Build your own Lego house and live in it? Why not? To alleviate the strain of urbanisation in Phnom Penh, social entrepreneur Kongngy Hav set up My Dream Home, a social enterprise that aims to revolutionise Cambodia’s housing sector. It produces lego-like bricks made from soil and sand, which are both environmentally friendly and affordable. Thanks to My Dream Home, young Cambodians can now build their own homes at a fraction of the regular cost. Find out more.
Californian wine company One Hope has come up with a sustainable business model whereby half of its profits are directed towards various non-profit organisations. Since it was founded in 2007, One Hope customers get to decide where their money goes—by selecting the colour of their wine bottles. Silver ones buy meals for the hungry, red bottles go towards ghting heart disease, pink combat breast cancer, and so on. By working their social giveback into their business model, One Hope has, among other things, helped plant over 50,000 trees and provided about one million meals to the needy.
Young children often experience anxiety at the prospect of seeing doctors and getting injections. To address this issue, Esther Wang, founder of the social enterprise Joytingle, came up with Rabbit Ray—a patient-engagement device that teaches children about medical procedures such as vaccinations and blood-taking in a fun and educational way. For Rabbit Ray, Joytingle bagged the top prize of US$15,000 at a global innovation competition organised by Shell. It retails at S$280.
Wouldn’t it be great to actually see how your donations are impacting the lives of others? Virtual reality (VR) can now make that happen. RYOT, a four-year-old start-up specialising in recording 360-degree movies all over the world, has notably documented an average school day in Ghana, and received overwhelmingly positive response from its donors. While VR technology is still in its infancy stages and movies are costly to produce, the investment has been worthwhile. For instance, upon viewing a VR-enabled documentary about a parched Ethiopian village, donors at RYOT’s annual fundraising banquet were so moved that they pledged close to US$2.4 million in support of helping people in need to gain access to clean water.
DingGo, the brainchild of three Singapore Management University (SMU) graduates, Jeff Chin, Wallace Ang and Hayden Leow, is well on its way towards becoming a staple smartphone application for Singapore’s foodies.Matching supply with demand, this app allows restaurants and catering services to reach out to people in the vicinity with an empty stomach. With DingGo, restaurants can increase their revenues during non-peak hours, customers enjoy great discounts, and food wastage is minimised. To date, the app has helped the SMU community save 120kg of food from being wasted.In 2015, DingGo’s founders beat over200 contestants to clinch the top prize of S$10,000 cash for “Most Innovative Startup” in an entrepreneurial competition organised by the Nanyang Technological University.
Kiva.org’s co-founder Matthew Flannery has successfully raised US$9.2 million for his new start-up Branch, a cloud-based microfinance system that allows smartphone users in developing countries to obtain micro-loans from $2.50 up to $500. Without the need for any brick-and-mortar bank, Branch operates through a smartphone application that analyses the borrower’s mobile data to determine whether he or she is eligible for a line of credit. By taking his micro nance idea online, Flannery has succeeded in reducing significantly his enterprise’s operational costs.
Banner image: Photo by Jose Aljovin via Unsplash.
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