We’re deviating from our regular schedule to bring you the best new business ideas of 2006. Below, non-profit and social cause.
- Calling for a cause: Belgian Ello Mobile is a new mobile operator that was established with the sole aim of giving away 100% of its profits. Ello is a mobile virtual network operator – it uses an existing network. Instead of offering bargain-basement cellphone plans, the company offers its customers the chance to contribute directly to a cause with every call they make, and every text message they send. Customers can currently pick one of six projects, from protecting the jungles of Sumatra to providing mobile schools to street children in South America. More »
- Mobile libraries: Doing good while building its brand, Brazilian bus company Itapemirim has set up a library on wheels. Itapemirim, the major bus carrier in South America, covers more than 85% of Brazilian territory, and its buses travel more than 300 million kilometres per year. The company recently started supporting a project developed by well-known local cartoonist Mauricio de Souza: a library on wheels. The library buses will travel throughout the country to give low income kids the opportunity to improve their reading skills and be exposed to a variety of cultural experiences. More »
- Cookies with a cause: As its tagline says, a small South African manufacturer of upmarket cookies and brownies is “creating opportunity, one bite at a time.” Khayelitsha is one of South Africa’s largest townships, located on the outskirts of Capetown. Its inhabitants are locked in a constant struggle against poverty, unemployment and violence. Two years ago, Alicia Polak, a former investment banker, founded The Khayelitsha Cookie Company (KCC). Ms Polak wanted to offer more than monetary aid, and decided to help the township’s women build a sustainable living. More »
- Speaking books for health education in low literacy areas: Low literacy levels in Africa are part-and-parcel of everyday life, and seriously reduce the effectiveness of health care literature. In association with the South African Depression and Anxiety Group, Books of Hope has designed and produced interactive, multilingual Speaking Books that can be seen, read, heard and understood regardless of someone’s reading ability. More »
- Mobile schools: Mobile School is a Belgian foundation that provides portable schools for street children. Instead of taking homeless children and placing them in an institutional setting, which often doesn’t work, the Mobile School reaches out to children in their own environment. The goal isn’t just to teach them basic reading and writing skills, but also to help them learn that they deserve a better life. They’re given time to develop self-esteem and slowly prepare themselves for life off the streets, or if that isn’t possible, at least make their life on the streets more humane. More »