Sunday, August 26, 2007

Virtual Interview with Social Entrepreneur

YII is launching a virtual interview series with social entrepreneurs.

I will post the answers to the first two questions on the blog; you can find a complete interview transcript on the YII online community (you will have to register to access the interview).

First up is Jim Poss, Founder and CEO of Seahorse Power, which makes the Big Belly Trash Compactor.

Please briefly describe your business.

We make the world’s only solar powered trash compactor. Basically, it’s a trash can that can compact trash automatically to 1/5th of it’s size. This reduces costly and polluting collections by 5X.

How did you come up with the idea for the business?

I always wanted to be an inventor, and I tried many times to make prototypes of things that people wanted (I would test things out on friends and family). In college, I studied environmental science, and “got the bug.” I decided to devote my career to that, since it seemed so important. Years later, I got a job at a small electric vehicle manufacturing company. There, I learned all about motors, gears, batteries, solar panels…all the things that make the BigBelly work. Again, year later, it just hit me – by connecting a battery to a motor to a solar panel, you could compact trash. This would clean up litter and displace expensive garbage truck trips. And guess what, they do.

For more information, including Jim's tips for student entrepreneurs, why he decided to run a social venture, and what resources he found most helpful, visit the YII online community.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Entrepreneurs for Making a Difference

Looks like Richard Branson is not only a maverick entrepreneur, he's also a social(ly conscious) one!

Apart from enjoying this article, I also look forward to the launch and growth of The Elders.

I'm glad to see that Virgin is involved in charitable work. I wonder if they have a program for offsetting pollution from jet fuel... .