From clean water access to homelessness, this year’s crop is focused on issues that affect the world on global and local scales. But it’s not easy to succeed as a social entrepreneur. Finding the appropriate funding and scaling a big idea don’t come easy. Here, seven standouts tell the story of their first big break.
Corinne Clinch, 23, Uriel Eisen, 24, Cofoudners, Rorus Inc.
“One of my most important moments was realizing that thousands of people are working on this goal and that it may take my entire career to see the scale of change I want to see. That’s a reminder to me to be prepared for the marathon, not the sprints, and take the challenges as they come.”—Corinne Clinch
Sam Pressler, 24, Founder, Armed Services Arts Partnership
“Receiving the Echoing Green Fellowship as I graduated from William & Mary. I had little understanding of how to launch a sustainable non-profit. Not only did Echoing Green provide ASAP with its first $80,000 in seed funding, the Echoing Green community of staff, fellows, and supporters guided our team.”—Sam Pressler
Emily Cunningham, 26, Kwami Williams, 25, Cofounders, MoringaConnect
“Becoming MIT D-Lab Scale-Ups fellows in 2013. Without that funding and mentorship we wouldn’t exist. Becoming Echoing Green fellows in 2014 was next. It brought even more credibility to our work, connected us to a supportive ecosystem of social entrepreneurs, and gave us the much needed funds.”—Kwami Williams
Ricky Ashenfelter, 29, Cofounder, Spoiler Alert
“I graduated from college without a job and nearly panicked that my finance degree would render me useless following the financial crisis. A month later, I got a job with a 10-person sustainability startup in Virginia and got to work with amazing food and retail companies on climate change strategy.”—Ricky Ashenfelter
Brit Gilmore, 29, President, The Giving Keys
“Donating my time and knowledge in the early days of The Giving Keys which led to Caitlin bringing me in. One of our big breaks was being featured on ABC World News in June 2014 which led to selling 222K in four days after the airing when we were selling 80K a month on average.”—Brit Gilmore
Michael Roytman, 28, Cofounder, Dharma Platform
“After starting at Kenna Security, my CEO had to give a talk at a security conference…About a week before the conference, he told me we’d present together and I should write a data-driven talk. I scrambled, put together this talk, which ended up being the foundation for our product.”—Michael Roytman
Teju Ravilochan, 29, Cofounder, Unreasonable Institute
“Getting our first mentor at the SOCAP conference, Elnor Rozenrot. We had virtually nothing going for us at the time, but he was willing to sign up to mentor the entrepreneurs we brought into the program…Getting someone like him (VP of Innovation at Innosight Ventures) helped us get other mentors.”—Teju Ravilochan
This article was written by Michela Tindera from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.