March 20, 2017
In these turbulent, politically charged times, you might think that the hard core optimistic innovators might be getting a little bit down, feeling cowed, or on the retreat. Nonsense. For the past three years Chivas has been running an awesome initiative, Chivas Venture. Each year they scour the planet for 30 incredible impact leaders, bring them all together, take their business models to boot camp with my dear friends at the Skoll Centre and then award USD 1 million to those that rise to the top at a live pitch session in the US. Imagine X Factor where the singing is replaced with people making a positive impact and where the judges want to help more than judge... Imagine X Factor if it were awesome.
I was honored to represent Elvis & Kresse on a panel of 3 speakers including Innocent’s coFounder Richard Reed and Belu Water’s Karen Lynch. We were asked to formulate our remarks around a tweaked yet very familiar phrase: Make Society Great Again. There was resounding agreement on how much good can be achieved with the right team, total focus, and the daring to challenge status quo mediocrity.
It was simply, outstandingly fun. There was François van den Abeele of SEA2SEE, who works with fishermen in Barcelona to clean up the abandoned fishing nets polluting our oceans, transforming them into glasses frames. Then Daniel Vach from Sens Foods, who makes tasty sustainable protein from insects. And Dickson Ochieng of Sanivation who turns poo into power in Nigeria.... Yep. Poo. If you want to meet all 30 of my new friends, learn more here.
What was my takeaway? If you mix equal parts of mission driven entrepreneurs with Chivas based cocktails you get a very strong sense that Society is just getting started and that nothing, and no one, will stand in the way of those who are delivering a better world for everyone.