high-impact social entrepreneurs
At the turn of the year The Unreasonable Institute began showcasing 45 social entrepreneurs competing to attend a rigorous six-week mentorship programme with some of the world’s most prominent innovators, entrepreneurs and investors. Each of the 45 finalists was selected from a global pool of 300 applicants in 60 countries via the Unreasonable Finalist Marketplace through which they competed for 50 days to raise $8000 each in small donations. The first 25 finalists to reach the $8000 goal were given access to the mentorship programme and qualified as Unreasonable Fellows.
The applicants were told to present a financially self-sustaining venture that would be able to scale up to serve the needs of at least 1 million people with demonstrable customer validation through sales or pilots. This year’s finalists included a 2010 CNN Hero from Kenya who has distributed more than 10,000 solar lanterns, as well as an American inventor with a water purification system that can roll up to the size of a ruler.
Recognising the success of last year’s Unreasonable Institute, HP (ranked 2nd in Newsweek’s U.S. 500 and Global 100 Green Rankings for 2010) has stepped in this year to provide prize bundles for top earners, technology for the entrepreneurs to share their stories, and, most impressively, a scholarship fund for the entrepreneurs. The partnership shows that HP clearly understands the power high-impact social entrepreneurs can have to craft and scale up solutions to problems around the world. Moreover, HP grasps the benefits of supporting a geographically disparate set of social entrepreneurs, thus reaching within and across global communities and gaining from the goodwill created by these endeavors. With this partnership the Unreasonable Institute and HP have created a unique and exciting programme with demonstrable success.