Archive for the ‘What We’re Up To’ 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.

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!

Today I had the distinct pleasure of talking with Ethan Zohn, Survivor Africa Champion, Philanthropist, Motivational Speaker, and most recently, Cancer survivor. Ethan may be one of the most inspirational people I have met in a long time. We connected today to talk about collaboration between Roozt and an inspiring non-profit that he founded called Grassroot Soccer, a youth focused organization that uses the power of soccer to teach HIV / AIDS education to children in Africa. We are in talks of partnering with Grassroots Soccer to sell their T-Shirts on Roozt as well as make them a beneficiary of our customer’s donations. I encourage you all to check out the amazing work they are doing in their video and witness how they have harnessed something seemingly unrelated to a massive global epidemic and used its influence to create positive change in the world.

Ethan Zohn (left) & Kids from Grassroots Soccer

What further inspired me was that just today Ethan announced the Survivor Stand Up To Cancer initiative where they are using one of the worlds most popular TV shows to help raise money for direct cancer research so we can one day soon find a cure for this devastating disease. Ethan tells his story here, and it is a powerful one that you should all read…

Ethan Zohn is shining example of how one person, even when faced with the biggest challenge of his life, can stand up and make a difference in the world. He is a prime example that harnessing the power of business, entertainment, and sports to make a difference in the world is not only a great idea, but an inspiring reality.

I look forward to the opportunity for Roozt, our team members, and our supporters to  be able to collaborate with Ethan, Grassroot Soccer, and the StandUpToCancer initiative. Thank you for your amazing work Ethan!

Brent Freeman, Founder / CEO of Roozt.com

What’s up guys & gals,

Happy Monday! While your brain shifts back into work mode (we know it’s hard with all this awesome summer weather), we thought it would be a good time to check in and say hey, and welcome you once again to the ROOZT community!

So, while we’re running around like crazy getting everything ready for the big launch, we wanted to give you a sneak peak of what’s coming down the line in the next few weeks…

*** iPad Sweepstakes: Because who doesn’t love free stuff? To help spread the word about ROOZT and thank you guys for all your support, we will be giving away one free, brand-spankin’-new iPad! All of you who signed up early are entered once, but if you click the link below to refer your friends, for every 5 people you tell, you’ll get another entry into the sweepstakes. The more you get the word out, the more chances you’ll have to win! If you haven’t signed up yet, well, get on it!

Click below to refer friends!
ROOZT.com Free iPad Sweepstakes!

Your iPad

*** ChessBoxing 4 Charity: We’ve teamed up with The Tiziano Project (an incredible non-profit organization that empowers journalists in war-torn countries. Check them out if you have some time, they’ll blow you away) for the first ever ChessBoxing 4 Charity event. Crazy, right? ChessBoxing is a true test of brains versus brawn: a new sport that makes competitors alternate rounds of boxing with speed chess…it sounds easy, until you have to try strategizing your next chess move after getting punched in the face repeatedly by your opponent. The night will feature Miss Malibu vs. Miss Hollywood (yes, we’re serious) and Andrew “The Fightin’ Philanthropist” McGregor vs. John Rude, with our good buddy Tower (of American Gladiators) serving as MC. You can watch videos of ChessBoxing featured on Carson Daly, The Colbert Report, ESPN, and others here.

The event will be held on September 23rd at Les Deux nightclub in Hollywood, California. Tickets are $15 pre-sale and $20 at the door, with all proceeds going straight to The Tiziano Project. If you’re in the area, please check it out! We promise it’ll be a great evening, and you’ll be doing your part to support an incredibly worthwhile cause. You can learn more about the event and pre-order your tickets here: http://roozt.com/chessboxing

*** Keep In Touch: Hit up our Facebook page and Twitter! We’re constantly updating both with hot news, fresh contests and sweepstakes, blogs, and other stuff to keep you in the loop. Every now and again, we’ll just be giving stuff away to our followers, so don’t miss out! Not to mention, it’s a great way to let us know what you think. Want to see eco-friendly surfboard deals, or clothing from companies that support humanitarian initiatives? Shoot us a message! And who knows, you might even make a few new like-minded friends while you’re there.

We’re launching in August, and have hundreds of cool vendors lining up left and right. For example, just this week Sole Bicycles hopped on board, and will be offering their awesome roadbikes at insane discounts. One of our biggest pledges at ROOZT is to individually tailor your deals to what you want. For example, if you’re a dude, we won’t waste your daily alert on a mani/pedi package like some other deal sites (cough cough). The more you visit our site, the more we’ll have an idea of what you want.

Additionally, Auren Kaplan of The Social Enterprise Exchange recently wrote an amazing article on Roozt.com, that we encourage you to check out in your free time. It paints a great picture of what we’re all about and where we’re going…

Think that’s it for this time around. Don’t forget to keep checking back for the latest updates on featured products, contests, and more of our inspiring partners. All of us at ROOZT are super pumped about everything going on in the next few weeks, and we hope you are too! We’ll talk to you soon and in the meantime we’ll be hard at work getting you great deals from inspiring companies…

Much love,

CG for the ROOZT.com Team

What’s up boys and girls,

I wanted to check in and let you know how life has been around the Roozt office. And life has been NUTS. We have interns going without sleep they’re so excited, CEOs glued to the phone, nationwide partnerships being established with amazing charities, and a ton of vendors and supporters ready to work together! Where are we now specifically? Here’s an overview:

-Finalizing deals with a ton of vendors

-Organizing a charity we’re putting on in the next couple months (more on that as things get finalized. We’re REALLY stoked)

-Putting together several potential amazing partnerships that could make a huge impact on what we’re trying to do

and…

-Organizing the wave of email sign ups for our launch! That means you guys! Thanks for the support!

We love you all and hope you’re as excited about our upcoming launch as we are

Salud,

The Roozt Team

If you haven’t signed up for our deal of the day yet, check it out
Any questions you guys have, feel free to ask in the comments or to our twitter: twitter.com/rooztdeals