Archive for the ‘Social Entrepreneurs’ 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.

Creativity. Innovation. These are things that Social Entrepreneurs and Social Entrepreneurship hold as some of their highest values. They allow people to start companies and come up with solutions to make an impact on the world for the better. Using these two, Social Enterprise will continue to flourish in the future while the freshest ideas keep spurring even fresher ideas for the next generation of businesses.

Using creativity and innovation, Mexican designer Marco Castro Cosio found a way to add over 35 acres of plant-life in cities throughout America. How? Planting gardens on the roofs of buses. For every 4,500 bus gardens, 35 acres of gardening is achieved.

Seems like a ton of buses right? I mean how many could we possibly have? Well in the school system in the US alone, there are estimated to be over 480,000!! That means that those 480,000 school buses= 3,733 acres of gardens in the school system alone. Think about what impact this could have rolled out to an entire country.

The benefits are obvious:

– Aesthetic Value
– Mitigation of Urban Heat Island Effect
– Acoustical and Thermal Insulation
– Storm Water Reduction
– CO2 absorption
– Habitat Restoration
– Storm Water Management
– Public Education and Recreation
– Reclaiming Forgotten Real Estate

This type of guerrilla gardening could have a major impact on the health of cities across the US and the world. We’re already starting to see it in niche city communities like Fort Greene and Clinton Hill in Brooklyn, New York. But taking this ideology citywide and then nationwide would be incredible. Filling in every possible space with natural gardens would be a welcome change that would make any city feel a little cleaner. Like many of the self sustaining gardens that are popping up for gourmet restaurants in many cities, a whole new industry could emerge with cities providing locally grown produce in a sustainable manner.

Check out the Bus Roots Campaign by Marco Castro Cosio.

What guerrilla gardening techniques do you use or want to see?!?

-ND

Wow what an amazing week! Years of work came to fruition last Tuesday with our launch.We had an incredible amount of support from literally the moment we launched. The first day our site crashed because the server couldn’t handle the high traffic! We can’t thank you guys enough for you support and the encouragement that we are on to something huge. We’re working feverishly to bring you the best, most eco-friendly, and socially conscious products out there. Stay tuned as it’s only getting better 😉

While the launch was definitely the most amazing thing about last week (and maybe ever), a TON of other things have been in the works to move this social entrepreneurship industry forward. Here’s an update on what we’ve been up to and are putting together for the future:

Entrepreneurs Changing the World– This event took place on our launch day at USC and went AWESOME. Our fearless leader and CEO Mr. Brent Freeman gave an amazing speech on his own inspirations to enter into social entrepreneurship as well as giving some advice to the audience on how they can start their own venture! The rest of the panel did incredible as well.

Social Summit 2010: New Orleans- This was yet another speaking engagement that took place on the very same day as our launch! Our Co-Founder Nick Reder spoke sharing his insight on social entrepreneurship as well as how Roozt can help small ventures step it up by getting them more sales, exposure, and branding. Great speech from Nick (and the video is coming soon)!

Inspire U-  Roozt is on the search for the most inspiring company, plain and simple. If you think you know of the most inspiring company (even if it’s yours) you should let us know! Email Christina@roozt.com and the winning company with receive a COMPLETE business package to get off and running as a social entrepreneurship venture. This includes free Incorporation or LLC documents, free website starter kit, free logo design, free Quickbooks, free credit card processing, and free virtual phone lines. Not only that, but the winning company will also be featured as a Roozt Daily Deal, keeping all the profits!

Campus Ambassadors- We love college students. The majority of the Roozt team is either in college or fresh out. That said, we want to give college students the tools to change the world through business! This partner style internship is everything you could want as a college student: hands on, interactive, highly educational and maybe even a chance to be a full time member of the Roozt team! We’re growing rapidly and looking for those with the right mindset to help us take Roozt to the next level from the beginning. If you want in, hit up Christina@roozt.com and let her know you want to become a professional Roozter!

That’s it for now. Big things coming up! If you haven’t signed up for the newsletter do it now to get info on all the upcoming causes and deals!

-The Roozt Team

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

The school year is in full throttle and decorating your apartment has quickly fallen to the bottom of your agenda.  In fact, you no longer even see your roommates during the week.  “We never hang out anymore!” Heard that before.  “I want to have people over, but our apartment is kind of boring and I can’t afford Crate and Barrel, Urban Outfitters, or even Target decor.”  Neither can we.

Fun, planet-friendly solution:  Why not save some money, bond with your friends and roommates, and spruce up your apartment, all in one fell swoop?  Put on a movie this weekend and make some tea-tin candles, jewelry magnets, and a frisbee bird feeder for your porch.  Country Living has 31 chic ideas for “recycled crafts,” and lucky for you they’re all right here at your fingertips (literally)!

Just as a reminder to always remember your four R’s: Roozt, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (in that order of priority).  Enjoy!
Peace,

GG at Roozt

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!