2013 Innovation Award Winners
As the world's leading peer-to-peer network of values-driven entrepreneurs and investors, SVN is proud to support the next generation of socially responsible business leaders. This year's winners represent the very best of that group -- people of all ages and backgrounds, working everywhere from Berkeley to Rwanda. What unites them? The belief that business has the ability -- and the obligation -- to be a force for good in the world.
Founder and Chief Instigating Officer, Sustainable Health Enterprises (SHE)
SHE is a social venture that invests in people and ideas that are typically overlooked (and often taboo) as vehicles of socio-economic change. Their first initiative, SHE28, addresses girls' and women's lack of access to affordable menstrual pads resulting in significant costs to their reproductive health, educational achievements, work productivity, and dignity. SHE is stemming these costs by developing a franchise model to manufacture and distribute affordable, eco-friendly menstrual pads for girls and women by sourcing local, inexpensive raw materials (e.g., banana fibers) and leveraging existing networks. Coupling these new businesses with public health and hygiene education and advocacy will have a significant social and economic impact on these communities.
Liz and Ben Bohannon
Co-Founders, Sseko Designs
Sseko Designs is an ethical fashion brand that uses fashion to educate and empower women. Sseko hires high potential young women in Uganda to make sandals to enable them to earn money through dignified employment that will go directly towards their college educations and ensure they will continue pursuing their dreams. By working for Sseko during their gap year, these talented young women from impoverished backgrounds gain access to a comprehensive social impact program tailored to their needs and will earn enough income to finance their educations. These women will not make sandals forever. They will go on to be doctors, lawyers, politicians, writers and teachers that will bring change and unification to their country and our world. In addition to our work in Uganda, we design and source ethically made products from around Africa that create jobs, empower artisans and help end the cycle of poverty. Every Sseko has a story.
Kavita M. Shukla and Swaroop Samant
While the world's farmers harvest enough to feed the planet, 25% of our food supply is lost to spoilage. Fenugreen is taking on this massive global challenge with a simple innovation: FreshPaper. Low-cost, compostable, and made with organic spices, FreshPaper keeps produce fresh 2-4 times longer. A grassroots movement has taken this simple idea from a local farmer's market to food banks, families and farmers across the globe. Fenugreen aims to revolutionize the food economy from farm to fork, and transform the lives of the 1.6 billion who lack access to refrigeration with its mission of "Fresh for All."
Tim Jahnigen and Lisa Tarver
Co-Founders, One World Futbol Project
One World Futbol inventor Tim Jahnigen was inspired to create a nearly indestructible ball after watching news footage of kids in Darfur playing a soccer game using a ball of trash tied up with twine. With a concept and material in mind, Tim set out to design a ball that played like a real soccer ball, but would never need a pump and never go flat—even when punctured multiple times. One World Futbol Project’s mission is to bring the healing power of play to youth worldwide by making, selling and distributing nearly indestructible balls that survive the harshest environments. Collaborating with sponsors, organizations and individuals, One World Futbol Project delivers balls to disadvantaged communities where play and sport are used to foster social change.
Michael Murphy and Alan Ricks
Co-Founders, MASS Design Group
MASS Design Group is a nonprofit architecture firm committed to building better buildings and enabling the people who build them. Their first project, the Butaro Hospital (Rwanda, 2011), employed architectural solutions to mitigate the transmission of airborne disease and spurred local markets by hiring and training over 4,000 community members. Today, the team works across Rwanda, Uganda, Liberia, Haiti and the US, conducting immersive research in communities not only to build context-appropriate, safer, and healthier facilities, but also to leverage local material markets, lead training workshops, spur craft development and foster economic empowerment. MASS believes that this inclusive process is the key to healthier and more resilient communities, and so invests in people to drive positive change.