Today, businesses endeavor to give back to the communities they operate in. Even as Corporate Social Responsibility has been lawfully bound into the corporate standard practices, there are some start-ups that are formed solely for the common good. While the causes are varied and aim to address different issues like healthcare, literacy and environment; the goal remains to promote the well-being of the society.
Regardless of what your idea is about a social cause, if it is something in the best interest of the people it will gain traction. There are many companies that are born out of the ideology of helping people get on their feet and live life of dignity and self sustenance. These start-ups run from pillar to post to make that happen and their glory lies in the way they are able to make a difference. Here is the list of five start-ups that making a difference, one step at a time.
Re:Char : Helping farmers grow more food
Founded by Jason Aramburu, re:char has been working feverishly since its inception in 2008 to help farmers get better yields from their crop and supplement their income through biochar production. The farmers in Western Kenya had been battling the increasing costs and expensive fertilizers that eat away more than 50% of their income. They have been looking for effective means to increase the production without bearing the burden of high costs.
Re:char came to aide with an affordable solution to this predicament by bringing in a scalable unit that is capable of generating biochar or charcoal fuel. With their continued efforts and effective collaboration, they have been able to help more than 700 farmers with low cost fuel options.
The delivery of finished kilns to Kenya has been a challenge due to lack of transportation and infrastructure. Re:char has planned an on-site set-up to mitigate the challenges so that they can cater to the Kenyan market more effectively.
Project 7 : Changing lives, everyday
Founded in 2008 by Tyler Merrick, Project 7 works on the novel principle of creating ‘products for good’, that is, to take proceeds from the sales of products that are consumed on a daily basis to help the less fortunate.
A mint and gum brand which brings unique flavor in your life is helping 7 areas of need. Just buying their products can heal the deforestation by planting more trees back into the ecosystem or quench thirst of almost 1 billion people who do not have access to clean drinking water. You can also heal the sick around the world by funding their medication by making small purchases. You can indirectly prevent over 1 million deaths each year due to malaria.
There are 7 areas that are in need for attention which are being dealt with by project 7. It is a collective contribution of the people across the world to bring about significant changes in the lives of people.
Barefoot Power : Affordable energy for all
This is a business that helps light homes of the under-privileged people in developing countries by providing inexpensive energy. The company believes that access to renewable power is a key to development and the first step to alleviate poverty. To meet this objective, the Barefoot Power team not only designs and manufactures but also distributes micro solar lighting and charging units to target communities in developing nations. Their simple step in this direction lets the low income families break away from expensive source of lighting and rely on a much cheaper and cleaner energy alternative.
Rick Cooper, founder and CEO of Barefoot Power has been responsible for creating a vision that is helping communities across Asian and global markets.
Kamata Pakistan : Better job opportunities
Increasing access to Internet and mobile phones has opened up more avenues to connect people to their needs. This accessibility and reach prompted the founding team at Kamata Pakistan to use it for the welfare of unskilled workers. Through their application they provide a way to connect the blue collar job seekers to the right employees.
Large numbers of untrained workers live in the rural areas where employment is hard to come by. The other major problem is most of these jobs are obtained through contacts or word-of-mouth. Kamata Pakistan’s web and mobile app addresses these issues effectively and helps these workers find employment thereby support their livelihood and reduce the rate of poverty in the country.
The information about suitable openings via sms and phone calls is provided to drivers, maids, electricians, plumbers etc. From the employee perspective they get to choose from a large talent pool which is readily available. They also provide an option of screening and background checks on these employees.
Kamat Pakistan is filling up the void created by lack of information and social connectivity. Their enterprise has helped households have better opportunities to sustain and prosper through better employment opportunities
iTrack : Technology for the disabled
All those people who have been suffering from motor disabilities are also cut off from the technology for a simple reason that their hand movement stops. In 2012, a chance meeting with a disabled boy who went about his business with great difficulty gave a set of engineers an idea to bridge the gap between technology and disability.
With this objective in mind, iTrack was born. A mouse that works with the movement of the eyes is a phenomenal idea and is capable of changing the lives of these people by leaps and bounds. With the help of Plan 9 one of the largest tech incubators in Pakistan, these engineers were able to develop a prototype which will be made available some time soon. The collaboration of iTrack with national and international NGOs that work for the physically challenged people will develop the market for this breakthrough product and make technology accessible to everyone alike.
No society can claim to be progressive and developed unless there is inclusive growth across all strata of people. These start-ups are pitching-in and doing their bit to ensure breakthroughs for those with limited means and opportunities. They have made a positive impact and made lives better for many and the numbers are only growing by the day. Concerted efforts of businesses like these will go a long way in changing the face of the world and bring a paradigm shift in the way people live their lives.