With a greater focus on social and planetary responsibility and how our actions today impact those around us, both now and in our lives to come, more companies are seeking to create rational solutions and generate revenue around establishing products that make the world a better place. We've listed eight incredible innovations here.
1. Kiva: This non-profit organization is using a lending network to help alleviate poverty by partnering with microfinance institutions through the Internet and a worldwide network to let people all over the world borrow as little as $25 to start their own business and become self-sufficient. Since the company was founded in 2005, over 1.6 million people have borrowed money with over 900,000 loans made in a total amount of around $722 million across 86 countries. With an average loan size of just $416, the repayment rate is 98.71%. Kiva has helped countless people start their small businesses and become successful in their own right when they had no other sources to borrow money. This growth in self-sufficiency in many developing countries is helping to empower a huge number of individuals, increasing their personal purchasing power, and is lifting them out of poverty.
2. Meetup: This organization is the world's largest network of local groups that is designed to help more people self-organize and mobilize in a way that empowers them to make social changes at the community level. Helping people to work together in places where there was no prior knowledge of a sense of community or how people can contribute and improve their lives and their own communities by working toward a common goal. To date, Meetup has led to the development of more 9,000 action groups in local communities throughout the world.
3. POC Medical Systems: Quality affordable healthcare remains one of the biggest problems throughout the world. To help improve the state of healthcare, more practitioners are recognizing the benefit of focusing on early detection of curable disease, which means more medical devices and information sharing tools are needed that are easy to use and affordable. POC Medical Systems is providing some exciting solutions, including a Point of Care Testing product specifically for the early detection of breast cancer. Imagine how much the world would be if we could save millions of lives with the ability of early detection in breast cancer, and many other life-threatening diseases. We would have a greater chance to stem the tide of the heartbreak of loss of wives, mothers, sisters, and friends to this devastating disease.
4. Kalptree: This innovative company is forever changing how we use batteries to power our lives. Kalptree has developed a Li-ion rechargeable battery that overcomes the weight, safety, volume, and form factor limitations that traditional lithium-ion batteries have, leading to new safety and cost-saving features. As lightweight, flexible batteries, this solution can be manufactured in any shape and provides for lighter electronic devices. This means that they can be used in wearable devices for all types of applications as well as lead to lighter, more balanced tools. Using these batteries in electric vehicles will help them go for a longer distance at a lower cost. The freedom in design from these batteries can alter many items we use on a daily basis, reduce negative environmental impact, and provide a solution that is accessible for more people around the world.
5. Truveon: Practically every kind of building around the world has some type HVAC system, and Truveon is looking at turning each of these homes into a self-monitoring system; efficiency without home owners sacrificing comfort. With Truveon's TruEnergy system in place, an HVAC system can not only tell you how well it is actually running, but use previous data to monitor reasons it may not be running as efficiently (such as a window open upstairs). Truveon hopes to become the next step in home automation, with contractors installing their sensors from the get-go, home systems using data to keep the home owner comfortable, and alerting technicians to problems before the owner knows their system needs to be fixed.
6. Compact Solar Devices Inc: Another transformative company, released their device, the SunPort X1, which allows solar energy to be gathered anywhere you are, without requiring large, clunky panels to collect it. While you plug this device into an outlet, there's a solar field working with SunPort to put the same amount of energy back into the grid that you just finished using, helping more people develop carbon neutral lives everywhere. SunPort works with an app on your phone to track how much energy you use so it can be returned through SunPort's partnership with solar farms. This is a low-cost device that recognizes more people have access to existing outlets than they do to solar panels or solar devices. Using this device also means that the company donates some of what it would cost to build more solar farms, as well as provide free power to non-profit organizations to support their efforts to make the world a better place.
7. Suncor Energy Inc.: Much of business is stripping away our natural resources, but this company has found an innovative way to give back to the environment by developing a process to reclaim mine tailings. These remnants of mining are dried into a soil-like material that can be used to regenerate the land and provide fertile ground for growing new plants and trees. This re-vegetation process not only solves a problem of dealing with the remains from mining, but it also creates new land that can be eventually farmed or used to supply additional natural resources.
8. Grove Labs: This innovative team composed of students from MIT decided that the world could become a better place if we all looked at food differently. Their technology has focused on helping more people grow their own food and create their own home ecosystem. The company is creating affordable products and systems that anyone can use based on aquaponics, a method of producing food through fish, microbial life, and plants. This process has been proven to grow healthy vegetables, fruit, legumes, and herbs which people can develop and manage themselves rather than having to rely on expensive organic produce from retailers that they may not be able to purchase. In this way, Grove Labs is generating a way for people to eat better and sustain themselves no matter where they live.
Whether it is leveraging new energy sources, changing how we look at our food sources, helping improve medical care, or providing lending sources to help those in developing countries start their own businesses, these eight companies are benchmarks for a new type of business philosophy.