Yoxi the Matchmaker: Hooking Up Innovators with Business Partners

New York Bike Share/via Alta brings its bike sharing system to New York.

A global bike sharing system. The biggest edible roof garden in Brooklyn. Curing Nature Deficit Disorder (NDD). Transforming sweatshops. This is the range of ideas that Yoxi (pronounced yo-see) is working with. By discovering “amazing people who work hard to change the world,” the organization aims to connecting them with appropriate business brands, the collaborations can boost visibility, grow good ideas into opportunities and spread the impact.

Yoxi calls these entrepreneurs "Social Innovation Rockstars" (or SIRs):

Alta Bicycle Share: Alison Cohen’s bike share system operates in Melbourne, Washington D.C. and Boston, and as of September 2011 started running NYC's new bike sharing. Want one in your town?

Warby Parker makes stylish glasses affordable by skipping the middlemen. That’s not enough -- for every pair Neil Blumenthal’s company sells at $95 they provide a pair to people in need.

Flickr by Shoops2011/via Project Noah identifies dragonflies and damselflies in the field.

Project Noah gathers photos of dragonflies and counts cactus. Yasser Ansari taps the power of citizen scientists to document wildlife with mobile technology, connecting people with the natural world while collecting a biological database.

New York Sun Works’ Greenhouse Project: This urban agricultural initiative promotes urban sustainability through science education with hydroponic farms that teach students and trains teachers on planting, composting, controlling pests, capturing rainwater, and harvesting.

Liberty & Justice: Chid Liberty develops local African factories and connects them with international retailers and individual consumers to produce fair-trade apparel for retailers, replacing “a culture of sweatshops with a culture of sweat equity.”

Flickr by TCarrigan /via Brooklyn Grange, a rooftop farmer's market.

Brooklyn Grange: The biggest edible rooftop garden in Brooklyn plants 40,000-square-feet with kale, swiss chard, 2,200 tomatoes, and more, four beehives produce 200 pounds of honey and five chickens lay eggs. Ben Flanner sees the farm on the cusp of a movement of neighborhood roof gardens.

Yoxi evolved from competitions like “How to make cities bike-friendly and “Trim the Waste of Fashion.” When founder, Sharon Chang mounted a contest to find ways to clothe people while avoiding waste and without damaging the environment, winners David Baron and Zeshan Muhammedi won with an apparel line aiming for 100% closed-loop recycling in the fashion/apparel industry. SEA’s current initiative, “Colors for Causes” gets college students to “wear their social responsibility.” Fight global poverty with a black hat. Join UNC’s Center for Social Justice community with a light blue hat. The duo donates 25% of its core revenues.

Yoxi’s lofty mission “elevates social entrepreneurs by leveraging their expertise for shared value business opportunities.” In plain English: it makes good cool. Interested in collaborating? Check out Yoxi's solutions presentation.

More on Social Innovation
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Shop for Good Ideas: The Unreasonable Institute Finalist Marketplace Is Open

Tags: Activism | Communities | Contests | Corporate Responsibility