Grameen and Acumen raise Rs 10 Cr credit facility for social impact companies via SDG bonds

Grameen Impact Investments and Acumen announced India’s first sustainable development goals (SDG) bond. The LIFE SDG Bond provides a credit facility of Rs 10 crore to five for-profit social impact enterprises. These organisations – LabourNet, Empower Pragati, Edubridge, iSTAR, and iPRIMED – work towards enabling sustainable livelihoods for youth across India in both rural and urban areas.
https://yourstory.com/2019/06/investment-bonds-social-impact-grameen-acumen-labournet

How LabourNet is bridging the gap between employers and jobless migrants

Workers are looking for jobs which they don’t get. The market is looking for particular kinds of workers which it does not get.
The two pass each other like ships in the night. Why this yawning gap? This was the thought that struck Gayathri Vasudevan in 2008 when she was working with the International Labour Organisation.

https://www.business-standard.com/article/companies/how-labournet-is-bridging-the-gap-between-employers-and-jobless-migrants-119051800847_1.html

Qwenu’s top companies changing Africa | Wecyclers: disrupting waste recycling in Nigeria

Bilikiss Adebiyi-Abiola, the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Wecyclers has created a new narrative in Nigeria’s recycling industry. The social enterprise came with a long-needed model for waste collection, enabling it to record massive growth and impact within a very short while.
https://qwenu.com/2019/05/17/qwenus-top-companies-changing-africa-wecyclers-disrupting-waste-recycling-in-nigeria/

Zero waste fashion: Q&A with US brand Tonlé

Meet Tonlé, the San Francisco-based womenswear brand made entirely from surplus fabric discarded by apparel manufacturers in Cambodia. The brand’s motto is “every thread matters”: the scraps they cannot transform into new clothing are cut into strips and individually hand sewn into “yarn” for new clothes. The scraps left after that are mixed with recycled office paper and sticky rice to make tags. Working in this fashion leaves 2-3 percent waste, compared to an average of 40 percent in a typical factory, the company claims on its website. Packaging is made from recycled paper and cardboard — except when wholesalers or warehouses specifically demand a plastic wrap.
https://fashionunited.uk/news/business/zero-waste-fashion-q-a-with-tonle/2019051743229

Tonlé brings zero-waste women’s fashion to SF

This is a process known as zero waste, a radical notion that forward-thinking fashion-industry types are finally waking up to. Faller cuts large scraps down to make clothing like tea-length wrap dresses, coats and tops, while smaller scraps are spun into yarn-like material to be woven into other new clothing. Whatever’s left, even the smallest scraps, is made into gift cards, notebooks and hang tags.
https://www.sfchronicle.com/style/article/Tonle-brings-zero-waste-women-s-fashion-to-13550039.php

Refashioning the fashion industry

The textile and clothing industries continue to be the backbone of Cambodia’s export-driven economy, employing 800,000 people around the country, which is 86 percent of all its factory workers, and contributing 40 percent to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP). The country is also home to Sustainability Champion, Tonlé, one of the frontrunners in processing pre-consumer waste.
https://theaseanpost.com/article/refashioning-fashion-industry

This fashion company is doing something about textile waste — using it

Just like our food systems, clothing production can be extraordinarily wasteful. It’s a disturbing and upsetting fact that at least as much energy, labor and raw materials that go into a meal we eat or a pair of jeans we buy is wasted on one that’s trashed. Yes, we throw almost 50 percent of our food away, and it turns out that statistic is probably true for fashion, too.
https://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/natural-beauty-fashion/blogs/fashion-company-doing-something-about-textile-waste

John Legend Gives Grants to Ex-Convicts Turned Entrepreneurs

Will Avila employs 15 people full-time, all ex-convicts. Avila pays above minimum wage—an important move in the Washington, DC, area where he operates, as the cost of living is high and a person on a minimum wage might still need additional income—a dangerous temptation for an ex-con.
http://www.fox5dc.com/entertainment/john-legend-helping-support-former-inmates-turned-entrepreneurs-with-their-startup-businesses

WeSpire Adds New Extensions to its Solutions Portfolio, Enhancing Employee Health and Well-Being

WeSpire, the employee engagement measuring/monitoring solutions provider is looking at extensions to its core product offerings.The company’s industry-recognized SaaS platform will now include two new modules – Positive Culture and Wellbeing – helping progressive firms enhance worker well-being, and envision a sustainable organizational value/culture/behavior ecosystem.

https://www.hrtechnologist.com/news/employee-engagement/wespire-adds-new-extensions-to-its-solutions-portfolio-enhancing-employee-health-amp-wellbeing/

LabourNet to promote Tata, Google-backed ‘Internet Sathi’ program in rural India

LabourNet, a Bengaluru-based social enterprise, has been roped in to expand Tata Trust and Google India-backed internet awareness program, ‘Internet Sathi’ in the states of Maharashtra and Haryana, said a top official of the company in Hyderabad on Friday.
https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/tech/internet/labournet-to-promote-tata-google-backed-internet-sathi-program-in-rural-india/articleshow/62573096.cms

This Boston startup wants to help your employees meditate

WeSpire is a 20-employee Boston firm that helps large companies run employee engagement programs. Customers pay an annual, per-employee subscription fee to access WeSpire’s library of app-like campaigns, including programs that encourage workers to reduce their carbon footprint or volunteer in the community.
https://www.bizjournals.com/boston/news/2018/01/11/this-boston-startup-wants-to-help-your-employees.html

Koya Leadership Partners Acquires ReWork

Koya and ReWork are aligned in their vision to match mission-driven talent to the world’s most socially innovative organizations. Both companies are driven by the belief that the right person in the right place can change the world. The firms’ leadership team feels strongly that no one should have to choose between making money and making a difference. They also recognize that mission-driven organizations deserve the most talented, committed, and passionate professionals to support their efforts.
https://medium.com/on-meaningful-work/koya-leadership-partners-acquires-rework-293842078eb6

LabourNet CEO: Key to upskilling informal workers is building on existing knowledge

LabourNet works among the youth in urban and rural India, has been in the field for the past 10 years, focussing on RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning), and bridging skill gaps in education and entrepreneurship, especially in medium, small and micro enterprises.
https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/labournet-ceo-key-to-upskilling-informal-workers-is-building-on-existing-knowledge/article9980591.ece

Adult Literacy Startup GogyUp Aims to Help Those Lost in Translation

In the United States, around 36 million adults are reading below a third grade level, and less than a quarter have the resources to boost their literacy skills. A team of educators and techies hope to tackle that issue through GogyUp, an adult literacy platform that helps users learn English while reading everyday documents.

https://www.americaninno.com/minne/twin-cities-startup/adult-literacy-startup-gogyup-aims-to-help-those-lost-in-translation/

BEMOSS®-Plus Demo at the Global City Teams Challenge (GCTC)

The Global City Teams Challenge (GCTC) program is a collaborative platform for the development of smart cities and communities, led by National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). BEM Controls is partnered with Arlington County Government and the City of Alexandria to demonstrate its groundbreaking Open-Architecture Platform for Internet of Things (IoT) Devices Monitoring and Control within the city and community environment.
https://www.bemcontrols.com/single-post/2016/08/01/Designers-Embrace

New Class of 500 Startups Has Been Announced; These 4 are Workforce Related

Labor Voices — Loosely employment related, this startup helps protect big apparel brands by empowering labor in developing countries to police work conditions. With a cell phone, workers can report violations such as poor working conditions and unacceptable salaries. Think of it as Glassdoor for the supply chain.
https://www.laborvoices.com/single-post/2017/09/14/New-Class-of-500-Startups-Has-Been-Announced-These-4-are-Workforce-Related

Confronting the Last Mile Problem in the Developing World

After her first trip to India, she decided to return with a plan to address this problem. As a graduate student at MIT, Rajasingh traveled to India two more times to conduct research through MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI) and her thesis focused on the gap between making technologies and getting them to Indian villages. A tip from her thesis reader, Media Lab lecturer Joost Bonsen, connected her to a Harvard student that was cross-registered in one of his classes, Jackie Stenson who shared her passion and they came up with the idea for their company over lunch at Mass. Avenue’s Flour Bakery.
https://alum.mit.edu/slice/confronting-last-mile-problem-developing-world

Amazons turning waste to wealth

An MBA graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management, United States, she moved back home to set up WeCyclers. On her return to Lagos, she confronted a city with a major waste management crisis, producing 10,000 tonnes of refuse daily, much of which clog the city streets and leaches chemicals into the soil and groundwater. To solve the problem, she launched the social enterprise, Wecyclers, to incentise low-income households to hand off their recyclable goods to a fleet of low-cost cargo bikes.
http://thenationonlineng.net/amazons-turning-waste-wealth/

Tech Female Spotlight: Bilikiss Adebiyi-Abiola; CEO Wecyclers

The idea for Wecyclers was developed while I was in the US as a student at the MIT Sloan School of Management, following a five-year career as a corporate software engineer at IBM. I was assigned to a study project to help people at the bottom of the pyramid (people living on less than $2 a day), i decided to work on waste with focus on its uses, collection and processing.
http://smileandmobile.com/2015/10/29/tech-female-spotlight-bilikiss-adebiyi-abiola-ceo-wecyclers/

MEET THE DISRUPTOR

Wash Cycle, which has been around for six years, puts its own spin—pun incredibly intended—on industrial washing. They supply some of the standard laundering fair, including linens, sheets, towels, custodial supplies, floor mats, and clean clothes in bulk for universities and hospitals. They commit to the environmental bit, using all-natural detergents and high-efficiency laundry machines. But it’s the trip that the laundry takes that really sets it apart: Wash Cycle’s wares are carted around via bicycle to their local facilities. The company currently has campuses open in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., and currently employs roughly 50, just about 40 of whom are stationed in Philly.
https://thephiladelphiacitizen.org/wash-cycle-laundry-gabriel-mandujano/

These Stylish Clothes Were Once Scraps On A Factory Floor

Faller’s goal is to fight back against some of the fashion industry’s biggest ills: textile waste and unjust labor practices. Tonlé, which is based in Cambodia and sells its products internationally, employs Cambodian women, pays them a fair wage and allows them to work reasonable hours ― and it makes all its clothing without sending a single scrap to landfills.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/tonle-fashion-company-zero-waste-fair-labor-clothing-cambodia_us_57ee9e2de4b024a52d2eb366

Can Social Innovation & Social Enterprise Startups Be The Answer For A Better Afghanistan?

I am thrilled and inspired by my opportunity to speak with Azadeh Tajdar, Co-founder/Director, of Shetab – Center for Business & Social Innovation in Kabul, Afghanistan. She delivers great insight on the thirst for social innovation in the country led by the young generation that wants to transform Afghanistan into the social entrepreneurial hub of the entire region. The SHETAB (meaning ‘accelerate’ in Persian/Dari) Lab is a center for business and social innovation in Afghanistan. Their mission is to facilitate the process of creating successful and impact driven social ventures across Afghanistan and enable the next generation of Afghan entrepreneurs and civic leaders. They provide social innovation Labs in partnership with Unreasonable Institute, as well as mentoring and business coaching.
https://causeartist.com/social-enterprise-afghanistan/

Wash Cycle Laundry — Up Close And Personal

Wash Cycle Laundry is proving that bikes are commercially-scalable alternatives to trucks for intra-metropolitan freight. Over 3 million pounds of cargo are hauled across Philadelphia and Washington DC since the company began in 2010. Jason, Steve, Nivan are just a few of those who could haul up to 300 pounds of laundry by bike…in all kinds of weather! These guys are in great shape!!! Their work day starts in the wee hours of the morning. They come in and check the computer and their app listing the names, addresses, number of bags etc., so they are always tracking all laundry from beginning to end. Jason has been working for WCL for two years with no thoughts of leaving. “Where else could I get paid for riding my bike?”
http://untoursfoundation.org/2016/03/wash-cycle-laundry-up-close-and-personal/

Brand Love : tonlé

tonlé designs and makes comfortable, wearable clothes that are as original and beautiful as the people who make them. We adhere to principles of transparency, fairness, and waste reduction in everything we do, from the big stuff like wages, down to the little things like the materials in our buttons.”

https://www.mynewneighbour.ca/blog/brand-love-tonl

Philly Startup Hires Marginalized Staff and Delivers 300 Pounds of Laundry on Bikes–Successfully

Wash Cycle does just as its name says: it washes your laundry and delivers it to your door by bike. Not only do they worry about their environmental footprint, but also their ability to create jobs in disadvantaged communities. Half of Wash Cycle’s staff comes from vulnerable backgrounds — that is, they have been formerly incarcerated, on welfare, or homeless.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/eshachhabra/2015/05/26/philly-startup-hires-marginalized-staff-and-delivers-300-pounds-of-laundry-on-bikes-successfully/#463cd488630b

Assured Labor Raises $6.75M, Has Connected Workers With 100K Jobs In Latin America’s Informal Sector

David Reich started the company in 2008 to make informal labor markets in Latin America faster and more transparent for low-skilled workers. It was a social enterprise meant to connect workers, who often had little more than a feature phone, to evaluate or sign up for work opportunities by text message.
https://techcrunch.com/2015/04/22/assured-labor-raises-6-75m-has-connected-workers-with-100k-jobs-in-latin-americas-informal-sector/

Announcing a New Investment: LabourNet

LabourNet today announced an undisclosed equity investment from Acumen, a pioneering nonprofit global venture firm addressing poverty across South Asia and Africa, and the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, an organization focused on improving the lives of impoverished children through education and health in the United States, South Africa and India. LabourNet is a leader in the private vocational training & education sector in India, enabling livelihoods via work-integrated job training for informal sector workers in trades such as construction, manufacturing, leather, and beauty among others.
https://acumen.org/blog/labournet/

Recycling waste can create 500,000 jobs in Nigeria – Wecyclers CEO, Bilikis

Many of our customers are living in abject poverty and they love the incentives. Sometimes they say, “can I use my points to get a house, or a car,” but I tell them this might take you a lot of years of recycling! For some of these people their immediate problem is not waste, it’s survival. They aren’t thinking about “the environment”, and so the best way to train them is to incentivize them.What kind of impact could Wecyclers potentially have?

http://www.theafricareport.com/West-Africa/recycling-waste-can-create-500000-jobs-in-nigeria-wecyclers-ceo-bilikis.html

LaborVoices

Interview: LaborVoices

“LaborVoices is a scalable, crowdsourced alternative to conventional inspection-based certification models. We source actionable, real-time intelligence on employers around the world from the real experts—the workers, themselves.” – Kohl Gill, …