Archive for the ‘Worldwide’ Category

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

Advertisements

Meet Arifa.

She is a twenty-eight year old woman who lives in the slums of the Kadapa District in Andhra Pradesh, India. As with most slum children, Arifa was never educated and cannot read or write. She has an eight year old daughter and currently lives with her mother. Arifa’s husband broke his legs in an accident and his medical bills put the family in severe debt…

Her husband now works in Kuwait but barely earns enough money to cover the cost of the interest on the debts, leaving the family with nothing to live on. Arifa was in dire straits when she arrived for training and work. She had suffered two miscarriages and the death of one child, and was struggling to feed her daughter and herself. Her daughter was sent to the local village school and was not receiving a proper education.
.
Arifa’s life has changed for the better since becoming a One Thread Fair Trade artisan. With the fair wages she earns, she is able to feed her family and improve their living conditions. Her daughter now attends the Aarti School in the city of Kadapa and is becoming a good student. When One Thread Fair Trade asked Arifa how she feels about herself now, she answered that she feels good that she is able to stand on her own feet.
.
Arifa believes in family. Her dream is for her daughter to become an educated, successful woman and grow up to lead better life than what she had. Arifa is a wonderful mother and we are privileged to have her cushions featured on Roozt.com!
.
– Arifa is a featured artisan from one of our vendors, One Thread Fair Trade. To see Arifa’s work and support her check out the OTFT cushions here.

We’re onto something here. We as a community of social entrepreneurs, socially conscious individuals, eco-minded shoppers, people supporting inspiring causes, and individuals determined to change the world for the better. This is not a trend and it’s no longer something that a small percentage of the population is interested in. Philanthropy, eco-friendly behavior, higher standards of ethics, and humanitarian efforts are becoming ingrained into the culture of our society at large. Like technology, each generation is moving forward by leaps and bounds. And like technology we will see efforts increase exponentially. More causes, more funding, more help. If you share these views, the following stats will be breath of fresh air. If not, take note and be inspired.

83% of all consumers want retailers that benefit causes.

– People support companies that support bigger causes. Plain and simple.

85% of US consumers have a more positive image of a company when it
supports a cause they care about.

– People are bombarded daily with branding from hundreds of companies. What’s an easy standard by which to judge the legitimacy of a company? What causes it supports.

80% of all consumers (79% of general pop. 90% of Gen Y) are likely to
switch brands, similar in price and quality, to one that supports a
cause.

– Two products side by side with similar properties. One supports a cause, one is completely for profit. 80% of people choose the former. It’s a no brainer. In the past there weren’t always socially conscious companies as a direct substitute to others. Now there are, and people are choosing them more often. Gen Y is leading the charge meaning that the future is only becoming more savvy shoppers.

75% of all consumers want companies to support humanitarian
and environmental causes

– People have more choices than ever. And with those choices they are beginning to expect companies to do more than make a good product. Like support humanitarian and environmental causes.

31% of Americans say that an economic downturn in among the most
important times for companies to support social and environmental needs

– A business environment focused on using more of a group mentality is spreading. As a country and world we need to advance together. This makes for a stronger economy and better standard of living.

81% of US consumers believe companies should financially
support causes at the same level or higher during an economic downturn.

– The world was turned upside down with the Great Recession. We’re still feeling the effects of the collapses in the financial and Real Estate sectors. The old ways of doing things failed and that mentality has stuck. Consumers want more. And if you think your times are hard, there are people being hit 1,000 times harder. The time for giving back has never been greater than right now.

61% of US consumers are willing to purchase from a new brand (brand
they have never heard of) due to the brand supporting a cause

– With the major shift in ideals that came with the recession came the willingness to branch out and do things differently. This includes brands. Think your business cards are cool? Recycled is cooler. And cheaper in most cases. People are more willing to change their brand loyalty than ever and to companies that have a bigger goal than a product or service.

41% of consumers (53% of millennials (ages 18-24)) have purchased a
product in the past year BECAUSE it was associated with a social or
environmental issue

Some causes are so good that the item you pay for is a bonus. People want inspiration and to give inspiration.

Where does that leave us now? In a place and time where we can literally change the foundations of business and philanthropy. A new perspective is already in place. Now it’s up to us to make it happen.

Join the Roozt team in helping to make a difference. If you are a Nonprofit who could benefit from extra contributions or a vendor with a socially conscious product shoot us an email at info@roozt.com. We want to build and strengthen this community as much as possible.

“In a gentle way, you can shake the world” – Mohandas Gandhi

Cheers,

ND

(*All stats taken from the 2010 Cone Behavioral Study)

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

Check out this awesome video on a solar power plant created by MIT students. A single solar plant made from leftover car parts could power “a small to medium business in a developing country.” With 2 billion going without power daily, projects like these can have a huge impact.

Cheers,

The ROOZT Team

I always enjoy coming across articles about Social Entrepreneurship in other countries. It’s one thing to see it in your city; it’s inspiring and reminds you that there are many others out there that share your passion for the fusion of business and philanthropy. But whenever I see Social Entrepreneurship abroad it touches on a similar but different feeling. It’s similar in its reminder that there are people like us everywhere, but even more that Social Entrepreneurship/ Social Enterprise can literally CHANGE THE WORLD.

The article I read recently in BusinessDay was specifically on the Social Entrepreneurship realm of South Africa. A piece that instantly stood out was, “[in South Africa] there is a lack of confidence in both government and civil society to solve [their] problems… This has led experts to pin their hopes on the emergence of a strong class of social entrepreneurs — businesses that operate for the social good — to do the job”. Wow. Take a second to reread that. The new and growing class of social entrepreneurs is what people are putting their faith in order for South Africa to prosper. Even above Government and the Civil Society.

In many ways it reflects the shift in mentalities that many people have had since the worldwide recession. Governments are trusted less. Huge companies are trusted less. “Too big to fail” has been proven false. What people are putting their continued faith in worldwide are companies and organizations that have a mission of social benefit built into their venture at its core. With this stance the company cannot shift to shady practices because it would lose its business at the same time.

We are at an amazing time in human history and we can’t wait to push forward!

Social Entrepreneurs we salute you and the world is counting on you for a bright future,

-ND for the ROOZT Team