of business.

Skoll Foundation

@SkollFoundation

Driving large-scale change by investing in, connecting, & celebrating social entrepreneurs & innovators dedicated to solving the world’s most pressing problems

Forward Cities

@ForwardCities

A national learning collaborative between cities of innovation. Focus: inclusive innovation; shared learning; social impact; entrepreneurship.

New Economy Initiaitve

@NEIMichigan

New Economy Initiative for SE Michigan is accelerating the transition to an innovation-based economy that expands opportunities for all.

Christopher Gergen

@cgergen

Focus on urban innovation & developing next generation high-impact leaders. Author, teacher, father, entrepreneur.

Arlan Hamilton

@ArlanWasHere

Investor/Managing Director at @Backstage_Cap 

Earl Robinson

@pmnolaearl

CEO, New Orleans Startup Fund & PowerMoves.NOLA: Providing underrepresented, early-stage treps with access to capital, guidance and a national ecosystem.

Idea Villages

@IdeaVillage

For entrepreneurs and those who believe in them.

Jess Knox

@jknox78251

Movement maker; growth consultant; father; Maine Startup & Create Week, @startupportland @olympicostrat

Blackstone Launch Pad

@BxLaunchPad

Blackstone LaunchPad is a campus entrepreneurship program offering coaching, ideation and venture creation support.

Kapor Center

@KaporCenter

The Kapor Center is relentlessly pursuing creative strategies to leverage tech for positive, progressive change.

SBA

@SBAgov

The official Twitter account of the U.S. Small Business Administration. News, tips, and resources for the small biz community.

JumpStart Inc

@JumpStartInc

JumpStart is a nationally recognized nonprofit accelerating the success of diverse entrepreneurs, their high growth companies and the ecosystems supporting them

The Pew Trusts

@pewtrusts

Driven by knowledge to solve today’s challenging problems, improve public policy, inform the public, and invigorate civic life. RT does not imply endorsement.

Ross Baird

@rossbaird

Executive Director of @villagecapital; also teach at @UVA. Enable entrepreneurs to solve major global problems. Big fan of @UVa basketball, @braves.

CityLab

@CityLab

All things urban, from The Atlantic.

Aspen Institute Center for Urban Innovation

@AspenInstitute

Exploring ideas. Inspiring conversations on issues that matter.

National Urban League

@NatUrbanLeague

Established in 1910, National Urban League is the nation’s oldest and largest community-based movement devoted to empowering African Americans.

Small Business Majority

@SmlBizMajority

We are a national small business organization founded and run by small business owners.

Opportunity Hub

@ohubatl

Opportunity Hub is the largest minority owned multi-campus coworking space, entrepreneurship school, pre-accelerator and incubator.

John Hope Bryant

@johnhopebryant

Thought leader, founder, chairman and CEO, Bryant Group Ventures & Operation HOPE, bestselling author of How The Poor Can Save Capitalism & LOVE LEADERSHIP

Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship

@NFTE

Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) is a global nonprofit that unlocks potential in young people by teaching them how to think entrepreneurially.

Opportunity Finance Network

@OppFinance

OFN is a national network of CDFIs (community lending institutions) that invest in opportunities to benefit low-income and low-wealth people in the U.S.

Ellevate Network

@EllevateNtwk

A global women’s network. The essential resource for professional women who create, inspire and lead. Together we #InvestInWomen.

Sallie Krawcheck

@SallieKrawcheck

Ellevest, Ellevate Network…past head of Merrill Lynch & Smith Barney ….past research analyst…..mom….crazed UNC basketball fan

Lesa Mitchell

@lesamitchell

Supporting networks that enable inventors and startups to scale.

Craig Shapiro

@cshapiro

Founder and managing partner @collabfund. Student of history.

Jacqueline Novogratz

@jnovogratz

Founder/CEO of @acumen, dedicated to changing the way the world tackles poverty. Author of The Blue Sweater

Linda Rottenberg

@lindarottenberg

Endeavor CEO and Co-Founder, high-impact entrepreneurship promoter, mom of identical twins. Author of Crazy Is A Compliment

Omidyar Network

@OmidyarNetwork

A philanthropic investment firm harnessing the power of markets to create opportunity for people to improve their lives. #PositiveReturns

Google for Entrepreneurs

@GoogleForEntrep

News and updates from Google for Entrepreneurs.

*This list is provided for informational and educational purposes only. Inclusion on this list does not include endorsement by the Foundation.

Women’s Venture Xchange-Africa: Expanding Women-led Businesses in Africa

Global Entrepreneurship Network is now accepting applications for Women’s Venture Xchange-Africa!

This year’s Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in Nairobi, Kenya put a spotlight on the rising stars of entrepreneurship and the burgeoning entrepreneurial ecosystem in Africa. The summit showed how the people and companies of Africa are ripe for real financial investment to grow their businesses, strengthen their communities and provide solutions for some of the world’s most pressing problems. The Case Foundation was honored to join GES and get a first hand look at the individuals, communities, policies and programs driving competitive and novel business ideas to scale. And we were particularly honored to pivot the main spotlight to shine on women entrepreneurs and the economic and business case for investing in their success.

Part of that spotlight includes a new partnership with the Women’s Venture Xchange-Africa (WVXA), a pilot launched at the Summit with Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN), the Mara Foundation and U.S. Department of State, WVXA will provide four African women entrepreneurs the opportunity to scale their business through access to strong mentorship and capital networks in Nairobi. The program is designed to help established women-owned businesses expand beyond the borders of their own countries—gaining access to new regional markets, research and insights into best practices.

The entrepreneurs will be selected based on their company’s likelihood of successful regional expansion, the business’s growth stage, the uniqueness of the concept and their professional ambitions for their time in Nairobi. WVXA will be focused on drawing entrepreneurs who have established their businesses locally and are poised for cross-border expansion within East Africa.

We look forward to seeing the results of the first cohort of entrepreneurs and building upon the evidence base from our own work in driving more inclusive entrepreneurship – entrepreneurship that is more inclusive of under-represented groups, more inclusive of under-leveraged places and more inclusive of businesses that shoot for financial AND social impact returns. We are thrilled to see the belief in the power of entrepreneurship continue to thrive in every corner of the world, and look forward to seeing how WVXA unlocks the huge potential in the four women entrepreneurs selected to participate this year.

For more information or to apply to the WVXA program visit the Global Entrepreneurship Week website. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until October 23, 2015. Stay tuned for more updates as the application and selection process develop!

Will David Chen of Equilibrium Capital Pioneer “The Next Stage” of Impact Investing?

The challenge of climate change is not new in the U.S., and recent political dialogue on the subject suggests a renewed urgency to address it.

This week, the focus of our spotlight on social enterprise with Entrepreneur.com, in partnership with ImpactAlpha, is on a West Coast company, Equilibrium Capital. Led by former venture capitalist and tech executive David Chen, this asset management firm is putting big dollars into play to demonstrate that sustainable resource management is essential for long-term, high-return investing.

Equilibrium Capital was formed in 2007 in response to new trends that Chen recognized as keys to reshaping major commodity sectors: rising middle class consumption and a new focus on water use. He started Equilibrium to capitalize on shifting values and new market opportunities born out of increasingly constrained natural resources and increasing demand for those same resources.

Chen founded the firm to be a sustainability-driven asset manager for institutional investors that delivers both a reliable financial return and intentional positive impact on communities and the environment. To do this, Equilibrium is providing innovative investment products, operating a portfolio of real assets, promoting transparency in the portfolio and scaling capital from diverse investors. Its portfolio currently includes opportunities in renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, green real estate and water management.

Equilibrium’s work is not going unnoticed. Despite the focus on sustainability, its investors aren’t just “do-gooders” who are willing to trade profit for social gains. Equilibrium’s investors expect a market rate of return. The firm has even attracted some of the most risk-averse investors in the world—pension fund managers—who, by the way, control trillions of dollars.

So, is impact investing a tool to create the positive environmental outcomes needed to address climate change? Time will tell, but returns so far seem to show that Equilibrium’s real assets are lower-risk than might be expected. To read more about how Equilibrium is creating positive impact and hoping to pioneer the next stage of large-scale, high-return impact investing, visit Entrepreneur.com for the full story.

Sari Miller: An Angel Investor Proving the “Goodness Factor” is Good for Impact and Returns

As an early impact investor, Sari Miller’s strategies, experience and perspectives on angel investments offer others in the market a wealth of insight and guidance on investing with purpose in new markets. For this reason, Miller is the focus of our weekly series on social entrepreneurship with Entrepreneur.com, in partnership with ImpactAlpha.

Sari Miller, CEO of Sarjay, Inc., is ushering through some of the biggest impact investment deals currently in the market. Miller is translating the hands-on style that earned her great success during her previous career in real estate, to her approach as an early stage impact investor. She is working to drive enterprises and funds to scale in the widely untapped social benefit markets and low-income services industries. Her business acumen and commitment to the groups she funds and their social impact have helped pave the way for some early successes. Her most notable successes came from angel investments in Leapfrog Investments and Grassroots Business Fund (both organizations were profiled previously on the Entrepreneur.com Impact Investing Topic Hub).

Miller’s impact investments are not limited to a single geography, socio-economic climate or social issue. They cover a range of countries and encompass a multitude of services and sectors, including employment opportunities and job training, education, civil rights advocacy, agriculture and artisanal business development and micro-insurance. As with any pioneering investments, not all of her experiments have realized the kind of market scale and impact that Miller is seeking. She was a founding angel backer of Nexii, the first ever publicly regulated impact investing stock exchange based in South Africa. Unlike her other projects, this was not able to gain the traction it needed, and was later merged with a Singapore-based, social enterprise transaction platform, Asia IIX.

Despite this setback, Miller continues to make strides in the market. Most recently she helped Gigawatt Global’s management team get a $24 million solar field, containing more than 28,000 solar panels set in the shape of the African continent, up and running in record time. Miller supported this effort not only for the potential financial returns an under-tapped market like alternative energy can yield, but also for what she calls “the goodness factor.” As part of her due diligence, prior to investing any time or dollars, Miller confirms that the companies and founders are passionate about social impact, stating that the goodness factor is critical and without it, founders can stray from their mission.

Gigawatt Global’s solar project is going beyond clean energy benefits. To install the solar panels, Gigawatt Global is leasing land from Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village (ASYV), a residential community in Rwanda for individuals who were orphaned during the Rwandan Genocide. Lease payments from this solar project will support the ASYV school while the local residents are also trained in solar technology. Gigawatt’s focus on sustainable, local impact provides the good factor that has resonated with Miller and other similarly driven investors.

For more on Africa’s solar energy project and the range of social impact investments on which Sari Miller is making big bets, read the full story at Entrepreneur.com.

Changing the Demographics of Investments

Recent developments in international aid, education and business development are creating significantly positive outcomes for disadvantage women in less economically developed countries and regions. During the last few years in particular, large-scale human rights campaigns and commitments to do more, including: The Millennium Development GoalPromote Gender Equality and Empower Women; Girl Up; and the US government’s initiative, “Let Girls Learn” have dramatically helped to bolster attention on this issue and increase investments in opportunities for women.

Root Capital is one such investor that has thrown its cap into this arena in a big way, and is the focus of this week’s Spotlight on Social Enterprise from the Case Foundation and Entrpreneur.com, in partnership with ImpactAlpha. This nonprofit is proving the business case for gender equity by capitalizing on loans to farmers associations and agricultural businesses in Africa and Latin America—that empower and promote women in roles traditionally held only by men.

Root Capital directs its investments according to its “gender scorecard,” which uses eight different metrics to measure a borrower’s gender inclusiveness. This organization is also doubling down on returns, both through improved female representation and empowerment in the farming cooperates where they invest and through improved loan repayment rates and more innovation. This nonprofit impact investor values the potential for sizable financial returns in untapped industries and markets that are designed to empower women.

The loans made by Root Capital in farming co-ops and associations are effectively empowering women to take greater ownership over their work and earned income, and allowing them to take over work traditionally assigned to men. However, social and cultural barriers continue to hold these women back, and therefore Root Capital is increasing investments in education programs. The goal here is to ultimately increase female representation in tangential work, including accounting, agrodealing and field inspecting.

The kind of barriers that are supported by tradition can be very difficult to break down or mitigate. One woman, who is making the case for greater gender parity in small farming is Odalis Noeme Guerrero, featured in this week’s Entrepreneur case study. After convincing her father to break tradition and give her a plot of the family’s least productive land, she earned a degree in agronomics and put it to good use first on her slice of land and then eventually on the entire family farm. Guerrero’s agronomics degree helped her family’s coffee farm increase production by approximately 900 percent.

For more on how Root Capital is changing the demographic of agricultural associations and co-ops to empower more women through nontraditional roles, to the betterment of crop yields and investment prospects, see the full case study on Entrepreneur.com.

When a B Corp Goes Public, Can Social Outcomes Keep Pace with Profits?

Etsy is the online marketplace where independent artisans and consumers come together to buy and sell unique goods, and connect over shared tastes and visual inspiration. This B Corporation promotes both the virtues of individuality and positive social outcomes and is the focus of this week’s spotlight on Social Enterprise from the Case Foundation and Entrepreneur.com, in partnership with ImpactAlpha.

What’s so special about this company? Founded in Brooklyn, NY, in 2005, Etsy is an online network that connects entrpreneurs with customers whom they otherwise would not be able to access. As noted on its website:

“The heart and soul of Etsy is [their] global community: the creative entrepreneurs who use Etsy to sell what they make or curate, the shoppers looking for things they can’t find anywhere else, the manufacturers who partner with Etsy sellers to help them grow and the Etsy employees who maintain and nurture our marketplace.”

Over the last 10 years, Etsy has grown to become a global force with nearly 700 employees and nearly 30 million items currently available to purchase. It has a network of,19.8 million active buyers—representing nearly every country in the world, and 1.4 million active sellers, of which approximately 88 percent are women. All of these figures add up to a company that earned nearly $200 million in revenue in 2014. Although Etsy has yet to become profitable, the company has not stopped from pushing itself to achieve greater growth. In fact, on March 4, 2015, Etsy became the second B Corp to file for an initial public offering (IPO).

Through its IPO, Etsy will be able to raise up to $100 million in investments, creating an opportunity through which they will hopefully establish profitability. Of the more than 1,200 B Corps, they will be only the fourth with publicly traded stock and only the second to file as a current B Corp.

In considering all of the implications of Etsy’s IPO announcement and similar moves from social enterprises, one question has surfaced: “Will these corporate evolutions undermine companies’ social benefit objectives and vice versa, will commitments to better social outcomes undermine current shareholder profits?”

Hopefully companies like Etsy are the beginning of a larger trend that will continue to expand. As consumer interests align with social and environmental concerns, and large corporations are rewarded for committing to improving their impact while turning competitive profits for shareholders, we could see a greater number of large corporations join the B Corp movement. Similarly, it is exciting to see more B Corps like Etsy, Rally Software and Warby Parker experience the kind of growth that allows them to mature and seek greater profits and influence.

In this week’s article on Entrepreneur.com, we explore the potentially conflicting priorities that face impact companies like Etsy. What does it mean for a social enterprise to have the dual pressures of competing to attract investors through profit seeking and maintaining their social commitments? Will they prove that their social good mission doesn’t detract from profit but can actually boost revenues by driving marketing and customer loyalty?

Spotlight on Social Enterprises: Jigar Shah

There is an emerging giant in the energy industry, solar. One key individual who has helped to pave the way for the growing investment in solar energy and other clean-tech industries is Jigar Shah, president and co-founder of Generate Capital. Shah aims to demonstrate the huge monetary potential of investment opportunities and the impact of proven approaches in renewable energy, energy storage and energy efficiency. Shah’s innovative approaches are the focus of this week’s spotlight on social enterprise, from the Case Foundation and Entrepreneur.com, in partnership with ImpactAlpha.

Through his work leading Generate Capital, and previously SunEdison and other solar and clean-tech companies, Shah found that one critical barrier for growth in these industries is the high startup cost. Shah’s no-money-down, pay-as-you-save model triggered a massive upshot in financial support for solar companies, leaving the U.S. with four times the solar capacity. His efforts are proving that markets with positive environmental impact have the potential to generate trillion dollar returns. In fact, last year, solar and wind together accounted for more than half of new U.S. electrical generating capacity.

Read the full story HERE on Shah and how he is changing perspectives on the relationship between huge wealth creation and better climate outcomes.

Spotlight on Social Enterprises: Sevamob

Here’s another exciting new social enterprise to start off your week! The Case Foundation and Entrepreneur.com magazine, in partnership with ImpactAlpha, highlight Sevamob for this week’s Spotlight on Social Enterprises.

Sevamob targets the lack of adequate primary healthcare in poor, rural areas of India by providing low-cost health services to low- and lower-middle income individuals. Services are packaged in bundles that can include primary care, dental checkups, prescription medications and health insurance. Sevamob’s founder and CEO, Shelley Saxena’s tech roots are apparent, given the company’s modern, online appointment scheduling systems and comprehensive patient health data repository, designed to easily connect patients and healthcare providers. With their unique approach, Sevamob is already serving more than 7,000 individuals.

You can learn more about this enterprise that successfully channels the power of technology to bridge to health services gap while focusing on high growth at Entrepreneur.com.

Spotlight on Social Enterprises: KZ Noir

This week the Case Foundation and Entrepreneur.com magazine, in partnership with ImpactAlpha, are spotlighting KZ Noir on the Entrepreneur.com Impact Investing topic hub.

As coffee culture continues to demand high quality, exotic coffee flavors, consumers are also increasingly driven by environmental and social concerns. There is a high demand for coffee that is sustainably grown and fairly sourced. One company in particular, Rwanda-based KZ Noir, has produced positive returns on all fronts: consistent profits in a volatile industry, high quality coffee that is sold across the globe and positive social benefits that go beyond fair pay and environmental sustainability. It may come as a surprise, but if you enjoy fair trade, robust coffee, your favorite morning cup may just come from KZ Noir beans.

Learn the full story on their commitment to social impact and quality here.

Spotlight on Social Enterprises with Entrepreneur.com

The Case Foundation and Entrepreneur.com magazine, in partnership with ImpactAlpha launched a series titled, “Profiles of Impact” in an effort to spotlight the growing number of social enterprises that deliver both financial and social returns. The proliferation of impact investing opportunities has sparked a burgeoning movement with great potential. Every Tuesday we will feature new companies and funds providing profits with a purpose in fresh and innovative ways. These entities are paving the way for a market that is more socially, environmentally and economically sustainable.

This week, Entrepreneur.com features Ecologic, whose mission is to create a more sustainable world through better packaging choices. In the face of staggering statistics, “71% of today’s plastic milk and laundry bottles are sent to landfills where they sit for centuries.” Julie Corbett, founder of Ecologic, is driven by the belief that consumers deserved a better, more ecologically sustainable option. Corbett and her team are expanding Ecologic to help diminish the amount of waste created by the production and disposal of plastic bottles and containers in communities around the world.

Visit Entrepreneur.com to read the full story and check out past posts from the series.