8 Do-Good Startups that Change the Game.

1. neighbourly.com

Neighbourly is an online platform that connects community projects and initiatives with corporate philanthropy. Supported by the likes of Marks and Spencer and Starbucks, companies looking to embrace corporate responsibility in their area can go onto neighbourly.com and find community projects that reflect their values. Projects earn a ‘noise score’ based on how many view they have received, and users can see how much money has already been pledged to each project and by who. Very cool.


2. The Blueskin Energy Project.

These guys are a rad NZ (Dunedin) based social enterprise startup who are working on creating New Zealands first community-owned wind cluster, with the intention of diverting the resulting revenue back into community projects. Directors Charles Abraham, Tony Wilson and Chris Freear are working with their operations team and local community volunteers to create what will hopefully be a working blueprint for creating sustainable, community owned energy resources. See the recent RadioNZ interview on these guys here.

3. Who Gives a Crap?

These guys do apparently. Simon, Jehan and Danny created Who Gives a Crap out of frustration at the fact that around 40% of the worlds population don’t have access to sanitary toilets - causing all kinds of preventable health issues like diarrhoea and filling hospital beds across the developing world. They sell 100% recycled toilet paper and use their fun, quirky branding to stand out. 50% of all profits go to WaterAid to build toilets and improve sanitation in the developing world. Dope.


4. Soko

Soko was created as a way to empower and connect artisans and jewellery makers from the developing world with the digital market. On Soko you can discover incredible quality and creative ingenuity made in communities that lay outside of the digital economy. On average they have been increasing the income of artisans in emerging economies times four! Everything is made from sustainable and/or up cycled materials, and all beautifully crafted.

5. Catchafire

This wicked online network matches people wanting to give back to non-profits and charities that are in need of their skill sets. The cool thing about Catchafire is that rather than committing to a long-term volunteer position, users can scan through projects that are targeted to specific skills, and see straight away how much time over how long is needed. Its an amazing way of letting people get involved in passion projects and know how much time they will need to dedicate.


6. Aunt Bertha

Aunt Bertha is incredible. Having worked with marginalised communities here in New Zealand, I know first hand how hard it can be for vulnerable people to find information on where to go for help and what programs are available to them. Aunt Bertha was created out of Austin, TX and gives people a portal to access the help that they need in seconds. It also provides a vital sense of control over the process of finding assistance - allowing a sense of dignity in hard times.

7. Close to Home Housing

Heres one that could have come in super handy both for the Wanganui floods and further back, the Christchurch earthquakes. Close to Home is an online housing marketplace for post-disaster shelter options. They have taken inspiration from the recent tiny homes trend and created affordable and cool little options for people who’s homes have been destroyed. The idea is to provide semi-temporary shelter (that belongs to them) until they can afford to rebuild - although I think plenty of people may love living in these dope little abodes enough to settle in for good!


8. Wilding and Co

These guys are an innovative little New Zealand start up social enterprise who are combating the destructive self-seeding Pine tree population by harvesting the trees before they cone (thus before they become a problem) into Pure Essential Douglas Fir oil and other sustainable and valuable products. The resulting essential oil has anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and anti-viral properties. It is antiseptic and invigorating; promoting mental clarity and aiding in stress relief. They are also one of the fantastic little social enterprises to come out of the launchpad series held by Akina, residents of GridAKL.