Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
This week, The Daily Gazette was invited to Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Summit, where over 1500 of the world’s greatest young entrepreneurs and activists came to Philadelphia for three-days of panels, keynote speakers, networking, and fun. Throughout the weekend, several other DG editors and I met several founders of amazing, socially conscious businesses and we wanted to feature some of the most noteworthy for the Swarthmore community. The following range from crowdsourcing sites to inventions that encourage kids to code to an energy-generating soccer ball! Read on for more.
Leila Janah (above), co-founder of Samahope, came up with the idea for this crowdfunding platform that supports traveling doctors that support communities in nations with little access to healthcare, on a trip to Sierra Leone where she learned that 1 out of every 14 women die during childbirth. Since then, the Sama network has grown to include SamaUSA — “a program that provides low-income Americans with digital skills and access to internet-based jobs to help move them out of poverty.”
At the 30 Under 30 Summit, Janah delivered a talk on how $3 can save the world. $3 is a pair of sterile gloves for patients in Sierra Leone, allowing them to avoid infection during life-saving surgeries. $3 is enough for gas to the SamaUSA headquarters for its trainees, allowing them to gain critical skills needed to get a stable job. Donating is easy, and I urge every reader to donate at least $3 to one of the two organizations within the Sama network. Follow the above links to donate.
Kano is a personal, build-it-yourself computer. It comes with a hard drive, a speaker, and a detachable keyboard (and other tech goodies). But more than just assembling a computer, Kano teaches its users how to code on its unique operating system. Kano’s users are as young as 8 and the company was founded with the hope to inspire young children around the world to get interested in creating technology rather than simply consuming it. Kano now ships to over 86 countries and is available for the low price of $150.
Jessica Wilson (above left, with fellow Stashd co-founder Pete Neill) is a 22-year-old college dropout. She’s also the co-founder of Stashd — an app that allows you to store your fashion likes to buy or share with friends. After dropping out, she worked at fashion houses and runway shows in New York, Sydney, and Paris — something she continues to do today.
I stumbled across Wilson on the first day of the conference when we sat at a table together during Monica Lewinsky’s keynote speech. She was gracious, down-to-earth, and amazingly passionate when she explained her app to me. While the clothing in the app is a bit too pricey for me, I think Wilson has potential to shake up the fashion world. Stashd is used in 85 countries and has been featured within Apple’s Best New Apps in 11 countries and is in the top 10 Lifestyle apps in five countries.
Uncharted Play is a “for-profit social enterprise dedicated to fostering well-being by inspiring people to lead playful lives.” Its first creation, the SOCCKET, is a soccer ball that uses the kinetic energy converted from playing with it into energy that can be used for small appliances. Since then, Uncharted Play’s founder, Jessica Matthews, has created Pulse (a jumprope that charges a phone 50% simply by being used for 15 minutes) and the Power Share Kit (a base that harnesses SOCCKET’s power and allows it to be shared with 5 users in rugged terrain). When asked how she came up with these inventions, Matthews said, “I was able to think outside of the box because I didn’t know what the box looked like.”
ReadyCart was one of the finalists in Forbes’ $400,000 Pressure Cooker Competition and, in my opinion, should have taken home the top prize. This genius startup allows creators (YouTube vloggers, fashion bloggers, etc.) to create custom, curated lists for their audience. For example, if I created a DIY how-to video about how to create a floral monogram marquee, I would be able to create an easy one-click stop for my viewers to purchase all the goods needed to make my craft.
For more information about the summit or Forbes’ annual 30 Under 30 list, visit http://www.forbes.com/under30.
Photos courtesy of Forbes.