Vikas is a staff writer for the Sustainable Development news and editorial section on Justmeans. He is an MBA with 20 years of managerial and entrepreneurial experience and global travel. He is the author of "The Power of Money" (Scholars, 2003), a book that presents a revolutionary monetary economic theory on poverty alleviation in the developing world. Vikas is also the official writer...
Five Social Enterprises Win Competition of Social Innovation
The "Powering Economic Opportunity: Create a World that Works" competition co-hosted by The Opportunity Project and eBay Foundation announced its five top winners. It took six months of rigorous evaluation by an expert international panel of judges to assess the projects of nearly 900 social entrepreneurs from 83 countries who participated in the competition. All of them presented innovative solutions aimed at creating new economic opportunities and engaging the untapped potential of disadvantaged populations around the world.
The five winners will each receive a cash prize of $50,000 from eBay Foundation to invest in their social innovation projects. Diana Wells, president of Ashoka Changemakers said, "I am inspired to see the breadth of innovative solutions that are creating economic opportunity for the world's most vulnerable people. We are delighted to have received a record-breaking number of entries, and are honored to support the pattern-changing work of these winning innovators."
One of the winners, "Nuru Energy to Empower: Rural Energy Entrepreneurship in India and East Africa", addresses the need to replace kerosene as a source of lighting for two billion people around the world who have no access to electricity. The model of this social enterprise helps local entrepreneurs to operate their own micro-franchises and earn a profit of more than $3 a day. This helps entrepreneurs to emerge out of poverty at an income that represents three to four times the national average, while at the same time providing critical electricity to the communities at an 85 percent saving.
Other winners include Fundacion Paraguaya, which has created a financially self-sufficient school model to impart economically empowering education for low-income youth in Paraguay. The model provides high-quality, low-cost secondary education to the youth. Grameen Foundation, a mobile micro-franchising social enterprise in Indonesia, offer products and services at low cost to the under-privileged Indonesians is another winner of the competition. Solidarium Fair Trade, which is empowering poor women in Brazil by developing new home and life products, and Twin Cities Rise, which promotes non-profit innovation through pay-for-performance funding, are the remaining two winners of this year's competition.
John Donahoe, President and CEO of eBay Inc. said, "It was an honor to participate as a judge in the competition, and eBay Foundation and eBay are proud to support the winners as they spread the impact of their innovations around the globe. By advancing social innovations such as Nuru Energy and the other competition winners, we can help unlock economic opportunities for people who otherwise would not be able to participate in the global economy."
Photo Credit: k_vohsen