Recently, Spire’s undertaken a passion project called Achroma, which aims to rid the banking industry of implicit bias based on race, ethnicity, religion, gender, and orientation. Some might say this is a pretty audacious goal. However, given the number of technology-based social enterprises succeeding at solving society’s biggest problems, our very important undertaking has more than a fair shot at success.
Kiva has provided over a billion dollars in microloans to nearly 3 million people, helping to alleviate poverty throughout the world. Change.org has enabled more than 240 million petition starters and signers to take action on issues they care about. Khan Academy has democratized learning by providing a free, world-class education to about 100 million people in 190 countries per year. Staggering, huh?
Tech non-profits, for-profits, public-benefit corporations, and Certified B Corps are sprouting up every day. Rightfully so – software and the internet afford people who want to make a difference the ability to do so on a much broader scale, more efficiently and more effectively. This is exponential change! Going door to door can’t hold a candle to building an app, a platform, or a network like these companies…
Healthify makes healthcare work better in low-income communities. KoBo Toolbox improves data collection and analysis for humanitarian crises. Be My Eyes connects people who are blind with volunteers across the world. First Access makes it easier for banks to lend to borrowers in informal markets. OkHi allows people who do not have a physical address to have access to the same services as people who do.
At Spire, beyond Achroma, we’re currently working with numerous impact-driven organizations. The Possibility Pool enables adults living with disabilities to find gainful employment. Educause helps higher education elevate the impact of IT. Community Funded is a crowdfunding platform that simplifies philanthropy. Formed delivers Catholic videos, audio talks, eBooks, and movies on-demand online. COLS is creating a biobank in order to make major advances in health and healthcare. And, Cancer Support Community provides tools, support, and advocacy to people impacted by cancer. Working on these projects is more inspiring and rewarding than you can imagine.
Technology innovators and entrepreneurs wield great power in their ability to take an idea from nothing to something. When they use that power for good, they can move mountains. Sometimes, they’ll make money and sometimes they’ll just make magic. Regardless, I have no doubt that some of the biggest advances of our time will come from social enterprises. I sure hope that Spire will be involved with lots of them.