Social enterprises are re-energising business' attitude to planet and profit. Here's a hand-picked selection of some innovative start-ups changing business for good... 

Social enterprises are designed to create profit for society as well as business. And a big benefit for society is innovation and investment into clean, renewable energy. While we are still waiting for big business and world governments to act on energy, social entrepreneurs are tackling the issue by creating brilliant, innovative green technologies.

Check out these four social enterprises that are not only benefiting the environment on which we all depend, but also providing clean energy solutions to communities.

  1. Solarkiosk: This start-up has created an ‘autonomous business unit’ – a kiosk with built-in solar panels that makes it self-sustainable. It was designed for the 1.5 billion people in the world who are living off electricity grids. The kiosk provides a sustainable source of energy to charge anything from mobile phones to refrigerators. The German-based start-up is currently operating in Ethiopia, Kenya and Botswana.

  2. Bio-Bean: Coffee already energises us to get out the door in the morning and now it is promising to power our city. What’s that you say? It’s time for a coffee break? I think so. Bio-bean is a London based green energy company that collects coffee ground waste and then recycles them into biofuels. Currently, this 100% carbon-neutral energy source is being used by business to power buildings and transport. 

  3. Makani – Energy Kites: This google owned start-up has provided a renewable energy solution for island countries that are low on space. Introducing the Makani energy kite: a wind turbine that uses 90% less material than conventional wind farms, and generates power through a tethered airfoil that flies in circles up to 1,000 feet above the ground. This kite looks way more complex then anything I’ve ever flown, but this techy invention promises a big impact on making islands energy independent as well as carbon neutral. 

  4. Pollinate Energy: This impressive group of young Australians are successfully improving the lives of India’s urban poor by providing them with renewable energy options such as solar powered lights and cooking appliances. The social enterprise has been created for families who lack access to electricity and with the help of a five-week payment plan; they are able to buy products that greatly improve living conditions.

These pioneer start-ups are leading the way towards sustainable energy independence as well as providing sources of power for those who live in energy deserts. They are developing  types of solutions that are needed to address both people and planet. They are true embodiments of social enterprise.

Have you got a business plan that could change the world for the better? Pop along to Virgin Start-Up and see how you can make your dream happen! 

This is a guest blog from Brianna Brown, Intern at Virgin Unite. This is a guest blog and may not represent the views of Virgin.com. Please see virgin.com/terms for more details.

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