Innovation Blog

 Top Social Entrepreneurs Change the World

By Shlomo Maital

 Jeff Sheinbein and Kevin McCracken

Bloomberg Businessweek ran a contest in which several thousand readers voted for which social entrepreneurship idea they most liked.   Here are a few of the top ones chosen, including Social Imprint, #1, which got some 15 per cent of all the votes:

 ●  Social Imprints, a print shop, garnered 15.7 percent of the nearly 3,000 votes readers cast since we published profiles of 25 finalists in June. Co-founded by Jeff Sheinbein and Kevin McCracken, who overcame heroin and alcohol addiction himself, the 3-year-old company employs seven people and had $2 million in revenue last year.

● Dalberg, a New York-based consultant focused on international social and environmental problems, came in second with 15.4 percent of readers’ votes. Founded by veterans of McKinsey in 2001, Dalberg has sales above $15 million and 120 employees in 10 global offices.

● Close behind was Intuary, the maker of an iPad app that helps people who can’t speak communicate, with 15.3 percent of readers’ votes. The 5-employee startup is launched the app, called Verbally, in March and is projecting sales of $200,000 this year.

● Nest Collective, which sells healthy children’s food under the Plum Organics baby food brand and Revolution Foods lunchbox snacks, got 8.5 percent of readers’ votes. The 26-employee company, founded in 2007, had $15 million in revenue last year.

● StayClassy, an online fundraising platform for small nonprofits, received 6.2 percent of readers’ votes. The 6-year-old company had $250,000 in revenue last year and has helped 2,000 nonprofits raise more than $5 million.

     Social entrepreneurship is booming, as innovators act to fill the gap created by growing social distress, on the one hand, and shrinking government resources and energy, on the other. 

    What is YOUR idea for a change-the-world business – note that both the noun and the adjective are crucial.