They say inspiration is all around us. And right at this precise moment, they couldn’t be more right.
We’re at one of Hollywood's most iconic studios, surrounded by our 30-strong group of social entrepreneurs. Joining us are four very familiar faces, along with some old friends who know exactly how our finalists are feeling.
Still wondering what we’re on about? Why don’t we let our inspirational speakers do the talking.
Leila Janah, Founder of LXMI and SamaSource
With two globally successful social enterprises and a best-selling book under her belt, Leila has plenty of words of wisdom for our finalists, and she’s not afraid to share them.
"Technology means that it's easier and more important than ever for companies to be transparent."
"For the first time, where we’re born doesn't have to dictate our fate. Work is at the core of human dignity. It's how we define ourselves and find our place in the world."
"Luxury is a largely unexplored market for social enterprise. If you're going to spend $200 on a jar of skin cream it shouldn’t just make you more beautiful, it should make the world more beautiful."
Raan and Shea Parton, Founders of Apolis Global Citizen
Built on the vision that business can create social change, brothers Raan and Shea set to work on a lifestyle brand that could empower communities worldwide. Their model, “advocacy through industry” has become a benchmark for many of our social entrepreneurs.
"Our projects aren't about what a product is meant to be, but about what it could be."
"There's plenty of well trained fisherman – they often don't have the right bait or the right pond."
"One of the biggest things in leadership is accountability. If everyone thinks you're a cowboy, no one wants to follow you."
Adam Braun, Founder of Pencils of Promise
As a serial social entrepreneur, best-selling author and philanthropist, Adam is a huge inspiration to our finalists. And before his judging duties commenced, it was his turn to take to the stage and provide some sage words.
"Every single one of us thinks about how we can find the person we want to be, but often we follow the path that society tells us we should. I believe that people discover not what they want to be, but who they want to be in those moments of discomfort. Often it's an external factor that comes and pushes you from behind. Then you're in the water in you realise everything's going to be fine."
"Data drives conclusions but emotion drives action. Every person is a story waiting to amaze."
"Make the little decisions with your head, and the big ones with your heart."
As if that wasn’t enough, our 30 social entrepreneurs had the opportunity to grill some of last year’s finalists. Last minute pitch tips were hot topic, along with the realisation that soon, they would be following in the footsteps of these six successful men and women who continue to use their business as a force for good.
The class of 2016
We welcomed Oscar Mendez, our 2016 Chivas Venture winner and founder of Conceptos Plasticos; a business which transforms plastic and rubber waste into an alternative construction material for housing, shelters and classrooms. In last year’s competition, Oscar received over $53,000 during the voting period and $300,000 in the live final.
Joining him were the four remaining finalists from 2016; Julia Romer, founder of Coolar; Maria Pacheco, founder of Wakami; Kenny Ewan, founder of WeFarm; Or Retzkin, founder of EyeControl and South Africa’s 2015 finalist, David Gluckman, founder of Lumkani.
Maria Pacheco explained how her business has evolved since last year’s Chivas Venture:
"It's been a total transformation. We were a worm and now we're a butterfly with wings. In my country social entrepreneurship doesn't mean much but having a large brand behind our movement has opened channels and really helped give women a voice. Everything's changed."
As the Inspiration Morning drew to a close, our social entrepreneurs left to prepare for the live final in a few hours’ time. And if our final five weren’t already nervous enough, we let them in on a little secret that the final would be streamed live on Facebook. It went down a treat.
So, who will it be? Siam Organic, Bioestibas, iDrop Water, Intendu or RecyclePoints? The decision is in the hands of our judges. Over to them.
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