In our social entrepreneurship series, The World at Work, Mashable interviews the faces behind the startups and projects that are working to make a global impact.
These companies are devoted to helping those in need — whether it’s those suffering from chronic illness or fledgling writers looking for their big break — and are using innovative technologies to do so. While the companies are diverse, they are all on a mission to change our lives for the better and improve society.
Here’s a roundup of featured projects from the past week, including exclusive video interviews with the founders of these innovative startups. To read more and watch the videos, click through to the full story, and follow the series to learn about more breakthrough companies.
1. WILL Interactive
Big Idea: WILL Interactive develops Virtual Experience Immersive Learning Simulations (VEILS), which are interactive movies that force users to make serious decisions as a learning experience.
Why It’s Working: With more than 70 games on topics including the military, financial decision-making and youth education, WILL Interactive has developed a new form of educational and therapeutic media.
Big Idea: Meddik is a search platform that anonymizes and categorizes people based on their medical issues and then presents relevant data — feedback about treatments or devices, for example — that has been voted up by similarly afflicted users.
Why It’s Working: The level of anecdotal information and resources found on Meddik means that those suffering from illness or prolonged conditions can benefit from a wealth of helpful, crowdsourced advice.
Why It’s Working: CauseCart seeks to revolutionize the culture of donation by enabling shoppers to give money to a charity of their choosing for free. All donations are handled between CauseCart and the ecommerce platform.
Why It’s Working: Traditional publishing has a lot of overhead costs and bureaucracy that make it hard for potentially popular books to get published; with it’s pledging model, Pubslush guarantees an audience before putting ink to paper. Plus, one book is donated for each one that’s purchased.
Big Idea: Benelab, founded by Seattle teenager Jack Kim, is a search engine that donates 100% of revenues to charity.
Why It’s Working: By transforming an everyday task — web search — into a vehicle for good, Kim and his team of fellow students are proving that Internet technology and a little scrappiness can empower anyone to become an entrepreneur and make a difference.
What do you think of the efforts of these startups and foundations? Let us know in the comments below.
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