Social Entrepreneurship by the Ages
While scanning the news this week for reports of Goodness in Action, we saw a flurry of stories profiling social entrepreneurs and volunteers of surprising ages. With nearly 100 years separating the youngest and oldest, these pioneers prove that doing good knows no age boundary. At BiddingForGood, we love celebrating social entrepreneurship, so in this week’s round-up, we’ll share the stories of these entrepreneurs, starting with the youngest.
With a motto of “doing good and having fun,” Kent Melville gets what social entrepreneurship is all about. The autistic 9-year-old grew his summer lemonade stand into Kent’s Soda with a goal of giving back to other children with autism. As reported in the Huffington Post, Kent has help from his parents in running the business but remains closely involved the operation. He chooses the soda flavors himself, which include a robust offering of root beer, orange, lemonade, raspberry limeade, grape, strawberry and cream soda. Kent is also developing marketing plans, which include a giant root beer volcano - he is clearly living up to his business motto.
At the fourth annual Kairos Summit, 350 student entrepreneurs pitched business ideas to 150 executives and political leaders at the New York Stock Exchange. MSBNC reported that a number of these students emphasized that their goal as entrepreneurs was not just to make money, but to make an impact as well. The report highlighted a student right in our own backyard – a senior at Northeastern University – who founded Jola Venture to market solar food dehydrators in Africa, allowing farmers to better preserve and market their crops.
This week, The Today Show profiled boomer Jenny Bowen who started Half the Sky Foundation, a non-profit intent on transforming the way China cares for its orphaned children. With no background in business or Chinese language skills, this former screenwriter and filmmaker drew from her personal experience of adopting a baby girl from China and felt compelled to make a difference. Today, Half The Sky has 1,800 staff members in 51 Chinese cities, training every child welfare worker in China and building the official government website for the child welfare system.
NBC Miami this week profiled local hospital volunteer Dorrie Aber Noyek on her 105th birthday. Noyek has been volunteering at the hospital for 38 years and shows no signs of slowing down. She says, “Volunteering has been important to me as long as I can remember. I feel I want to give back. I think I’m very fortunate, very lucky, very blessed.” Perhaps doing good holds the key to longevity.