Post imageBy Sarah Green

Since the birth of the United Nations 68 years ago, its mandate has been to address the world’s most pressing issues in order to maintain international peace and security.

To help solve these challenges, the UN is increasing its task force — but not in the way you might think.

United Nations officials are encouraging, supporting, and partnering with young entrepreneurs who are helping to swiftly and efficiently create sustainable solutions to global challenges.

On UN day (October 24, 2013), the UN hosted more than 150 of the country’s top young entrepreneurs for the Empact Showcase Legacy Event.

Over the past year, young entrepreneurs meeting the minimum criteria applied to be a part of the Empact Showcase, an online platform highlighting the power of young entrepreneurs and the important role that they play in solving pressing issues.  The Showcase…

  • Highlights & celebrates the impact entrepreneurs make on the global economy
  • Dispels myths about who entrepreneurs are & entrepreneurship as a career option
  • Motivates aspiring entrepreneurs & connects them to role models
  • Maps the power and influence of young entrepreneurs

This recognition and support was extremely meaningful to the entrepreneurs in the 2013 Showcase.  Co-Founder of Context Media, Shradha Agarwal says,

“Being honored in the ECOSOC Chamber at the United Nations was a lifetime milestone for me.  As a company with a mission to change healthcare education, it was greatly inspiring to be in a room where the world’s most important discussions take place between the most key participants on topics of utmost significance. Sitting in the seats of those people with the ability and commitment to making a difference in our world energizes, empowers and enlightens us to keep working diligently on our companies to make contributions to these areas needing innovative solutions.”

Shradha Agarwal, Founder of Context Media receiving her Empact100 award in the ECOSOC Chamber at UN Headquarters.

From right to left – Sheena Lindahl, President, Empact, Kay Koplovitz, Founder of USA Networks, ScyFy Channel & Springboard Enterprises, Shradha Agarwal, Co-Founder, Context Media, Lawton Ursery, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Sage Software, and Sarah Green, Partner, Empact

Photo Credit: Sheryl Tuazon, The Picture Bakery

During the event at the UN, participants heard how five social enterprises listed in the Showcase (GiveForward, Collaborative Group, ONEHOPE, Hotels for Hope & Back to the Roots) are achieving social change rapidly.

Innovative Social Impact Panel

From left to right:  Diana Walker (UN Foundation Global Entrepreneurship Council), Desiree Vargas Wrigley (GiveForward), Nikhil Arora (Back to the Roots), Kathleen Wright (Collaborative Group), Neil Goldman (Hotels for Hope), Jake Kloberdanz (ONEHOPE)

Photo Credit: Sheryl Tuazon, The Picture Bakery

Collectively, just this group of five has:

  • Raised and donated more than $1 million in contributions to causes such as breast cancer, childhood hunger, autism, clean water, and many others;
  • Created more than 2,255 artisan jobs and $450,000 living wages in the developing world;
  • Helped individuals raise more than $70 million to help cover the costs of their out-of-pocket medical expenses; and
  • Turned waste into fresh, local food by bringing sustainable grow-at-home products into households across the country

One of the best contributions the UN and UN Foundation can make is to uphold their commitment to continue supporting and encouraging young entrepreneurs around the world and unleashing their innovation and passion to solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges.