StartSomeGood

Tips and inspiration for changemakers from the social impact crowdfunding website, StartSomeGood


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This Week in Social Entrepreneurship: More Things to Look Forward to in 2017!

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Be with like-minded individuals in the different festivals you can join this year!

We hope you are all settling well into 2017. We are back this week with events and opportunities to add to your calendar & articles and news clips on social entrepreneurship around the globe. Enjoy!

Opportunities and Events

The Global Good Fund Announces 5th Annual Fellowship for Social Entrepreneurs

Now on its fifth year, learn more about The Global Good Fund’s annual fellowship for social entrepreneurs in partnership with Johnson & Johnson who will sponsor three fellows who have innovation ideas when it comes to healthcare challenges.

Startup Fest in Montreal – July 12-15, 2017

Join the Startup Festival in Montreal this July and be amongst global entrepenreneurs, founders, investors, and mentors. Startupfest is for everyone whether you are a startup or an investor. Register now as early bird tickets are up for grabs until 18 February!

SXSW in Austin, Texas – March 10-19, 2017

If you’re in Austin, Texas this March, drop by The South by Southwest Conference featuring professionals and big names in the creative industry. Visit their website for more details.

Radical Self Care Project 

Starting February 1, take part of a 28-day program that focuses on authentic and intentional self care, which tends to get buried under all the responsibilities we need to attend to. Check this out as it may be for you!

 

News, Reports, Insights

MSU launches speaker series January 19 featuring social entrepreneurs

Montana State University is kicking off a four-part social entrepreneurship speaker series. Speakers will impart knowledge on topics such as environmentally sustainable products, food security, autism and music education, and more. Visit their site for more details.

Millenials (and more) turn to business to make social change

Read this article from the University of Southern California News about how millenials are now more and more looking into businesses to make social change. In 2008, USC founded the first social enterprise program housed in an American business school known as Brittingham Social Enterprise Lab. Learn more about it through the link above.

JDC’s Social Hackathon aims to help vulnerable Israelis

In Israel, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Community hosted a social impact hackathon in partnership with large tech players like Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Microsoft. With over 100 participants in 30 mentors, the event asked the programmers to develop programs and apps to address challenges in Israel with regards to people of old age or with disabilities. 21 ideas were chosen to be further developed and 3 of these received top awards.

 

Inspiration

Relevance is vital for social entrepreneurship

The Hindu Business Line talks about the importance of relevance in the realm of social entreprenership and how the first step is to “understand the people at whom the venture or product is aimed”.

The profit in social impact: Business models that balance social relevance and bottom lines

There is a current rise in investments in enterprises whose business models give equal emphasis to profitability and social relevance. This is an interesting read especially for social entrepreneurs who strive for social impact.

The 17 Rules These Entrepreneurs Say You Should Break in 2017

Meet 17 entrepreneurs who share tips and secrets on what to give up this 2017. Learn from their experiences to be more productive, present, and healthy in growing your businesses and ideas this year.

 

Let us know if you have links you would like to share. Email us at hello@startsomegood.com with “TWISE” in the subject line. Looking forward to hearing from you!


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This Week in Social Entrepreneurship: 2017 is the Year

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Happy New Year from StartSomeGood!

Happy new year, everyone! We trust you all had wonderful celebrations filled with food, fireworks, and tons of laughter.

To kick off this year, we collected a couple of links relevant in our social entrepreneurship world that could be of interest to you. Scroll down and enjoy!

 

Opportunities and Events

2017: A Year for Social Entrepreneurs

StartSomeGood co-founder Tom Dawkins has a new year’s message especially for you. Read and find out what opportunities you have with us here at StartSomeGood.

Social Entrepreneurship Pitchfest at Pausefest 2017

Do you have a social enterprise idea that you would like to see come true? Get the chance to pitch it at Social Entrepreneurship Pitchfest at Pausefest 2017 in Melbourne, Australia! There will be a pool of experts in the realm of social enterprise, start-up and technology to share ideas and rub elbows with. Applications are open until 5pm, Monday 16 January 2017.

Social Business Consultant Fellow with Alterna Center for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship 

Grab this internship opportunity at Quetzaltenango, Guatemala that offers a unique chance for a hands-on experience at supporting local entrepreneurs who have a shortage in access to high-quality business services. You can apply until 7 February 2017.

 

News, Reports, Insights

The Gates effect: Social Entrepreneurship Reframes Charity

Read about how social entrepreneurship is reframing charity in South Africa and what they call “The Gates effect”.

Putting Community First in Social Innovation Education

Here is a good read on how educators can teach students to become collaborative community partners. This article is part of a series from Stanford Social Innovation Review regarding the future of social impact education.

Entrepreneur Designs New Electric Wheelchair and Car for Quadriplegics

Talk about innovation for a cause! Read all about how an entrepreneur designed this wonderful tool for quadriplegics.

 

Inspiration

Meet The Social Entrepreneurs Giving Back Around the Globe

In this life of social entrepreneurship, it is always a great encouragement to know that you are not alone. Read this article to meet other social entrepreneurs making an impact in other parts of the world.

7 Social Entrepreneurs on How They Finally Got Their Big Break

Some entrepreneurs talk about their success stories. Read and be inspired. Whether you have gotten your big break or not, know that it is never too late for a breakthrough.

Day in the life: Social entrepreneur and philanthropist connects volunteers globally

Stuart Rees Jones, social entrepreneur and philanthropist, is the founder and chief executive of Camps International, which is known as a for-profit social enterprise providing experiential learning experiences for students worldwide. Read this article on how he goes about his day. Take mental notes, too. You could learn a thing or two.

 

Email us at hello@startsomegood.com for suggestions of links to include in this series. Include “TWISE” in the subject line.

 


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This week in Social Entrepreneurship: Upcoming Summits, Available Podcasts, and More!

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Want to join summits for social entrepreneurship? We listed down some for you.

With just a little over two weeks remaining in 2016, we are back with events, reports, and articles in the world of social entrepreneurship to keep on your radar starting this week.

 

Opportunities and Events

The Moroccan Social Entrepreneurship Summit – Dec 17, Morocco 

Register for free at the Moroccan Social Entrepreneurship Summit, brought to you by the Moroccan CISE and JCI Rabat. It will be a day full of speakers, presentations, and awards to review and recognise achievements in the social innovation sphere within the community. Be there on December 17, 8:30 AM – 8:00 PM (WET, UTC+00:00).

Starting a Social Enterprise – Jan 25 2017, Christchurch NZ  

If you find yourself in Christchurch, New Zealand on January 25 and would want to learn more about starting a social enterprise, Akina Foundation has just the workshop for you. You will learn about starting with a purpose, the social enterprise business model, testing ideas with customers, and the next steps to consider as you launch. Tickets range from $10 – $20.

Social Enterprise World Forum 2017 – Sept 27-29, 2017, Christchurch NZ

This coming year, the Social Enterprise World Forum, where an international community of policy makers, social entrepreneurs, community leaders, investors, academics, and more come together, will be hosted in Christchurch, New Zealand. Join the 3-day forum from September 27-29, 2017. Book your tickets now and receive the early bird discount until April 17.

 

News, Reports, and Insights

Social Entrepreneurship by Huffington Post 

Huffington Post has a social entrepreneurship section, which they provide in partnership with Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship. In this section, you will find quick links to blog posts, news items, and other interesting data. It serves as a quick dashboard to all things social entrepreneurship.

Modular sidewalk paving system harvest solar & kinetic energy, and is made from plastic 

PLATIO, a Hungarian startup, has found a way to convert energy from footsteps into clean electricity. They are harvesting solar energy from their roads and sidewalks. It is unconventional and innovative – the paving platform is even made of recycled plastic!

Racial Justice at Work: Beyond Black Lives Matter 

As part of insights in Corporate Social Responsibility, this article talks about race, social inequality, implicit bias, and how to talk about and address these issues in the workplace. Read for practical tips on what to do within your CSR management teams.

 

Inspiration

Inspiring Social Entrepreneurs: Podcasts 

Visit and subscribe to Inspiring Social Entrepreneurs to access a compilation of podcasts from various entrepreneurs and thought leaders about their experiences, knowledge, and ideas relevant to the industry. Currently, they are on Episode 66 and will post new updates weekly.

7 tips for succeeding as a social entrepreneur 

This article talks about finding your cause, “soul-mates”, storytelling, launching products and services, leveraging passion, and so much more. Be sure to check it out!

The 7 Human Rights We Can Do Without 

As we celebrated Human Rights Day last December 10, Roger Hamilton, New York Times best-selling author and futurist & social entrepreneur, wrote about 7 human rights we can (and maybe should) live without.

 

If you have anything you would like to add to our next entries in this column, hit us up at hello@startsomegood.com. Include “TWISE” in the subject line. We would love to hear from you!


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This week in Social Entrepreneurship: November 25 2016

Crowdfunding campaign of the week: Bikes for Good in Adelaide, Australia

Crowdfunding campaign of the week: Bikes for Good in Adelaide, Australia

The amount of news and information and stories that get published today is pretty overwhelming, even in a niche (albeit one becoming increasingly mainstream) like social entrepreneurship. We try to keep our fingers on the pulse but it’s harder and harder to keep up! But as long as we’re trying anyway we figured we should curate what we find to make it easier for the rest of you. To help with this we’ve decided to re-start our This Week in Social Entrepreneurship column.

Each week we’ll collect the most interesting and exciting opportunities, news and stories as a cheat-sheet for you to stay on-top of what’s happening our thriving sector. We hope you find it useful! See details on how to share your news with us at the bottom.

Before we start let us wish our US team and community a very happy Thanksgiving! We are thankful for all the amazing work you all do to create a better future.

Opportunities & Events

 

Chivas Regal’s The Venture Deadline for UK Social Enterprises is November 30

The deadline for UK entrants to Chivas Regal’s The Venture is next week! Put yourself in the running for $1,000,000 and plenty of other exposure and support.

Purpose Conference, Sydney, December 5-6

Purpose is returning after a wonderful initial conference last year (which our CEO Tom spoke at) for another deep dive into the world of purpose-driven business. There’s a few tickets left!

SEFA Crowdmatch – turning crowdfunding into investment.

This is for early stage Australian social enterprises with a track record and good growth prospects. If approved for the program you will have the opportunity to prove that there is community support for your enterprise by raising at least $25,000 on StartSomeGood to qualify for a loan of $50,000+ to fuel your growth, turning $25,000 into at least $75,000!

News, Reports, Insights

 

Words With Hearts Wins Australian leg of The Venture

Congratulations to Words With Heart who won the Australian leg of Chivas Regal’s social enterpirse competition The Venture this week! Words With Heart is a StartSomeGood alum, as were two others of the five finalists. We’re very proud of all of them.

 

Why Philanthropy is the Best Kind of Risk Capital

Great post by Jacqueline Novogratz, CEO of Acumen Fund, on why patient capital is so important in building the social enterprise sector.

 

Your Guide to Impact Investing

Very helpful introduction for the “non-billionaire” potential impact investor (guessing that’s most of you reading this) from our friend and Forbes columnist Devin Thorpe.

Inspiration

 

After the election… is a time for social entrepreneurs

Our CEO Tom Dawkins sent this message to our team last week sharing his thoughts on the election of Donald Trump and the role of social entrepreneurs to create a better community. We thought you might like to read it also.

 

A Startup Transforming Shipping Containers Into Tiny Affordable Housing

The one year old non-profit, called Rejuve will upcycle and repurpose some of the more than 760,000 unused shipping containers at ports and other places to place them in abandoned lots and other blighted properties where there’s already the utility infrastructure in place for dwelling. She calls them Plug-in-Pods.

 

A Food Truck That Serves Up Gourmet Food And Drinks — And Jobs For Refugees

Refuge Coffee is a nonprofit gourmet food truck that employees refugees resettled in Clarkston, Ga., and provides job training and networking opportunities within the community.

 

The American student who gave Cambodian children a chance to get clean

Samir Lakhani, an American student who previously saw a Cambodian woman washing her child with detergent 2 years ago. Now, he’s already supplying villagers with a safe way to keep clean, and also with jobs.

 

Got something you think we should include in future This Week in Social Entrepreneurships? Send it to us at hello at startsomegood.com with “TWISE” in the subject line.


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Grow Your Idea with Labs and Competitions

All around the world incubators and accelerators are helping social entrepreneurs move from idea to start-up and scale-up. There are labs and competitions sewn into the infrastructure of building business for good. Think you might be ready to give your idea a boost? Check out the options below to see what’s possible and where you might find good advice and support to grow you, your idea and your social enterprise.

Labs

Singularity University

According to Singularity’s program leader Pascal Finette:

“The [SU Labs Accelerator] program is comprised of several two-week-long sprints and boot camps, is designed for early stage companies to quickly ramp up and prepare for the challenging but rewarding road ahead as entrepreneurs.”

Participants learn and develop using technologies rooted in biotech, artificial intelligence, hyperspectral imaging, and more. Each start-up works on the big — a big idea, a big global challenge, a big solution.  The program works with the teams, and the teams work with each other.

During the last program, one team was focusing on tracking pollution from our planet using hyperspectral imaging and satellites, with the goal of becoming Google Earth for global pollution. Called Hypercube, the team— Brian Yen Yang Lim, Fabio Teixeira Santos (Australia) — are using low-cost satellites and sensors capable of tracking pollution on the entire surface of the planet to help companies understand and reduce their waste output and ecological footprint.

Singularity U

Students work in the Innovations Lab on the Singularity University campus.

Socialab

Socialab works with ideas and partners to solve problems.  They run competitions for technology-based business proposals and then taps their virtual community of 300,000+ users to identify and fine-tune the best ideas. Founded in Chile, this Latin American not-for-profit has brought in a range of financial partners to support initiatives.  In 2015, Socialab whittled down 15,000 proposals to 111 products that they supported based on $2.1 million in grants, incubating 35 companies.

One of their recent projects, Urban Reclaimers, seeks to develop the potential of the recycling industry and contribute to improving the quality of life of urban recyclers. They are gathering ideas that impact the productivity of the recycling chain to generate higher levels of material recovery, improved quality of work and significant environmental benefits for all.  Check out this project here (in Spanish).

newMe

What do a prison sentence and an innovative communications platform have in common? A man named Frederick Hutson and a tech accelerator called NewME. Hutson’s story (read it here!) is proof that great ideas can strike in the unlikeliest of places, and that those ideas can flourish with the right partner.

After serving a 51-month prison sentence, Hutson knew there must be a better way to facilitate prison communications. And so he turned to NewME, a Silicon Valley-based residential tech accelerator for startups founded by underrepresented groups. NewME pioneered diversity  in Silicon Valley, and they focus their efforts on “out-of-the-box” entrepreneurs.  Since 2011, they have helped hundreds of entrepreneurs build better businesses through their online platform, residential “boot-camp” accelerators, and equity portfolio.

With NewME, Hutson was able to launch an affordable communication platforms called Pigeonly to help inmates stay in contact with family and friends.

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Frederick Hutson (right) and Alfonzo Brooks (left) at Pigeonly”s headquarters in Downtown Las Vegas. (Angel Canales/ABC News.)

Social Ventures Incubator

StartSomeGood is proud to be associated with a new initiative by capital city local council in Adelaide, South Australia.

The Social Ventures Incubator Program is a learning and development opportunity for early-stage social ventures, to develop their business models and impact to sustainably and improve community life. The program will work with up to 8 social ventures (individuals or teams of 2-3) to support the active development of their ventures through workshops, mentoring, peer-learning and digital platforms.

The unique program will give them the knowledge and practical skills to develop, test and launch their social venture.  Practical sessions with experienced social entrepreneurs and business professionals will cover areas such as social impact, pitching, business planning, legal obligations, and communications.

Applications are now open

Mycelium

Every learning journey will benefit from an intensive – this incubator program takes you on that intensive journey promises to bring your vocation on this planet to life and to the world! For the botanists among you, you will know that mycelium is the vegetative part of a fungus, its a network of fine white filaments. In this program you will grow those networks,and get you and your idea popping up all over the place.  Their program is looking for registrants who are imagineers, hackers, and change agents with courage, willing to engage their hearts and minds and not interested in what society tells them they can and can’t do. You will get to protype your idea and strategy in your own customised learning journey, be connected with thought leaders, capital and others who can help you and most importantly find your tribe!

Applications for the next program starting in July are now open and there is a virtual option for those now who can’t make it to Asheville, North Carolina.

Competitions

The Venture

Chivas is more than a scotch whisky brand.  They also host a competition called The Venture, a $1M fund to empower extraordinary start-ups to use business to create positive change. Aligning profit with purpose is at the heart of this competition that includes access to some of the world’s top thinkers and has media partners such as Fast Company. In the current competition, more than 2,500 applicants have been whittled down to the final 27.  They are now preparing for their chance to pitch for a share of the $1M fund, which will also open doors to mentors and acceleration.

Meet the finalists here, including Pollinate Energy, a 2013 StartSomeGood success story! Pollinate Energy was founded by a group of young Australians passionate about social change and renewable energy with the primary aim of providing affordable energy products to the urban poor. The project started in Bangalore and uses a microfinance business model to fund a group of young entrepreneurs, who create green energy products such as solar lights and mobile phone chargers.

Pollinate

Verb

Verb runs competitions to help their clients solve complex social and environmental issues by tapping into the power of social entrepreneurs around the world. They use competitions and prizes to attract, mobilize and strengthen social ventures, while providing their clients with tangible business benefits. Using competitions as a platform, Verb is creating a diverse and large social impact community to facilitate connections between innovators and brands committed to addressing the planet’s most pressing problems. Based in Austin, they are supporting change all around the world.

For example, India-based Gyan Lab  seeks to engage 30k+ school students in innovation and customised learning in the sciences, technology, and mathematics.  One platform they have developed is called Kidovators, and is designed to enable primary school  to showcase their leadership skills, intuitiveness, and preparedness for life ahead.

The Search

Not all competitions are for individuals or teams. In 2015 an Australian competition was established for communities. The Search was catalyzed by Collaboration for Impact,and included early adapters such as Centre for Social Impact, Westpac Foundation, Result Leadership Group USA, Social Solutions Group,  Blackbaud PacificSocial Ventures AustraliaAustralian Communities Foundation with support from Impact Collective sub fund and Results Leadership Group Australia.

The most promising collective impact initiative that won in 2015 was Burnie Works, tackling unemployment and underemployment caused by entrenched social disadvantage and poor educational attainment. Leaders from industry, government, and the community have come together to focus on improving the engagement of all young people in education and their transition to employment. Follow Burnie’s story here.


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The Three Traits of Great Social Entrepreneurs


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There’s a bad habit in the social entrepreneurship world where we put outstanding social entrepreneurs up on a pedestal — these incredible demigods who have accomplished something us mere mortals can only dream of. We see it when leading fellowships and incubators raise up the selected few above the passionate — but unpolished — masses. And we, as a result, think that these accomplished social entrepreneurs have something inherent in them, some trait, some skill, some knowledge that separates them from everyone else.

And since their achievements often seems so out of reach, we hope that there is some trick or tool we could learn which would be the secret key to unlocking the treasure chest of social entrepreneurial greatness. Is it the business model canvas? An impact measurement framework? A networking miracle?

I have some good news and some bad news.

Here’s the bad news: there is no single tool to learn. No approach to master. No hidden treasure that all great social entrepreneurs have that would make you a star too, if you only had that key.

The good news? It’s all about having the right mindset, which enables and empowers one to accomplish great things. And this mindset is accessible to anyone and everyone.

From my time coaching, advising and supporting social entrepreneurs around the world, I’ve come to believe that there are three things great social entrepreneurs have in common. Rather than being specific skills to gain, these characteristics are the underlying values and approaches that enable one to learn all the myriad — and unpredictable — skills and knowledge one will need to acquire. These are the infrastructure that make everything else possible.

And unlike a tool or framework, these are attitudes that you, uniquely, can choose to adopt right now. There’s nothing standing in the way of you beginning to demonstrate these approaches, besides your own desire to do so. So let’s get into them!

1. A Learning Mindset

It’s the startup version of Carol Dweck’s ‘growth mindset,’ in which one “thrives on challenge and sees failure not as evidence of unintelligence but as a heartening springboard for growth and for stretching existing abilities.”

If there’s one thing that’s for sure in running a social venture, it’s that you will fail. Constantly. The best social entrepreneurs are those who view their failures as something to be embraced — rather than feared — and use their learnings to ‘fail forward.’

I’ve written in the past about how crucial it is for social entrepreneurs to make time to reflect and to learn — but these routines don’t make much difference if the learning mindset is not there.

If we instead embrace Eric Ries’ conception of a startup: learning as much as possible as quickly as possible, we see everything we do as an opportunity to learn. The stigma disappears from a mistake or an error (which are inevitable anyway), replaced by a continual desire to learn and improve each day.

2. Trust in Oneself

Let’s begin with the synonyms for ‘self trust’, which this is not: cockiness, conceitedness, egoism or self-importance. Rather it’s a quiet confidence in one’s abilities to take on whatever may come.

When one starts a social venture, the only certainty is that it will not go exactly as planned. There will be hurdles to overcome, new challenges that pop-up and an incredible array of things you never realised you didn’t know until it’s too late.

When I co-founded StartSomeGood I had no idea that just to get through the first month I would need to learn bookkeeping, how to form an LLC, how to overlay text over an image in photoshop and how to run a developer brainstorming session.

Actually that may have just been the first week.

I struggled a lot in trying to learn all of those things — all while feeling bad about myself that I, seemingly, wasn’t learning it all as quickly as I thought I should. It was only after a couple of years that I realized that my team and I could solve nearly any problem that came our way — but that it was impossible to do if we didn’t have trust in ourselves that we actually could.

This mindset made all the difference — instead of fearing the unknown, we developed trust that we could handle whatever challenge might be next.

3. Humility

One of the most important characteristics I look for when considering investing in an entrepreneur is their humility: being open to other opinions, admitting mistakes, self-reflection and recognising they cannot do everything themselves.

Humility is one of the key traits that Jim Collins argues in ‘Good to Great’ that the very best ‘level 5’ leaders have. It’s the ability to accept blame (even when it isn’t meant for you), and to share praise (even when it is meant for you).

On an individual level it means self-awareness and a desire to serve others — two mutually reinforcing traits of great social entrepreneurs. On a team level it means empowering others. I used to think that the measure of my leadership was how many decisions I could be part of; now I measure myself on how many decisions my team can take without me. It means electing to trust others instead of micromanaging, and to trust that one can go further together than alone.

Why You Need All Three

It’s not enough to only develop two out of the three. These approaches are not independent but rather interdependent: development in one spurs development in the others. Look at what happens if you focus on one or two at the expense of the others:

  • A learning mindset without trust in oneself: you’ll have a better idea of what to do, but no courage to actually do it.
  • A learning mindset without humility: you’ll only learn from successes, not from failure or disappointment.
  • Trust in oneself without a learning mindset: you’ll simply follow your own intuition, and when your gut instinct lets you down, you’ll have nowhere to turn.
  • Trust in oneself without humility: you’ll overvalue your own thoughts, ideas and contributions and will try to do everything yourself.
  • Humility without a learning mindset: you’ll never step into your zone of impact.
  • Humility without trusting oneself: you’ll be subject to other’s thoughts and opinions, always going wherever others take you.

While it may have initially felt like bad news that there is no single skill to master or trick to learn to become a great social entrepreneur, it’s actually a positive that these three traits are accessible to everyone. It means that the right mindset is within anyone’s grasp. And through embracing these traits, you will accomplish amazing things.


Alex Budak helps social entrepreneurs launch, run and scale their organizations. Originally from California, he currently lives in Stockholm, Sweden where he leads Reach for Change’s incubator for Swedish social entrepreneurs. He previously co-founded StartSomeGood.com. He frequently speaks on the topics of changemaking and leadership around the world, from LA to the Artic Circle; Ukraine to the White House. For more check out his Personal Site or follow him on Twitter, @alexbudak.


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#30DaysofGratitude wrap up

 

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At StartSomeGood we have spent the past 30 days focusing on gratitude. Each day across our social media we have acknowledged a project, partner, person or community which has made our progress and success thus far possible.

This is important, because truly, without the support from so many people we would not be here. To often in business and life we get caught up in our own challenges and needs and forget to give thanks for what we have. And like everyone else, we have challenges. Running a social enterprise startup is hard. The crowdfunding industry is brutally competitive and the impact investing ecosystem very nascent. Our hours are long, our stresses are many.

But we have so much to be grateful for. We have the best jobs in the world, working with inspiring entrepreneurs and community groups rolling their sleeves up to make a positive impact on the world. Just in the last year we’ve received our share of awards and recognition, we secured the backing from investors and with the help of some great partners completely rebuild our platform, to better serve our community of changemakers.

What what is crowdfunding but an exercise in gratitude? We support campaigns we are grateful to see go ahead, individuals whose energy and commitment to change inspires us. Successful fundraisers make it all about the community they serve and are generous in the express of their gratitude for those who help push them forward.

So we are surrounded by positivity and so grateful for everyone who has been part of our journey, so we wanted to take this time over the past 30 days to express this and highlight some of the specific people who have made it all possible.

These people break down into four main groups:

The social entrepreneurs, non-profits and community groups who chose StartSomeGood as their platform of choice. Thank you! Without you this would be a pretty boring website and, well, we wouldn’t really have a business would we? We exist to help you make a difference, thank you for your confidence in us and for giving us the opportunity to serve. Thanks to your quality and commitment to make a difference we have the highest project success rate in our category.

The individual supports who rallied behind these projects. Without you we’d have aspirational projects on the site but not the success they and we need to impact the world. You are the other half of our great success rate. The almost $5 million USD you have contributed have helped over 600 projects launch, grow or continue, and collectively you have helped to save or improve hundreds of thousands of lives. We are so grateful for your support for these important projects.

Our partners, investors and supporters. In early 2015 Trimantium Capital and Vasudhara Foundation invested in StartSomeGood and their support made our shiny new platform possible. We have also pioneered a powerful new form of matched giving which we call Crowdmatch, whereby institutional investors match their funds to those contributed by the community on our platform. Thank you to ING DIRECT who co-created Dreamstarter with us, our original crowdmatch partnership (which is currently open for applications!), and to partners such as the cities of Melbourne, Parramatta and Fremantle, the Inner North Community Foundation, Foundation for Young Australians and Social Enterprise Finance Australia who have embraced this model.

Thank you also to those who deemed us award-worthy last year. We had an amazing run of awards in 2015, co-winning the Social Investment award at the Australian Social Enterprise Awards, receiving the Innovation Award at the Australian & New Zealand Internet Awards and being acknowledged as Innovator of the Year by the Nexus Summit and ANZ in conjunction with our joint-venture partners Good Mob (launching next month!).

And finally, thank you to our team! Nothing is possible without a passionate and dedicated team and we’ve been fortunate to have some incredible people in StartSomeGood, from our core staff, our interns and volunteers who contribute to our blog and events.

StartSomeGood team shot

Why this matters

Gratitude is essential to maintaining motivation and perspective. Gratitude is scientifically proven to improve physical and mental health, as well as your empathy, self-esteem and resilience. Gratitude really does make your life better!

Here’s a great video on gratitude from the Capturing Gratitude Project:

For myself personally, I try to take a minute each day to reflect on what I’m grateful for, as covered in a recent guest post by Jonathan Knepper. Make gratitude a part of your daily routine!

So thank you to everyone who made our progress in 2015 possible (and in the years before that). With your support I’m confident 2016 is going to be an ever more amazing year of growth and impact!

Tom Dawkins is co-founder and CEO of StartSomeGood. You can connect with him on twitter and instagram.