As any pioneering young social entrepreneur will tell you, seed funding will get you off the ground, but networking is almost as key as money to the success of any enterprise. That’s where an organization like Social Venture Network (SVN), the nation’s leading peer-to-peer network of socially responsible entrepreneurs and investors, comes in.
SVN’s 500 plus members run some of the countryís most cutting-edge enterprises, and for the past five years, the organization has been on a mission to recognize some of the brightest comers and bring them into the fold. Today SVN announced the six winners of its 2011 Innovation Awards.
Each of the Innovation Award winners will be partnered with SVN leaders who will serve as mentors. WInners also get free SVN membership, and they’ll be honored at SVNís 2011 Fall Conference in Philadelphia, PA, where they will present their work to an audience of over 250 socially responsible business CEOs, investors and social entrepreneurs.
SVN says this year’s crop of winners, who were selected based on their innovation, impact, and ability to scale,†are using groundbreaking approaches to drive sustainability and community development while creating employment opportunities for underserved communities including U.S. veterans, Native Americans and African war survivors.
The winners are:
- Chid Liberty whose company Liberty & Justice has partnered with Liberian women to launch Africaís first Fair Trade Certified apparel factory and has created jobs for women who are working to rebuild Liberia after its civil war.
- Peter Frykman who founded Driptech to alleviate poverty by creating affordable, water efficient irrigation solutions for the 500 million small-plot farmers in developing nations.
- Karlene Hunter & Mark Tilsen, who, through their company Native American Natural Foods are on a mission to heal people and Mother Earth by innovating new food products based on traditional Native American values.
- Jason Aramburu who started re:char, a social enterprise that empowers subsistence farmers in Kenya to enhance their crop yields and supplement their income while trapping carbon and enriching depleted soil.
- Katherine Lucey, whose venture Solar Sister eradicates energy poverty by empowering women in Africa with economic opportunity by creating a woman-centered direct sales network of clean energy entrepreneurs.
- Eric Greitens, who returned home from service in Iraq as a Navy SEAL and whose national non profit organization The Mission Continues is working to build a nation where every returning veteran can serve again as a citizen leader.
ďSVNís 2011 Innovation Award Winners clearly demonstrate that business can solve our most pressing social and environmental problems,” said Deb Nelson, SVNís Executive Director. “We are thrilled to be honoring these incredible leaders.Ē
Stay tuned as we at Care2 profile the SVN 2011 Innovation Awards winners in the coming weeks.