Causeartist Presents: The 37 Social Entrepreneurs to Watch for in 2017

By Grant Trahant - posted on Causeartist

This will mark the 4th edition of the Social Entrepreneurs to watch for list. If you want to check out the previous years social entrepreneurs you can see them here (201420152016). Over the years I have had the great pleasure of speaking with over 100 social entrepreneurs while running Causeartist. It’s always great to shed more light on social entrepreneurs who are doing incredible things everyday.

I truly believe we are starting to see a shift in the traditional business models that have run the world for the past century. The social enterprise business model has manifested in the 21st century and is sparking a business revolution. This list is full of Individuals who are taking this new business model and changing our world.

You can see examples of this shift all over the world. In the European Union, 1 out of 4 new enterprises set-up every year are social enterprises. In the Philippines, 25% of businesses have become a combination of for-profit and non-profit (2015). In Senegal, 18.1% of the population are pursuing social entrepreneurial activity (2015). Moreover, consumers are discovering and moving towards purchasing products from ethical brands. 56% of US consumers stopped buying from companies they believe are unethical along with 35% of consumers not buying from brands they perceive as unethical even if there is no substitute available.

We still have much more work to do. We need to get more investors involved. We need to get big box retail stores to transition the brands they carry. We need to continue to share ideas, articles, and brands. Our power as readers, innovators, and consumers has never been more powerful. Lets use this power to build a more sustainable international economy.

Below are the 37 Social Entrepreneurs to watch for in 2017. I am sure I have left some incredible innovators and social entrepreneurs off this list, and for that I apologize. These are just the individuals that I see doing incredible things and building ethical and sustainable companies.1 I hope you enjoy the list and have a great new year.


Emma Wingfield and Laine Henry are the founders of Five | Six Textiles, a home decor brand dedicated to preserving the tradition of hand woven textiles from Côte d’Ivoire. By collaborating directly with the weaving collective of Waraniéné, Five | Six embraces time-honored weaving techniques by blending them with the modern aesthetic, and translating them into products that reflect a well-traveled home. An additional 10% of each purchase is invested into a fund for Waraniéné to supply invaluable support for their families. Each textile is a work of art; handwoven with 100% cotton on upright frame looms, the same way cloth has been produced for centuries. This partnership creates an artisan-to-consumer business, ensuring that their products come straight from the weaving collective to your home. This creates consistent employment for the artisans, provides vital support for their community, and preserves an artistic practice for years to come. Emma is a researcher and writer interested in the economic development of the art market and it’s effect on local and global communities. She met the weavers of Waraniéné during a research trip to Côte d’Ivoire in 2014. Laine is a designer. Beginning her career in fashion, she spent 10 years designing clothing for multiple international brands before pivoting to UX design, bridging the gap between art and commerce. Both are based in New York City.

Read about the 36 other inspiring Social Entrepreneurs here.