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Lessons from the Meaningful Business 100

In this time of darkness, Meaningful Business 100 leaders provide inspiration for how to advance the UN Global Goals, including gender empowerment, while filling gaps in education and creating new products and services to address global challenges.

In recent days, I was able to talk with a number of the 2023 winners of the MB100. This blog shares some of the key trends that we see among the winners, highlighting interesting new language and paradigms. It is inspiring to see the MB100 leaders create new types of business models and ways to deliver co-benefits to society.  

Gender Empowerment

Technology can play an important role in advancing gender empowerment. Training women with digital skills in rural areas is one way to raise standards of living for women and their families. Frontier Markets works with 5000 villages to help women become entrepreneurs. The company delivers products in the following sectors: financial products, clean energy, agricultural products, and health. Ajaita Shah of Frontier Markets is training “sahelis” – “digitally skilled rural women who are influencers and assist the community in making purchases. By training women in rural areas, Frontier Markets is providing a “last mile” solution.

Gaps in Education

Several of the MB100 leaders are filling gaps in traditional markets for education, from bridging the gaps in STEM to providing social and emotional learning. Ronaldo Cohin of Brazil, founded Jade Autism to develop educational software to support teachers develop curriculum for children with autism. The software is now available in 180 countries, reaching 160,000 children. By developing gamified solutions, Jade Autism software creates new ways of learning.

Collaborative Technology

In recent years, MB100 leaders are finding ways to use technology in collaborative ways.  Companies such as Atlas AI and Frontier Markets are using Artificial Intelligence (AI) for good. Humans in the Loop in Bulgaria trains people in areas of conflict to work remotely on AI data, granting them a livelihood. Beam, a UK-based company, offers a crowdsourcing platform for training homeless people.

Cost Reduction

Several of the MB100 leaders are creating products that meet social needs at a fraction of the costs of their competitors. Smart Air provides air purifiers at lower prices. Ugani Prosthetics uses laser printing to create prosthetics which cost a fraction of the traditional price for artificial limbs.   

Integration of Social and Environmental goals

According to MB100 founder Tom Lytton-Dickie, “we are increasingly seeing a dual-focus where leaders are developing models that drive both a social and environmental impact. We’re also witnessing more tech-enabled solutions, particularly those leveraging AI. We look forward to supporting their work as they continue to scale and make a substantial difference.”

For more information about the MB100 leaders, go to: The 2023 MB100 - Meaningful Business

Owned by: Institute of Directors, India

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About Author

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    Deborah Leipziger

    Author. Advisor. Sustainability Expert. Lecturer

    Author, Consultant on Social Innovation, Sustainability, and Human Rights, Lecturer, Senior Fellow, Institute for Social Innovation, Babson College, USA, Founder, The Lexicon of Change

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