By Morgan Clendaniel
The world of business is changing, and new companies are finding ways to create value both for their bottom line and the communities they work in. We've profiled several of these new businesses--all run by entrepreneurs under the age of 35--in our series called Change Generation. Here are some of the most exciting young businesses out there, led by young people who will be instrumental in shaping the future:
Anand Shah's company Sarvajal is working to bring clean water to India. But it's not just giving it away. Instead, it's creating a network of water entrepreneurs, giving each a clean water franchise to run. Each of these franchisees sets up "water ATMs," where rural Indians can go and see their water being purified and bottled.
Engineers at Cal Tech, including Asghar Aryanfar, have--at the urging of the Gates Foundation--created a new toilet for the developing world that will help stop disease and also generate power, even in the most remote locations.
Sebastian Lindstrom's What Took You So Long is a "disruptive filmmaking lab," dedicated to traveling to the most remote corners of the globe to document people who are doing good things (and making money making ads for companies doing good things, too, of course).
Guatemalan native Maria Rodriguez is fixing her country's economy from the ground up, by investing heavily in worms with her company ByoEarth. The worms eat trash (solving a persistent problem of how to dispose of waste) and the resulting worm waste can be sold to farmers as a powerful fertilizer.
Kavita Shukla's project is making sure we don't waste so much food, using age-old natural methods. Her company Fenugreen Freshpaper makes a product that looks like a dryer sheet, is powered by the spice fenugreek (whose properties she learned about from her grandmother), and which miraculously keeps produce fresh much longer.
Simon Griffiths, Jehan Ratnatunga, and Danny Alexander make toilet paper. But it's toilet paper with a mission. Who Gives A Crap TP is a buy-one, give-one form of bathroom hygiene. Buy their product--funded on Indiegogo with a stunt where Griffiths sat on a toilet until the company reached its goal--and money goes toward helping clean up sanitation in the developing world.
The shoes you find in the shoe store are so boring. The designs on Aaron Firestein and Raaja Nemani's Bucketfeet canvas sneakers come from street artists all over the world, giving those artists a reliable source of income and giving you unique stylish kicks that everyone will ask about.
Copyright 2012 by Fast Company. Reprinted with permission.