37 Social Entrepreneurs To Watch For In 2020

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Evin Floyd Robinson is one of the co-founders and President of America On Tech (AOT), an organization preparing the next generation of technology leaders. AOT’s work has been featured in media outlets such as CNN, Forbes, TechCrunch, BET, PBS, Black Enterprise, Univision and other leading publications.

Robinson started his career as a technology consultant at Accenture advising global investment banks and financial institutions on technology transformations. He has been named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 List, Black Enterprise Modern Man List, City & State NYC Tech List, and is a Points of Light Civic Accelerator Entrepreneur, Wells Fargo Millennial Activist, 4.0 Schools Launch Entrepreneur, Kauffman Entrepreneurship Engagement Fellow, a TEDx presenter, SXSW EDU featured speaker and an Inaugural Black Enterprise Tech Prep Presenter.

Robinson is a brother of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc and an alumni of Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO). Robinson’s commitment to entrepreneurship and philanthropy is evidenced by his world travels and work in countries such as Turkey and China. He graduated with degrees in Economics, Communication and Rhetorical Studies, and Information Management from Syracuse University.

Jessica Santana is one of the co-founders and CEO of America On Tech, a nonprofit organization on a mission to prepare the next generation of technology leaders. AOT provides students with access to the development, mentoring, networking and professional experiences that prepare them for degrees and careers in technology. Their work has been featured in major media outlets such as Forbes, CNN, Wells Fargo, Sirius XM Radio, Huffington Post, TechCrunch, BET, Black Enterprise, AlleyWatch and The Network Journal.

Prior to AOT, Santana worked as a technology consultant for global brands such as JPMorgan Chase, Accenture and Deloitte. She has been named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list and NYN 40 Under 40 Rising Stars list. She is an Ashoka Emerging Innovator, Pahara Institute Next-Gen Leader, World Economic Forum Global Shaper, former Entrepreneur in Residence at General Assembly, Wells Fargo Millennial Activist, Camelback Ventures Social Innovation Fellow, Points of Light Civic Accelerator Entrepreneur, 4.0 Schools Launch Entrepreneur, JPMorganChase Global Enterprise Technology Leader, Morgan Stanley Emerging Leader, Deloitte Future Leaders Apprentice​ and one of 50 Visionary Women L​eaders to Watch by Innov8t​iv Magazine. Santana was also one of the inaugural technology anchors on Univision. ​

Santana has presented and spoken to over 50 different audiences that include SXSW Edu, TechCrunch, Google for Entrepreneurs, White House, Thomson Reuters and Bloomberg. Her commitment to philanthropy and community engagement is evidenced by her world travels and work in parts of Europe, China and South America to work with nonprofits, private companies and social enterprises that better local communities and economies. She graduated with undergraduate and graduate degrees in Accounting and Information Technology from Syracuse University.

Alex Stephany was inspired to build Beam after getting to know a homeless man at his local Tube station in London. The man had spent decades out of work. Alex would buy him cups of coffee and pairs of socks, but could see his condition going from very bad to even worse.When the man had a heart attack, Alex asked himself: “What could we do to make a real difference to that man’s life?” The answer lay in giving him the skills to support himself. Alex knew that’d cost much more than a coffee. But what if everyone chipped in?

Beam is a crowdfunding platform that enables new career opportunities for homeless men and women. Beam uses technology and global citizens to help fund skills training and education to homeless individuals. With the Beam platform, you can help someone start a new career and leave homelessness for good.

Before Beam, Alex ran the parking app, JustPark, which he grew from 2 to over 40 people and still support as a Board Advisor. At JustPark, he had his first experience with crowdfunding when he led a record-breaking equity crowdfunding round – what was the largest crowdfunding round for a startup in history. He is also the author of a book on the sharing economy called The Business of Sharing, and also advised the city of Seoul as part of the Mayor’s Sharing Economy Advisory Panel.

DIFF Charitable Eyewear was founded, the vision was to have a positive impact on the world through quality, affordable eyewear. And in four years, the company has provided over 1.2 MILLION people with the reading glasses they need to live happy, healthy, and productive lives. Over the past few years, they’ve learned that doing even more is possible. Diff is completely committed, more than ever, to creating a world in which everyone has access to the vision care they need — whether that’s an eye exam, surgery, glasses, or medicine.

Now through the expansion of their global mission, every pair of DIFFs sold helps provide the Gift of Sight, through their global partner SightSavers, because the brand truly believe VISION IS POWER. This partnership will allow DIFF to help provide the gift of sight for every pair of DIFFs sold, through medicine, surgeries, glasses, eye exams, and more.

Justin Polgar is the Co-Founder of YES Cacao, a botanical chocolate company that helps individuals live a more healthy lifestyle. He is an alchemical chocolate technologist, focusing his chocolate innovation toward education in the holistic health and wellness category.

His journey includes graduating with a degree in Marketing Psychology: Introspective Humanistic Behavior from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Several jobs attracted his curiosity, from sales in health & wellness, to incentive marketing, to harvesting apples, healing arts, investment analysis, network marketing, artist promotion, t-shirts, etc… a long list of business cards without the deep satisfaction of meaningful purpose.

With a pure confidence and trust, he stepped into the mystery of mantra, starting each morning with the words: “I ONLY DO WHAT I LOVE”. Layers of disharmonious life-pursuits dissolved, leaving a simple and refined passion for using chocolate as a vehicle for medicine. Over 10 years of studying longevity formulas, consciousness, and confidence all merged into a single platform for sharing energy, presence, health, wellness, vitality, connection, and of course the powerful word: YES.

Claire Pettibone is the founder of Madison Grace Boutique, a social impact women’s accessories boutique. No stranger to conscious consumerism, Claire has consulted with social good brand startups from marketing campaigns to ghostwriting their initiatives. She soon discovered that a lot of women did resonate with the values of ethical fashion and conscious shopping after all. They did want to shop fair trade practiced and ethically made things but it didn’t meet their style. “I felt the same way,” Claire looks back, “a lot of ethical fashion brands and ethical marketplaces were starting to look the same.” She adds, “I ended up solving my own problem and it turns out a lot of women felt the same. Yes, we wanted ethical things that empowered the marginalized but we also wanted to be proud and confident in our stylish pieces while let’s face it – remaining chic.” With her California laidback roots, she is bringing Madison Grace to “women who give a care” – a term used to describe the community of conscious women she is helping to enable. Madison Grace is named after its customers. Madison Grace is the “it girl” who gives a care. She’s that one friend who always seems to be effortlessly chic and “in the know”. But she wants it all- she believes that eco and ethical can also be stylish and elevated. Madison Grace Boutique’s accessories are highly curated but will remain in its values of giving. Not only do they give ethical work, give an opportunity to the marginalized, give green by being conscious of their carbon footprint and intentional with their materials, but they also give back a portion of their proceeds to a nonprofit quarterly giving partner – and of course all because and for the women who give a care.

Sophie and Pete, based in New Zealand, love to create and wanted to start a business with a Little Difference. The couple started Little Difference, a 1 Card. 1 Tree initiative where they pay for the planting, raising and protection of one tree towards reforestation for every single product sold. They also only use 100% recycled paper products and 100% compostable packaging. Sophie Stevens is a geology graduate and artist from the Isle of Wight, UK. Pete Oswald is a professional skier and media producer from New Zealand. Sophie does all the artwork and Pete handles the accounts and sales.

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