Archive for the ‘Partners’ Category


What I need you to do is to close your eyes and think back to when you were 15 years old and a sophomore in high school. Go ahead, think of something you did that year that you were proud of, excited about, or thought was going to affect your life forever. (Seriously, go ahead,  I’ll wait…)

Pretty amazing what emotions were just evoked, huh? Whether it be a sporting event, play you were in, dance you went to, or party you attended, chances are it’s a fond memory that you have kept with you for years. But while this memory may have seemed significant then, truth for most of us (including myself) is that this memory probably didn’t involve starting a business that could be a game changing innovation.

Cue Hayley Hoverter, the 15 year old sophomore at Downtown Magnet High School in Los Angeles. Hayley is currently in the process of creating her fond memory from sophomore year, except her memory involves developing an innovative for-profit-for-difference business that could eliminate paper sugar packets in coffee shops all across Los Angeles and beyond. With an average coffee shop in LA tearing through 1,000 or more paper sugar packets every day, Hayley is on to something.

But where did this concept stem from? That’s where we come in. Roozt set out in the Fall of 2010 to teach a for-profit social entrepreneurship class to a group of high school students in a low income area of Los Angeles, who will soon become the business leaders of tomorrow. The thought process was that if we could help instill the values of for-profit-for-difference business acumen into these students, as they go on to college and the workforce, they will be progressive leaders helping use business as a vehicle to create positive change in today’s world.

To implement this idea, I approached the Network For Teaching Entrepreneurship chapter in Greater Los Angeles and proposed a pilot program where we would modify their existing curriculum to teach social entrepreneurship. The idea was to have students identify problems in their communities they were passionate about and then create for-profit business models around helping solve those same problems. No easy task, but if done right, could be a game changer.

Roozt / NFTE Social Entrepreneurship Class - Los Angeles 2010 (Center Back Row: Roozt Founders Brent Freeman & Norma LaRosa, Left Front: NFTE Teacher Michael Jaquias)

So September of 2010, I found myself in a class of 35 low-income students, in a highly under-funded LAUSD school district with zero prior teaching experience. My counterpart was NFTE teacher Michael Jaquias and for the next year, we taught the fundamentals of business, entrepreneurship, and giving back– all through the lens of a social entrepreneur.

Students were challenged to create cause marketing campaigns with “pop-up” retail stores in their high school where they were given $20, taken to a local wholesale market, told to negotiate and create retail products to sell at lunch. The kicker was that every “pop-up store” had to have a cause attached to it. Through this exercise, students learned the value of balancing good business practices with solid marketing and communication practices so their customers could understand “why” they should buy their products, not just the “what” they were buying.

But this class wasn’t just an ordinary class where students said “I don’t know when I’ll ever get to use this in real life.” And let’s be honest, we all said that at some point in High School. So this was my opportunity to make this class real for the students and show them that through social entrepreneurship they can control their own destiny, future, and happiness. To make that happen, Roozt teamed up with MyCorporation.com, an online platform that helps entrepreneurs with their legal needs, to offer a real-life business launch kit that the winner of the class room social venture business plan competition could use to actuallylaunch their company. This included everything from a free entity incorporation, website, logo, accounting software, business guide books, and much more. This carrot at the end of the stick made the class have tangible real world outcomes that our students truly resonated with.

Roozt / NFTE Students watching peer Grand Prize Winner, Hayley Hoverter (center) test her prototypes before presenting

And that resonation manifested into results with each of our students creating and presenting a for-profit-for-difference business plan at the end of the semester, with Hayley Hoverter taking the Grand Prize at their classroom competition hosted at USC, with judges like Bobby Bailey – Founder of Invisible Children, Adlai Wertman – Director of the USC Society Business Lab, & Larry Kopald – 1% For The Planet Board Member.

Now, what does Hayley’s business do? SweetSerendipiTea wraps single servings of sugar in soluble rice paper that is completely tasteless and odorless, eliminating the “paper sugar packets of the past”. Dispensed from a cylindrical bamboo container with tongs that sits on the coffee shop counter, these sugar packs are not only innovative and 100% sanitary, they are totally eco-friendly as Hayley has partnered with the American Forests so for every box purchased they will plant a tree. Beyond that, Hayley already has customers in hand with 10 of her local coffee shop managers wanting to buy from her. Drop it in, stir, and enjoy. Brilliant.

As a finalist is the NFTE Greater Los Angeles overall competition Hayley competes against two other students for a chance to go to New York to the National NFTE Competition and win $10,000.

Amidst her success, Hayley maintains her cool, nonchalant attitude simply saying “All that paper waste heading into the landfill for something so trivial as putting sugar into your coffee just seemed so old-fashioned.” Indeed it is Hayley, indeed it is.

-Brent Freeman, Founder / CEO of Roozt.com

Read more about the Roozt / NFTE Social Entrepreneurship Pilot Program here on Forbes.com

Or Watch the Forbes Video here:
http://www.forbes.com/video/embed/embed.html?show=44&format=frame&height=342&width=480&video=fvn/names/roozt-social-entrepreneurship-is-the-future&mode=render

Los Angeles, California (January 31, 2011) – Roozt, Inc. and SAGE Global have developed a strategic partnership to promote and encourage teen social entrepreneurship worldwide, the two organizations announced last week.

SAGE – Students for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship – is a global community of teenage entrepreneurs sharing a common purpose: to make the world a better place.

Roozt.com is a for-profit company that inspires and empowers Social Entrepreneurs to be successful through several initiatives, one being its e-commerce platform that provides great deals on products from companies that are Humanitarian, Eco-Friendly, Ethical, and Community Conscious.

Through this partnership, SAGE will become a nonprofit recipient of the 1% of all sales made on Roozt.com that are donated to the nonprofit of the buyer’s choice. These proceeds will directly fund the global education and mentoring of social entrepreneurship to the youth involved in SAGE. Additionally, Roozt, Inc. will become a sponsor of the annual SAGE competition.

The annual SAGE competition allows aspiring teenage entrepreneurs to showcase their efforts on a national and world stage, and make their dreams a reality. SAGE is sponsored by such organizations as Macy’s Foundation, Target Corporation, Deloitte, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, Kobe Bryant Family, Umpqua Bank and Wells Fargo Bank.

In addition to Roozt.com’s socially responsible e-commerce platform, the company is actively involved in the Network For Teaching Entrepreneurs (“NFTE”), with Roozt Co-founder/CEO Brent Freeman teaching a weekly 10th grade social entrepreneurship class to at-risk youth in Downtown Los Angeles.

SAGE will also become active in Roozt, Inc.’s NFTE social entrepreneurship classroom at Downtown Magnet High School in Los Angeles, assisting the students with their business plan submissions to the SAGE competitions and further laying the groundwork for their future success.

Curt DeBerg, SAGE Executive Director and Founder, said, “The partnership with Roozt is exciting for us. Not only will more teens participate in SAGE, but we envision a time when our successful teen entrepreneurs will sell their merchandise on the Roozt.com website.”

Through real-world application in helping their communities, students are taught what it means to be a social entrepreneur and guided through the process of starting their own company, with a means of “giving back” built directly into their business models.

At the end of the year-long program, students will present their business plans to a panel of industry executives and veterans, before launching their companies in earnest. The winner of the business plan competition will receive full incorporation from myCorporation.com, and will be featured as a socially responsible company with its product for purchase on Roozt.com.

Roozt, Inc. and SAGE Global are excited to announce the details of their recent strategic partnership, expressing their shared mission to further promote social entrepreneurship among youth around the world.

Recently the Roozt team was having a casual conversation that touched on the realm of natural/mineral cosmetics vs regular cosmetics. We’ve been working with a company called Alima Pure whose deal we just posted and were discussing what all the fuss about natural makeup was really all about. When told what goes into the average cosmetic product, I was in total disbelief. Between cow placenta, mercury and even pthalates (which causes everything from birth deformities in pregnant women to hormone imbalances) I couldn’t believe it. So how do we settle bets in 2010? Do some internet research. Here’s a compiled list of commonly found cosmetic ingredients, what health effects they can have on the users, and some other important things to know about your makeup:

Pthalates- These are generally referred to as “endocrine disruptors”. They have an estrogen increase effect (unnaturally) which upsets your body’s hormone balance. This can result in birth defects in men ranging from undescended testicles to a permanent testosterone deficiency. In women it can cause breast cancer, cervical cancer, early and more rapid pubescence, and even infertility. It has been closely linked to the rising childhood obesity epidemic and is something that should be avoided at all costs. Pthalates and other “endocrine disruptors” are estimated to be in 75-90% of products!

Nanosilvers- This is something I had never even heard of. Nanosilvers kill multiple strains of healthy and incredibly important bacteria. They’ve been linked to the growth of stronger, more resistant illnesses. Other than aiding viruses and unhealthy bacteria, the nanosilvers kill the healthy bacteria in your body causing problems with your digestion.

Almost No Regulation- The President’s Cancer Panel has been quoted saying that only about 11% of ingredients in the industry have been tested thoroughly. Incredibly unsettling considering the potential risks previously mentioned. What new risks will be discovered in a year? 5 years? 10 years?

Known Carcinogenic Ingredients- One chemical in particular, 1,4 Dioxane, is in 22% of personal care products (many even in children’s products) and has been directly linked to cancer

Cow Placenta- I know right? Terrible. It’s not just an ingredient that sounds disgusting, it’s terrible for you. The hormones in the placentas used are enough to show breast growth in toddlers… Girls are developing earlier but I think that’s a little too early

Mercury- Aw the liquid metal. While it looks cool, its effects are very uncool. Even in small amounts, mercury can cause brain damage. So why is it in cosmetics? As a preservative…

And on. And on.

So what should you take out of this? RESEARCH YOUR PRODUCTS! The side effects can be deadly. It’s a ton of work and it’s definitely going to give you a headache, but a research headache is better than one from brain damage.

Issues like this are why we hand pick specific vendors to be sold on Roozt. We do the choosing for you specifically because of our own experiences and research surrounding these products. If you’re looking for mineral makeup, look into a Roozt approved company called Alima Pure. They’re an all natural mineral makeup company that has an amazing mission. We’re featuring them as our deal through the weekend so give them a look!

ND

First you gotta ask yourself, is my startup ready to be funded? REALLY ready. How’s your elevator pitch? Are all your docs in order? If a group of investors called TODAY and were gung ho about what you’re doing but just needed to see everything from your press kit to your executive summary, would you be able to deliver? If you answered no to any of the above, now is the perfect time to organize the troops so that when the time comes you’ll be ready to make things happen!

We came across an organization a while ago that was helping social entrepreneurs and nonprofits achieve this goal and have been following them ever since. Academies for Social Entrepreneurship is an organization that takes great ideas and early stage orgs and takes them to the next level. It’s easy to lose sight of the big picture in the midst of the daily grind of a new startup. ASE steps in and gives these small operations the guidance they need to get funded, get organized, and reach their full potential to make a huge impact. What an inspiring way to use ASE’s consulting skills!

If you’re a small nonprofit or social entrepreneurship startup you absolutely need to keep them on your radar. The information and experience their team possesses is incredible and with the constant events sponsored by Academies for Social Entrepreneurship it would be silly to not take them up on the free knowledge.

Some upcoming events to check out:

Social Enterprise Venture Competition Finals

September 22 @ USC (that’s this Wednesday!)

10 nonprofits are going toe to toe in a venture competition showing their business plans and innovative ideas in front of a panel of experienced investors. This is the FINAL round in which a winner will be selected and the best ideas will be put against each other. This is an incredible opportunity for those who have business plans, early startups or ideas that need a little fine tuning. See how the professional investors think and meet some of the people behind the next generation of inspiring nonprofits and startups. Check out the event here and you might just see some of the Roozt team there! The finals for this competition have been anticipated and talked about by everyone from Tech Coast Angels to many entrepreneurship programs in universities nationwide!

Social Innovation Fast Pitch RooztSocial Innovation Fast Pitch

Registration: Open Now
Event: October 21 @ USC

My building has an elevator that takes residents from their apartments to the parking garage. In that elevator alone I have found clients, designers, developers, and customers just by being social with people while we get from point A to point B. While the term “Elevator Pitch” doesn’t have to literally include an elevator ride, the skill of being able to condense the months or years of work you’ve put into your company into a 1-2 minute pitch is essential.

With the world as fast paced as it is today (and only speeding up), people don’t have time for a long explanation of what your company does. With a hard end time (aka an elevator ride or a panel with a stop watch), you’re forced to pick out the most essential and important points of what you do. This is exactly what the Social Innovation Fast Pitch helps you achieve asap. The events culminate into a final presentation with the winner taking home $20,ooo for the nonprofit or social venture they’re involved with. Check out the event here and definitely go to fine tune your elevator pitch!

Here’s some snipits from the 2009 Fast Pitch:

Check out both and get ready for the funding!

Cheers

ND

HUGE news coming today from the Roozt Team!

In the social entrepreneurship realm there’s an event we’ve been waiting for for a while now: the “Entrepreneurs Changing the World” event hosted by StartingBloc LA. This event being held at USC on September 28 is making BIG waves in our industry and the fact that it’s being put together by the folks at StartingBloc guarantees it will be a must-attend event for the LA crowd. We were already excited for this event but recent news made the Roozt Team twice as excited…. Our CEO Brent Freeman just confirmed a speaking and panel position!! The already amazing panel will now be getting the expertise of our Chief Roozter.

Here’s a quick intro to the speakers of “Entrepreneurs Changing the World”:

Adlai Wertman

Founding Director of USC Society and Business Lab

-USC has some of the top Business and Entrepreneurship programs in the nation. Adlai is a great speaker.

Jonathan Greenblatt

Founder of Ethos Water and Our Good Works, UCLA Lecturer

-The first thing you see on the Ethos site is “Our mission helping children get clean water”. This is achieved through a $0.05 donation per water purchased. Ethos was acquired by Starbucks in 2005 who has donated over $10 million to the mission of getting children clean water. We’re super excited to hear from Jonathan Greenblatt! Check out Ethos Water here

Elizabeth Amini

Founder & CEO of Anti-Aging Games and Brighter World Consulting

-Anti-Aging Games really is an amazing program. The site is a system of games that exercise the mind in a way that keeps it at peak performance. With a list of contributors ranging from the Atari founder to Harvard PHD’s to Alzheimer’s and Dementia specialists, the Anti-Aging Games  system is more than capable. Check out the Anti-Aging Games system here and get your brain in shape!

Brent Freeman

Founder and CEO of Roozt.com, Executive Board Member of Trojan CEO Network

-Last but not least the fearless leader of Roozt! The team was already planning to attend the event but with Brent as a speaker we’re twice as excited! Working with hundreds of vendors, Roozt is not only at the forefront of the industry, but also bringing smaller companies into the public spotlight to join the movement. Roozt’s goal is to make entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship one in the same: that the business climate could make socially responsible behavior a standard and not an afterthought. Through the boosting of our vendor’s sales and exposure, we are giving the world a chance to find the responsible products they can’t find anywhere else. Brent has been talking about how proud of his Alma Mater he is for stepping out and hosting an event like “Entrepreneurs Changing the World”. USC has been respected in the business community for a long time but having them be at the forefront social entrepreneurship by hosting events is awesome!

Get more info on the event here and don’t forget to say hi to the Roozt team while you’re there!

Entrepreneurs Changing the World is coming up on September 28 so make sure to register here early!