By Michael “Luni” Libes
It does not take a multinational company to impact the lives of billions. Or to noticeably improve the world. Or to be a force of good. Just a few months ago, seven companies joined together in Fledge, a new business incubator, to demonstrate to the world that it is possible for for-profit companies to make a difference in the world. To do good, while doing good business.
These seven companies have the potential to improve the lives of billions, to save millions of lives, and save hundreds of millions of trees, to help us reuse and share resources, to share ourselves and our time, to recreate a world where we know our neighbors, and to work together with our neighbors to create and fund the world we want to live in.
For the finale of the Fledge program, each of these seven companies in turn took to the stage at the Playhouse/Intiman Theater in the Seattle Center. The event was part of the Next 50 celebration of commerce and innovation, a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the 1962 World’s Fair, and look forward into the possibility of a brighter, better future here in Seattle and around the world.
Given this stage, the presenters decided to go well beyond the typical investor pitches, and instead shared their big visions, their hopes, and their dreams. They asked the audience not only to invest in the potential of these companies, but to join in supporting these companies, to share the stories with their friends, and together, to help make a difference in the world. In the order of presentation:
- Trash Backwards provides a plethora of crowdsourced and curated options to upcycle your “trash” into something new.
- BURN Manufacturing constructs and distributes clean cook stoves in the developing world, with efficiencies that improve lives and save forests.
- myTurn makes renting as easy as buying, with the platform to bring the inventory of the tens of thousands of existing rental stores online.
- HERE, Inc. breaks down social barriers so you can easily connect to your neighbors, find local events, and build stronger communities.
- Personify lets you quickly and easily find opportunities to volunteer your time, anywhere, anytime, all from your smartphone.
- TayaSola lets the people of the developing world generate their own power and light, selling kits and parts for clean power solutions.
- Community Sourced Capital helps small businesses crowdfund growth capital directly from their communities.
If seven companies can do this much, imagine a world with hundreds of conscious companies. Fledge exists to make that dream reality. If you have a “conscious” idea or early-stage company, applications are open now for the Winter 2013 program. If you can help companies like this, sign up as a mentor. Or if you are an investor who can help fund this world we want to live in, let us know.
Together, we can improve the lives of billions, including our own.
About Michael “Luni” Libes – http://about.me/luni
Luni is a 20+ year serial entrepreneur, founder/co-founder of five companies. His latest startup is Fledge, the “conscious company” incubator. In addition, Luni is Entrepreneur in Residence and Entrepreneurship Instructor at Bainbridge Graduate Institute, and an Entrepreneur in Residence Emeritus at the University of Washington’s Center for Commercialization. Luni is author of The Next Step: Guiding you from idea to startup.