30 Social Entrepreneurs That Didn’t Make the Forbes List

Dwight Peters is a Social Entrepreneur and the founder of QuarterWaters. He interviews successful Social Entrepreneurs to learn how they did it. You can listen to his interviews at QuarterWaters.com 

Last week, the Forbe’s List of the Top 30 Social Entrepreneurs was released, an amazing and inspring article showcasing some of the best in our field. The Impact 30 list goes to show the steps social entrepreneurs are taking to combat some of the most serious problems we as a global community are facing. It will make any #SocEnt proud, but is the Forbes list of just 30 enough?

Right now, take a moment and think of 5 Social Entrepreneurs you know that are doing an awesome job that weren’t able to make the list. There is power in numbers, and the more the world see’s of socially responsible organizations, who they are and what they do, the quicker the world will embrace change.

One of the things that the Occupy Movement has been advocating for is, for businesses to do business in a socially ethical way. There are many who are doing that, without having to be told to do so, they just do it. They do it because they truly care about others, they truly care about making an  impact and they truly care about changing somebody’s life for the better.

Forbe’s may just now be recognizing their list of great social entrepreneurs, but whats truly happening is that Social Entrepreneurship is becoming mainstream. There is a paradigm shift occurring, and we have front seat tickets to watch the curtains open and see it all unfold. Now, when 94% of consumers would switch brands to support a cause, it is more important now then ever for us as a #SocEnt community to put every social entrepreneur we know on a pedestal for the world to see.

Here is a list I compiled of 30 social entrepreneurs that didn’t make the list:

Asher Hasan, Naya Jeevan- Pakistan

Asher Hasan, Naya Jeevan (Pakistan) Naya Jeevan partners with companies to roll out emergency health insurance to low-income workers making less than US$ 6 per day. Drivers, cooks, waiters and security guards can be insured at US$ 2.50 per month with a yearly coverage limit of approximately US$ 1,780 – enough for a cardiac bypass surgery. Naya Jeevan also packages the insurance with a variety of services, such as annual medical checks, preventative care workshops, as well as access to a 24-hour medical care and claims assistance hotline. Website

Lo Chay, 1001 fontaines pour demain- Cambodia

Lo Chay, 1001 fontaines pour demain (Cambodia) More than 900 million people around the world living in rural areas do not have access to safe drinking water. Using sand filtration and solar-powered water purification technology, 1001 fontaines provides clean, affordable drinking water to over 50,000 people at a price of US $0.01 per litre. To encourage local ownership, village entrepreneurs are trained to sell and distribute the water as well as maintain the water production site. Website

Jay Coen Gilbert, Bart Houlahan, and Andrew Kassoy, BCorporation- United States

B Lab is a nonprofit organization dedicated to using the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. Website

Jeremy Litchfield, Atayne - United States

Atayne makes high performing outdoor and athletic apparel for activities such as running, cycling, and cross-country skiing. However, they do things much differently than others in the industry. Not only does Atayne make products with exceptional performance, they make them in a way that is safe for people and the planet. They call it Performance with a Point of View. Website

Masa Kogure, Table for Two (TFT) - Japan

Masa Kogure, Table for Two (TFT) (Japan) One in seven people suffer from malnutrition, whereas 1.6 billion adults in the world are overweight or have health conditions related to overnutrition. TFT corrects this imbalance by transferring excess calories across the globe from developed countries to developing countries. Corporate cafeterias, university dining halls and public restaurants serve healthy TFT meals, donating US$ 0.20 per meal to purchase free lunches in impoverished primary schools in African villages. Website

Neelam Chhiber, Indus Tree Crafts Foundation - India

Indus Tree connects rural artisan producers to urban consumer markets. Its partly producer-owned retail brand, Mother Earth, focuses on home furnishings, fashion and food. indus Tree to date has trained over 10,000 artisans to invest their own working capital, and to develop into enterprising self-help groups. Website

Sameer Kalwani, Sarvajal - India

Sarvajal means “Water For All”. Nearly one billion people lack access to clean water, a crisis that is responsible for fully half of all hospitalizations for illness in the developing world. In India alone, over 40 million people suffer from waterborne diseases each year, erasing an estimated 73 million working days, or 600 million US in economic value. Sarvajal mission is to provide affordable, accessible, pure water for everyone. Website

Jason Panda, Ashanti Johnson and Elkhair Balla, BCondoms - United States

The mission of B Condoms is to reduce suffering and deaths due to sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the most affected segments of the United States population. There is an epidemic taking place within specific communities of the United States, wherby many people are as a result of STI’s. Though the STI rates in many of these communities mirror the rates of infection in the most traumatized parts of the globe, the founders of B Condoms felt that more was needed to highlight the issue. B Condoms seeks to address this issue by distributing an ultra-premium cool and chic condom and reinvesting a portion of its profits to individuals and organizations across the country that support STI prevention programs in those communities. Website

Jason Aramburu, Re:Char - United States

Re:Char empowers subsistence farmers in the developing word to enhance their crop yields and supplement their income while traping atmospheric carbon and enriching depleted soils. Website

Narayanan Krishnan, Akshaya Trust - India

Narayanan Krishnan was a bright, young, award-winning chef with a five star hotel group, short-listed for an elite job in Switzerland. But now he is founder of Akshaya Trust, an organization that seeks out the homeless under bridges and in the nooks and crannies between the city’s temples. The hot meals he delivers are simple, tasty vegetarian fare he personally prepares, packs and often hand-feeds to nearly 400 clients each day. Website

Alejandro Velez and Nikhil Arora, Back To The Roots - United States


Back to the Roots was founded by Alejandro Velez & Nikhil Arora during their last semester at UC Berkeley in 2009. . Inspired by the idea of turning waste into wages & fresh, local food, they experimented in Alex’s fraternity kitchen, ultimately growing one test bucket of tasty oyster mushrooms on recycled coffee grounds. With that one bucket, some initial interest from Whole Foods & Chez Panisse and a $5,000 grant from the UC Berkeley Chancellor for social innovation, they decided to forget the corporate route, and instead, become full-time urban mushroom farmers. Website

Joe Denim, Yellow Leaf Hammocks - United States

Yellow Leaf aims to engineer a turnaround in which marginalized ethnic groups such as the Mlarbri apply their artisan talents towards creating a micro-economy that will elevate them from their former state and maintain their cultural identity, with the added benefit of eradicating toxic farming methods within the communities they partner with. Website

Xavier Helgesen and Christopher Fuchs, BetterWorld Books - United States

Better World Books uses the power of business to change the world. They collect and sell books online to donate books and fund literacy initiatives worldwide. With more than 8 million new and used titles in stock, they are a self-sustaining, triple bottom line company that creates social, economic and environmental value for all of their stakeholders. Website

James Poss, Big Belly Solar - United States


BigBelly Solar is a global leader in providing sustainable waste and recycling collection solutions, with satisfied customer in virtually all of the UInited States and over 30 countries. The company provides customer benefits in two core areas- cost efficiency in delivering required waste collection services and development of more environmentally sustainable practices. Website

Brenda Palms Barber, Sweet Beginnings - United States

Sweet Beginnings is a wholly owned subsidiary of the North Landale Emploment Network and offers full-time transitional jobs for fomerly incarcerayed individuals and others with significant barriers to employment in a green industry – the production and sales of all-natural skin care products featuring its own urban honey. Website

Jane Johnson, Water 4 a Cause - Australia

Water 4 a Purpose is a charitable trust operating as a social enterprise selling bottled water to corporations in Australia. All of the profits are used to pay for water projects principally in Africa and Asia Pacific region. Website

Adam Lowry and Eric Ryan - United States

Eric knew people wanted cleaning products they didn’t have to hide under their sinks. And Adam knew how to make them without any dirty ingredients. Their powers combined, they set out to save the world and create an entire line of home care products that were more powerful than a bottle od sodium hypochlorite. Website

Tyler Gage, Runa Amazon Guayusa - United States

Runa Amazon Guayusa tea company empowers indigenous peoples by allowing them to earn income by growing Guayusa on rainforest land that would otherwise be sold to loggers. Website

Ashley Murray, Waste Enterprisers - Ghana

Waste Enterprisers is a triple-bottom-line social enterprise focused on urban sanitation. Waste Enterprisers’ business model is built around harnessing economic value from human waste. By re-branding human waste as a needed input instead of a waste output, our waste-based businesses create both a physical and financial demand for waste – completely reinventing the economics of sanitation. Website

Eduardo Balarezo - United States

Lonesome George & Co. is a social enterprise organization that combines branded apparel and experiential education to ignite a mind shift towards global interdependence. Website

Sameer Hajee, Nuru Light - Rwanda

Nuru Light is replacing expensive, dangerous, and unhealthy kerosene in rural Rwandan households by introducing a cheap, safe, and clean night lighting solution. The for-profit social enterprise believes that the solution to the developing world’s lighting crisis must be market-based with the mission of creating an affordable light that the world’s poor not only, but can afford. Website

Neil Bellefeuille, The Paradigm Project - United States

The Paradigm Project is a social enterprise working to create sustainable social, economic and environmental value within developing world communities. They combine the heart and mission of a non-profit with the discipline and market-based principles of a for-profit.Website

Derreck Kayongo, Global Soap Project - Africa

The Global Soap Project collects discarded soap from hotels and reprocesses it into new bars that are given to vulnerable populations throughout the world. We work with organizations that have existing operations in these communities to ensure the soap is distributed to those in need, with the goal of improving health through personal hygiene. 
Website

Will Hauser Lauren Walkers, Two Degree Foods - United States

Two Degrees works with a variety of partners to produce and distribute meals to hungry children. Their mission is to feed 200 million hungry children – one child at a time. For every nutrition bar you buy, they give a nutrition pack to a hungry child. Website

Mike Hannigan, Give Something Back - United States

Give Something Back Business Products is California’s largest independent office supplier and donates more than half of its profits to community organizations through a balloting process that involves GSB’s 17,000 customers and 80-plus employees. Website

When I asked you to think of 5 Social Entrepreneurs, which one’s came to your mind? 

Help us finish our list, please share with us.

Follow me on Twitter, join the convo #Socent

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Dwight Peters

Dwight Peters is a social entrepreneur and the founder of QuarterWaters. He interviews successful social entrepreneurs to learn how they did it. You can listen to his interviews at QuarterWaters.com.

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  • http://twitter.com/aurensays Auren Kaplan

    Thanks for quoting my article! Great list, well constructed and comprehensive.

  • Achyutha Sharma

    I think the Forbes list of top 30 and similar top charts are quite skewed and highlights an “american perspective” which please make no mistake, is NOT global !
    Social entrepreneurship in Asia and Africa is much BIGGER than the “West” can imagine. Its Just that the American media dominantly seem to bombard and highlight more US social entrepreneurs which is all packaged as “global”.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Achyutha,

    I understand exactly what your saying. Thats why I created this list, to show the global impact of social entrepreneurship.

    But as social entrepreneurs, we are in this together, I support any social entrepreneur any where in the world. Its our job to get the message out!

    Thanks for posting!

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  • Maliha Riz

    biggest social entrepreneur of pakistan abdul sattar edhi is missing… his ambulances are helping in so many countries…!!!!!

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