Community

Meet the Finalists for the CommonBond Social Impact Award!

We're excited to announce the three finalists for the 3rd annual CommonBond Social Impact Award. Through the CommonBond Social Impact Award, we give $10,000 to an early-stage entrepreneur using business to drive social impact. The finalists will come to the CommonBond headquarters in New York City on May 5th to compete for a chance to win $10,000 for their venture. 

Your votes selected these three amazing entrepreneurs from nine semifinalists. Semi-finalists were chosen from almost 100 applicants who submitted videos explaining why their businesses are a positive force for change. Congratulation to all the semifinalists!

Check out the finalists' videos and learn about how they'll use the award money, why the judges should choose them, and their favorite social entrepreneur:

Eat Offbeat

Eat Offbeat delivers authentic ethnic meals that are prepared and delivered by refugees in New York City.

Manal Kahi, Eat Offbeat's CEO and Co-Founder:

If you win the CommonBond Social Impact Award, how will you use the $10,000? 

If selected, Eat Offbeat will use the $10,000 CommonBond Social Impact Award to finance the purchase and branding of a food delivery van. The mini-van will allow us to: 1) scale our delivery operations, 2) hire more refugees as drivers and delivery operators, 3) reinforce our brand by having a branded van roam through the city.

Why should the judges choose your startup to win? 

Eat Offbeat sheds a different light on the ongoing "refugee crisis" and can have a tremendous impact on the issue beyond simply employing refugees. Eat Offbeat has received a great amount of press coverage, proving how much the public is craving not only new ethnic cuisines but also, perhaps more importantly, a different narrative around refugees. $10,000 can go a long way. With very limited resources, we've already hired and trained 8 chefs and 1 kitchen manager, and delivered thousands of meals around Manhattan. Our chefs are already excited about the opportunity and about all the new dishes they'll be able to share should Eat Offbeat win!

Who is your favorite social entrepreneur?

Hamdi Ulukaya, Founder of Chobani. Although he doesn't fit the typical definition of a social entrepreneur, I admire his commitment to provide opportunities to refugees through his business and his belief that businesses should play a much bigger role in solving social problems.

Kheyti

Kheyti designs, adapts and implements low-cost farming solutions that help growers in India increase the yield and predictability of their produce.

Saumya, Kheyti's Co-Founder:

If you win the CommonBond Social Impact Award, how will you use the $10,000?

Technology partnerships: Our "Greenhouse-in-a-box" incorporates production advisory services for smallholders (small farmers who do not own or control the land they farm)know-how on what to grow, when to grow and how to grow inside the greenhouse. We wish to e-enable this process with a platform that can send SMSes to farmers to augment the physical service. The funds will be used to partner with solution providers in India and East Africa.

Viability-gap funding: Even after cutting costs to 60% of existing solutions, farmers can't afford our greenhouses without financing. We are going to sell 5 greenhouses to early adopter farmers in May and will use the funds to subsidize the investment.

Why should the judges choose your startup to win? 

Firstly, agriculture has almost limitless potential for global impact. The world is home to 500 million small farmers who desperately need access to technology, advisory and market support. Secondly, our model is disruptive, replicable and scalable. It combines different technologies to create a "one-size-fits-all" box that is bankable and has the potential to bring deep and lasting change to the life of each rural household. Thirdly, we have a proven track record of commitment to making impact. In our earlier endeavors, thousands of farmers have trusted our ability, passion and integrity and signed on with us for various services.

Who is your favorite social entrepreneur? 

Kheyti's advisor, Vijay Mahajan, is my role model. He is known as the Father of Microfinance in India and is the founder of BASIX and PRADANtwo large social enterprises that have collectively impacted more than 4M lives positively. Social entrepreneurship can be a lonely and hard journey. Vijay has incredible perseverance in finding solutions to complex problems. Embodying a startup mindset, in the past year, at the age of 60, he has incubated two ventures in rural distribution and renewable energy. He is an inspirational leader who is always optimistic while remaining pragmatic about choosing his battles.

Nyweza

Nyweza aims to make unregulated public passenger transportation safer in Uganda.

Blesson John, Nyweza's Co-Founder:

If you win the CommonBond Social Impact Award, how will you use the $10,000? 

We will use the prize money towards product development and to hire employees to help us with user research and the pilot study we plan to start this year.

Why should the judges choose your startup to win? 

You should choose us because we bring a balance of a compelling story countered with a mix of idealism and pragmatism. Our team has prior experience in getting medical devices to market as well as in international development, so we realize that we're in a marathon and not a sprint. While each individual is great at their field and we execute well, our biggest strength is that we understand there is a lot we don't know, and we are quick to seek mentorship and guidance in areas where we lack knowledge.

Who is your favorite social entrepreneur? 

That's a tough one! One of my favorites I'd say is Krista Donaldson of D-Rev, a company that also develops world-class, affordable health technologies. She's been doing phenomenal work in the space I am passionate about (technology meets global health) for awhile now. Also, she's published some fantastic articles and resources that I've found super helpful as I aspire to reach that level of excellence one day.

No items found.

Subscribe to our newsletter:

Interested in seeing how refinancing can help you reach your financial goals?

Take the quiz