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Start-ups making a change for good

Tweet We hear many stories these days about start up businesses doing some amazingly cool things. It seems we are in the age of the entrepreneur, any one can start a new business, build it up and … well the number of people who’ve made millions (billions) from their start-ups is far greater in the [...]

We hear many stories these days about start up businesses doing some amazingly cool things. It seems we are in the age of the entrepreneur, any one can start a new business, build it up and … well the number of people who’ve made millions (billions) from their start-ups is far greater in the past 10 years than it has ever been before.

We’ve start-up businesses that help us socially connect (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook), businesses that bring digital media to the TV (Boxee), businesses to help with our contacts (CloudContacts, Soocial), countless mobile phone solutions and many many more.

The internet has played a massive part in this generation of start-ups. Now anyone who can code HTML and CSS can build an online business – infact we’ve now got start-ups who specialise in helping you build your start up with less code (280Atlas). We are in the day and age where if you can dream it – you can build it (or find a person or tool set that can build it for you).

What’s beyond this?

Sure we know that the chances of your business making you as rich as Mark Z, or Sergey Brin are one in a hundred billion, in fact the chances of your start-up lasting longer than 18 months are slim to none. BUT, if you can pitch it right, get it in front of the right people and you have the right idea – with good investment and business advice you’ll have a FAR better chance of making it work!

No doubt you’ll be looking for investment in the tens of or hundreds of thousands. From time to time if you get “that” idea you might be looking for multiple rounds of investment with numbers in the millions. And that’s great, you’ll get rich, your staff will get rich and your investors will get rich.

Is there more than that?

What if YOU could invest in a business? What if you could help someone who is also pulling long hours, who’s future rides on this business? Could you help someone make a difference in their business to take it to that next level?

There are hundreds of thousands (probably millions) of small business owners in this world, itching for investment to help them take their business to the next level – and you & I can help!

While our technology start-ups need large sums of money, many life changing (hmm that should be life enabling) businesses, need just a few hundred dollars.

Kiva.org

kivaYou can think of Kiva.Org as an investment house – you sign up and for a minimum of US$25 you can invest in a business that can make a difference. The way Kiva works is pretty simple. Business owners (working with local Micro-finance companies) make an online profile, they tell you about themselves, their business (or idea) and how much they need to borrow. They also tell you about their repayment plan.

You simply look through the massive number of profiles, looking per country, or per industry type, or … like any sound investment advice you are encouraged to find businesses you are interested in. I love fresh bread so often look for those in the baking industry. I found someone yesterday looking to expand their organic coffee farm & anyone who knows me, knows I’m passionate about coffee.

Here’s a mind blowing fact for you, Kiva.org is on track to have distributed over US$100 Million in 2009 and aim to distribute over US$110 Million in 2010. That’s US$100 Million from people like you and me – going to start-up businesses that are life enabling for people, families and communities.

Freeset

freesetFreeset is a Jute Bag & Organic Tee-Shirt start-up based in Thailand, a start up with a massive difference. Freeset specialise in creating jobs for those looking to escape prostitution in the streets & slums of Thailand.

Like Kiva.org, Freeset encourages you to get to know their story, to learn about the women who’s lives are changed through new jobs, jobs they can take pride in. You can get involved by supporting their business. Their Jute bags are awesome, and YES they can do custom orders for your business, event, show, group etc.

Is your start-up looking for swag? Why not create your own line of Jute Bags and/or Organic T-Shirts that are really well made, quite cheap and help this start-up business continue to make a massive difference

Summary

In a world of modern web & technology focused start-ups, it’s easy to get wrapped up with the dream of making ourselves wealthy. These pools of wealth affect usually only a small cross section of society – generally those in already “wealthy” nations.

It’s great to see other start up’s leveraging modern technology to fuel the growth of life enabling businesses – helping us to create revenue streams for businesses that will enhance far greater slices of communities in far less wealthy states.

So … remember it’s a big world out there. Lets see businesses thrive, lets see businesses (start ups in particular) helping each other, all around the world, to create jobs, opportunities and life changing moments for people, through people like you and me!

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