Social entrepreneurs and influencers are special people with unique qualities we find so fascinating about them. They have shaped the world today and what it will be tomorrow. They see the transformation world and the reality that most people don’t see and they ask questions and find answers to them. These people have become what they are today though vision and action. They are not just speakers but doers such us starting up organizations, implementing their plans and changing dreams into reality. Their selfless actions have given rise to like-minded people, more social impact advocates and a generation of social and innovative thinkers.
These social influencers mentioned below have revolutionized industries and have quickened the spirit of social change and welfare at the grassroots level. For the past decade or more, they have contributed greatly in different sectors of their expertise and even beyond. It is important to acknowledge their efforts and risks they took from their beginnings till date. Most of the world benefits and will benefit from the fruits of their labor in education, technology, agriculture, and sanitation.
Here is the list we would like to present those social entrepreneurs and influencers who are trying and leading to a better tomorrow.
1. BTS - Bangtang Sonyeondan (Kpop Boy Band)
BTS, also known as Bangtang Boys, is a seven members South Korean boy band formed in Seoul in 2013 and went viral in September, 2017 with Love Yourself: Her, which featured themes of love, loss, friendship, and death, was released. Their lyrics and discography are mostly focused on personal and social commentary, the themes of mental health and suicide, trouble of school-age teenagers, loss, the journey towards loving oneself, individualism and female empowerment.
Their success on the establishment of LOVE MYSELF anti-violence campaign partnership with UNICEF and #BTSLoveMyself, BTS addressed at the United Nations 73rd General Assembly and became the youngest ever receivers of Order of Cultural Merit from the President of South Korea.
2. Pewdiepie - Youtuber
Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, known online as PewDiePie is a Swedish YouTuber and comedian, known for his YouTube video content, which mainly consists of Let's Play videos and comedic formatted shows. Kjellberg's channel was the most-subscribed channel on YouTube for more than five years, from 2013 to 2019.
He started a Charity: Water campaign in 2013 with a goal of raising $250,000. He smashed past that goal along with his supporters, and they were able to collect $450 to bring water to people who desperately need clean drinking water.
PewDiePie also started an IndieGoGo campaign in 2014 to raise money for Save The Children, and used his celebrity to offer up prizes in exchange for donations. For $25 you’d get a custom email from him, for $1000 you’d get a signed pair of headphones, for $100 he’d give you a shoutout on Twitter, and for $50k he’d go and hang out at your corporate office for a day (and 2 of those were claimed, so he was able to give two days of his time in order to raise 100k for a charity he cares about.)
PewDiePie also did many other charities such as Red, Ellen’s Gaming Charity and Cryindia.
3. Billy Drayton -Founder of Ashoka
Billy Drayton is a social entrepreneur who has been motivated and has actively engaged in civil rights work. He was a student of Harvard University and it was from there he started Ashoka Table which was an interdisciplinary weekly forum in the social sciences.
Ashoka was based on the idea that the most powerful force for good in the world is a social entrepreneur: a person driven by an innovative idea that can help correct an entrenched global problem. According to Ashoka, the world’s leading social entrepreneurs pursue system-changing solutions that permanently alter existing patterns of activity. Ashoka believes that everyone needs to become a change maker. Therefore, they must master the core change making skills–empathy, teamwork, and new leadership. According to Billy Drayton, the only way they can is by practicing and practicing, by in fact being change makers.
4. Emma Watson - #HeForShe ambassador
Watson's speech often called feminism "the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities" and declared that the perception of "man-hating" is something that "has to stop". She also gave a speech about gender equality in January 2015, at the World Economic Forum's annual winter meeting. In January 2016, Watson started a feminist Goodreads book club: Our Shared Shelf. The goal of the club is to share feminist ideas and encourage discussion on the topic. One book is selected per month and is discussed in the last week of that month. In July 2019, Watson helped to launch a legal advice line for people who have suffered sexual harassment at work. Legal advice is provided by Rights of Women, a charity which works to help women through the law.
5. Nas Daily - Video Blogger, Founder of Nas Daily
Nuseir Yassin is a video blogger who created 1000 daily 1-minute videos on Facebook under the page Nas Daily started in 2016. On average, each video takes around six hours to shoot and three hours to edit. Yassin chooses topics to feature on his videos based on suggestions provided by his Facebook followers, either through in-person meetings or online chat applications. His videos are documented his days through the lens of one-minute video clips. "I make videos about people’s stories in a way that is human," Nas said of his filming style. "We live very busy lives. But everyone has a spare minute," and he ends his videos with the tagline: "That’s one minute, see you tomorrow!"
He did not only present the spotlight people’s stories but also the stories behind the carpet who were trying to solve the problems of nowadays such as environmental pollution, business and media traps, religious and social conflicts, undiscovered solutions and much more.
He moved on to operate the Nas Daily Corporation, a video production company that uploads a single weekly video each Friday after he ended his journey of 1000 daily video journey with “That’s one minute, see you soon.” along with the new planning goal of 100 weeks. Now His videos are ended with a countdown of the number of weeks left to fulfilling this commitment.
6. Tyler Oakley - LGBT Youth Activist
Oakley supports The Trevor Project, an organization for the prevention of suicide among LGBT youth. He interned with them in 2009, and since 2011 has co-hosted TrevorLIVE, the charity's annual red carpet event. In 2013 he raised $29,000 for his birthday in support of the Trevor Project having aimed to raise $24,000. In 2014, he raised $525,704 in a similar event, and in 2015 he raised $532,224.
7. Jazzmine Raine -Co-founder of Hara House
Jazzmine is a social entrepreneur who has an outstanding portfolio of projects such as a non-profit she started at the age of 18 called “Raine for Water”. She is a content creator for an online media platform called Causeartist. Her latest project is a zero-waste guest house in Northern India called Hara House. To be a creator of positive impact, it started with a documentary that inspired her to do something in the water industry.
Jazzmine used arts and performance to create awareness for water sanitation and conservation issues around the world. This then led her to Ghana where she was introduced to many grassroots projects throughout the country and learnt the importance of cultural competency and the burdens of NGOs and Nonprofits on a destination. In 2015, she had the desire to learn and help manage grassroots development projects in rural Rajasthan in India, providing resources to locals to become leaders of social good. In 2017, she and her business partner came up with the idea to develop the full concept of Hara House.
Hara House is a zero-waste guest house and social enterprise that invests 20% of its profits into environmental action and education projects in north India. This social enterprise facilitates and provides resources to young people to develop their own environmental projects, and equip them to be leaders of social good. She was driven by the desire and strong urge to move further in her quest to make the world a better place.
8. Jehiel Oliver – Founder of Hello Tractor
Hello Tractor, founded in 2014, by Jehiel Oliver is helping to cut down on the labor and toil in farming and make it more lucrative and pleasant for both the current and coming generation. In a few years, Hello Tractor has managed to reach more than 250,000 smallholder African farmers.
Social entrepreneur Jehiel demonstrates the importance to fight poverty and scarcity in Africa’s remote rural communities. The organization practically demonstrates how technology can provide a path out of poverty for African youth, and why this business is so much more important now and in the future. Popularly known as “Uber for the Farm”, Uber’s widespread ride technology has been like a model to many service providing companies and organizations including Hello Tractor. He learns a lot from Uber as a company especially with transparency throughout the process of service delivery. Across sub-Saharan Africa, many farmers struggle to produce enough food to feed their families and sustain their farms.
In an interview on Forbes Media, Jehiel said that they have faced their share of challenges, but he believes the strength of their team is its ability to adapt and create their business model without ever losing sight of their mission. So, in January 2017, they made the strategic decision to focus more on application than on the tractors themselves. This has proven to be a more effective model, enabling the team to capture 75% of private commercial tractor inflows to Nigeria, expand to five markets across Africa through strategic partnerships, and touch the lives of 250,000 farmers.
9. Bilikiss Adebiyi-Abiola - Founder WeCyclers (Community Recycling Initiative)
Bilikiss is an impactful and purpose driven social entrepreneur in Nigeria. Her company, WeCyclers offers waste collection and recycling services to Lagos informal settlements. WeCyclers founded in 2012 using a low-cost cargo bicycles called WeCycles to provide convenient recycling services to Households in Nigeria.
As part of this project, residents are offered an incentive for collecting heir household waste which is picked up for free by WeCyclers using specially adapted bicycles.
Born and raised in Nigeria, Bilikiss initially developed this idea for her business at MIT where she was assigned a project aimed at finding solutions to help people at the bottom of the social pyramid. Therefore she looked back to Nigeria where about 70% of the population is at the bottom of the social pyramid with no or less basic needs such as good healthcare or sanitation. She wanted positive social impact in her society. She had an interest in waste management and she was inspired to find new solutions to the problem of waste management.
For Bilikiss, she has always been interested in ideas of re-purposing waste. During her time at MIT, she met other interested people who were willing to make social changes in developing countries. In five years, WeCyclers hopes to build a strong recycling network in Nigeria and other developing countries. This recycling company gives developing countries the opportunities to capture value from waste and clean up their neighborhoods through an incentive-based recycling program.
10. Blake Mycoskie – Founder of TOMS
Blake is an American who has always had an entrepreneurial drive and started five businesses before TOMS. He is also known as the “Chief Shoe Giver” and the person behind the idea of “One for One”, a business model that helps the less privileged with every product purchased. He has always been passionate about inspiring young people to always help others and to give. He hopes to see a future full of social-minded businesses and consumers.
While travelling in Argentina in 2006, Blake Mycoskie witnessed the hardships of children growing up without shoes. From that experience, he had a revolutionary idea to start a for-profit business that was not reliant on donations. This idea therefore became a strong foundation for his company, TOMS. TOMS became successful enough to provide children in need with shoes.
Moreover, he didn’t only see the need for shoes but for other needs hat the people in need lacked so he developed the idea of TOMS eye-wear in which for every pair of eye-wear purchased, TOMS would help give sight to a person in need. In 2011, he released his first book Start Something That matters based on his inspiration and the power of incorporating giving in business.
In the book he references other philanthropists, companies and individuals who have incorporated giving into their professional and personal lives. Blake hopes that his book serves as an inspiration to others to turn their dreams into a reality. Blake’s business idea and plans have gained grounds in society so much that it has caught the eye of many leaders in the world and has made news. He was recognized by Fortune Magazine’s “40 Under 40” list as one of the top young businessmen in the world.
11. Brit Gilmore- President of the Giving Keys
At age 17, Brit Gilmore was struck by the hardships and poverty people faced in India when she visited the country. This experience made her compassionate about impacting societies and this changed her life. As the president of the social enterprise, The Giving Keys, she wants to commit herself to for-profit business models that are impact driven because she believes they are more sustainable. The Giving Keys employs people who are transitioning out of homelessness to make necklaces from keys with engraved inspirational messages. .
Brit Gilmore was hired by The Giving Keys in 2012 as a production manager. Five years later, she was president of the social enterprise and she was featured as one of the social entrepreneurs in “Forbes 30 under 30”.
For Brit, businesses can impact communities worldwide by holding themselves accountable to operate ethically. She has helped grow rapidly both the business and impact work through good and deeper level of organization of the company.
Every product that is purchased supports job creation and to date, The Giving Keys has provided 70+ job opportunities to people transitioning out of homelessness. Brit says the company is committed to separating the label from the identity of a person. He or she is not a homeless person, but a person who is homeless. That is not an identity; this is just a temporary part of their life. These jobs include stamping keys, assembling jewelry, customer service, packing and fulfilling orders and working in our shop to produce in-store displays. The company is built on three core values- dream, create and inspire.
12. Scott Harrison – Founder of Charity: water
Scott took a practical decision to start charity: water after seeing the effects of dirty water on a hospital ship off the coast of Liberia. He became interested in global water crises and wanted to support people who have no access to clean water therefore; he started with a small group then later created charity: water.
Charity: water has the mission to bring clean water to every person living without it and a vision to reinvent charity with an innovative 100% model and radical transparency, proving every water project funded. The organization works with local experts and community members to find sustainable solutions such as providing and building wells, pipes, bio sand filter or a system for harvesting rainwater.
The communities are able to save time to earn income, grow food and go to school. The conditions in the houses and the lives of women and children improve due to access to clean water.
Scott is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader and the writer of “Thirst”. Twelve years after starting charity: water, the organization with the help of supporters and donors managed to raise more than $388 million and funded over 44,000 water projects in 28 countries. These projects were estimated to provide over 10 million people with clean, safe drinking water.
Of course, there are many more amazing people out there who should be listed here but these changemakers are worth watching for the next decade and see how they will make the better tomorrow. Their selfless actions and encouragements have impacted much on people in millions as well as other social entrepreneurs and influencers.
In the last decade of 2010 - 2019, they made the changes in the societies, lit up the world and showed to have more faith in human beings.