More than 2,500 young social entrepreneurs applied to the Forbes Under 30 $1M Change the World Competition. Six finalists will compete on the main stage at Forbes’ second annual Under 30 Summit for a portion of the $1 million prize money.
Entrepreneurs under the age of 30 who aim to address global challenges with their business were invited to apply. A combination of for-profit, non-profit, and hybrid business models were represented among the 915 quarter-finalists selected for long-form applications. Nearly 2000 young Americans will gather at the Under 30 Summit from October 4-7 in Philadelphia, where the six finalists will compete for the $500,000 grand prize. Each of the other 5 finalists will win $100,000.
Forbes editor Randall Lane, who oversees the Forbes Under 30 Summit, said, “These young superstars were chosen as finalists in this historic competition because they have the ability to solve problems, scale solutions and change the world.”
The finalists are:
- Amara Humphry, Gooru: Gooru helps students in underserved communities by providing access to crowdsourced courses and actionable data. The platform is free and open to anyone.
- Kiah Williams, SIRUM (Supporting Initiatives to Redistribute Unused Medicine): SIRUM is an online platform that facilitates the distribution of surplus medication that is unopened and unexpired to low-income people. The company’s technology identifies surplus medications at institutions, finds a matching need, and ships the medications directly to safety-net clinics.
- Daniel Yu, Reliefwatch: uses a cloud-based system to provide stock-level data for organizations in the developing world, helping to prevent medication stock-outs and track expiration dates. Reliefwatch’s platform reduced wasted medication by 90 percent for Global Brigades projects in Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama. Earlier this year, Yu was also awarded the Prince of Wales Young Sustainability Entrepreneurs Prize.
- Govinda Upadhyay, LEDsafari: LEDsafari provides low-cost solar LED lamp kits for secondary school students in areas of developing countries without electricity. Students are able to make their own lamps and learn about the physics behind the circuit and design process.
- Paul Duan, Bayes Impact: Bayes Impact is a Y Combinator startup that uses data science solutions to improve critical social services around the world.
- Elizabeth Nguyen and Heather Concannon, Unitarian Universalist Community Cooperatives (UUCC): UUCC offers cooperatively-owned affordable housing communities and opportunities for individual investors or organizations to invest in meaningful projects.
One of Forbes' 2014 30 Social Entrepreneurs Under 30, Kavita Shukla — and her award-winning food-saving product, FreshPaper — is currently competing in the Intuit QuickBooks Small Business Big Game contest: Vote through November 3 to help FreshPaper win a TV ad spot in Super Bowl 2016.
Speaking of game-changing social innovators, earlier today Unilever Foundry announced the winners of the first three sustainability challenges posed through its idea platform. Launched in June, the platform put forth three ‘grand challenges’ that aimed to increase sustainability in the areas of sanitation, hygiene and nutrition. The winning solutions were a modular water and sanitation infrastructure for urban slums, an anemia education program in Nigeria, and a water-saving shower.