4 Successful Social Entrepreneurs Around The World

By Sami Sum

Social entrepreneur, a person who pursues an innovative idea with the potential to solve a community problem. Here are four social entrepreneurs strive to make the world a better place:

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Kenton Lee – The Shoe That Grows  

Founded: 2009

Location: Nampa, ID

Industry: Ethical Footwear

“Practical compassion, the small things that make a big difference” - Kenton Lee.  

Kenton was given the Making a World of Difference and Patents of Humanity award.

Kenton Lee has been travelling to developing countries to see the issues happening there. Over 1.5 billion people suffer from soil transmitted diseases worldwide and more than 300 million kids do not have shoes. In Kenton’s visit to Kenya, he saw kids were wearing shoes that does not fit at all, then he came up with the idea to invent a shoe that can adjust and expand as the size of the feet grow. The Shoe That Grows was founded in 2009, more than 18 million pairs of shoes has been distributed to kids in need since then. With his invention, kids can always have a pair of shoes that fit, they never should worry about rocky grounds and dirty muds.

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Gavin Armstrong – Lucky Iron Fish

Founded: 2012

Location: Guelph, Ontario and Cambodia

Industry: Healthcare

“These challenges that seem very daunting can have solutions.” - Gavin Armstrong.

Gavin Armstrong is an awardee of the 2017 Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award and Social Innovation Leadership Award, honouring the positive change they brought to the world.

Lucky Iron Fish, a clinical proven simple solution for a global problem, iron deficiency. The Lucky Iron Fish is a simple tool can be used by anyone at home, wash and boil the fish for 10 minutes and it can release up to 90% of a person’s daily required iron intake. The company works with partners around the globe to alleviate iron deficiency, around 70 thousand people has been impacted by this product. One fish will be given to a family in need when one is purchased. The Buy-One-Give-One program allows people with iron deficiency to get help easily without having the risk of side effects from medication.

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Tammy Tibbetts – She’s the First (STF)

Founded: 2009

Location: New York, US

Industry: Education

“That is their one ticket out of poverty to a better life, so I was willing to take the risk knowing that there would be a fallback for me, whatever, I did. There was a greater reason to take this chance.” - Tammy Tibbetts

Tammy is the founder of She’s the First, also shortlisted in Marie Claire's 20 Women Changing the World, in Forbes' 30 Under 30, TIME's 30 Under 30 World-Changers, and in Fast Company's Most Creative People in Business.

She’s the First provides scholarships to girls in low-income countries, support girls to be the first in their families to graduate from high school, aiming to raise student leaders and scholars to help their family, even their community to stay out of poverty. Since 2010, STF has impacted 1,100 STf Scholars in 11 countries and 200 Campus Chapters in 10 countries.

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Cynthia Koenig – Wello

Founded: 2009

Location: APAC

Industry: Healthcare

“The magic will be in making the right product at the right price and distributing it as widely as possible." – Cynthia Koenig

Cynthia is the founder of Wello Water, she has received Lean Impact’s 2014 Lean for Social Good Award. She was also an Unreasonable Fellow in 2011 and an Indian Institute of Management Water Fellow in 2015. 

Wello Water designed a waterwheel that is simple and effective for people to access to safe water. In developing countries, lacking clean water is a huge problem. People would walk miles to get water and carry tonnes of them to home. Bottles are heavy and difficult to carry. The waterwheel largely reduced time spent on collection halved and improved health condition by reducing headloading. Wello Water makes clean water more accessible.

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Our Accelerator Program

SOW Asia’s accelerator program aims to enable and empower social business to grow and scale up. Tailored workshops, one-to-one business consultancy sessions, networking events are available in our accelerator program. Social entrepreneurs often have great ideas but lack support in building their business capabilities, thus attracting external funding. SOW Asia’s accelerator program is designed to help businesses clarify their social impact, improve their business models and refine their pitches for investment. Make sure you keep your eyes peeled for further information about SOW Asia’s next cohorts for the chance to kick start your social start-up!