This year has been a challenging one around the globe. Wars continue to rage, oppression and bigotry have been paraded in plain sight, and poor leadership threatens to scupper any chance of saving our planet’s environment. But there is hope to be found, with many young entrepreneurs doing their best to change the world for the better.
Tsechu Dolma (Tibet)
Tsechu Dolma grew up as a Tibetan refugee in Nepal, and has seen first-hand the effects climate change can have on rural communities. As a direct response, she founded the Mountain Resiliency Project which looks to fight alongside farmers and develop sustainable livelihoods in communities affected by climate change. Watch the video below to learn more about Tsechu’s crucial work.
KJ Erickson (USA)
KJ Erickson holds a degree from Stanford University and an MBA from Oxford, and founded a social venture providing education and entrepreneurship opportunities to 70,000 refugees when she was 20. With that background, it’s not hard to see how she’s set up Simbi, a “symbiotic economy.” The platform works very simply: you can either trade a service you offer for something else, or spend credits earned from your services to “buy” things like CV editing, yoga classes, etc.
Alloysius Attah (Ghana)
Alloysius Attah moved to live with his aunt on a farm in Ghana when he was five years old. In 2013, after college and two startups, he launched Farmerline to help small-scale farms like the one he grew up on. He’s now committed to changing the lives of small-scale farmers across Africa for the better by improving their access to information and resources.
Elon Musk (South Africa)
A more familiar name than most on this list, but definitely worth mentioning. Musk has plans in a whole range of areas, and all will be hopefully making progress in 2018. These include the Hyperloop transport system, a tunnel under Los Angeles, taking humanity to Mars with Space X, and popularizing the electric car with Tesla. If he pulls just one of these off it will change the world considerably.
Alisée de Tonnac (France)
Alisée de Tonnac was born in France but has lived all over the world, including eight years in Singapore and two years in Silicon Valley. She traveled the world for a year to set up the first edition of Seedstars World, a competition to find the best startups from emerging markets. The contest runs in over 60 countries and invests up to $1.5 million in the winning ideas.
Alex Bond (UK)
Alex Bond may be completing his PhD at Imperial College London, but he still has time to run Fresh Check, a company aiming to improve food safety by making bacterial contamination visible. Fresh Check has developed a chemical that changes from blue to orange when dangerous levels of bacteria are detected. The product may be at the prototype stage right now, but it could make a huge impact next year.
Rachel Sumekh (USA)
Rachel Sumekh founded and runs Swipe Out Hunger, which makes it easy for students to donate their lunch credit to their fellow students who are hungry and in need. The organization has served 1.4 million meals to the food insecure and is active in 36 universities. In June 2017 Rachel and her co-founders co-authored the hunger free campus bill and the company has also been given the title of Champion of Change by the White House. Sumekh is the daughter of Iranian Jewish immigrants and lives in L.A.