We need a new generation of thought leaders and visionaries if we are to transform the way our species operates for a more sustainable and compassionate future. Luckily, thousands of young positive change agents are implementing their ideas around the world; here are 30 brilliant inventors, social entrepreneurs and business leaders who will create a better tomorrow.


Boyan Slat, founder, OceanCleanup, 21

Slat is a 21-year-old Dutch entrepreneur and inventor who creates technologies to tackle global issues of sustainability. His organisation has announced the world’s first …

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Iseult Ward, CEO, FoodCloud, 25

Iseult is the co-founder of FoodCloud, a social enterprise created to tackle poverty in Ireland. Whilst 450,000 people in Ireland suffer from food poverty, one million tonnes of food is wasted…

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Patrick Woodyard, co-founder, Nisolo, 29

Woodyard’s Nisolo is a leather shoemaker which creates luxury and high quality products while empowers its workers in Peru and Kenya with language classes, fair wages and …

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James Roberts, founder, MOM, 23

British James Roberts has created MOM, an inflatable incubator designed to decrease premature child deaths in refugee camps. MOM was awarded the 2014 International James Dyson award that celebrates …

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Tom Cridland, designer, The 30 Year Sweatshirt, 25

UK menswear designer Cridland has launched a unisex sweater that comes with a 30-year guarantee, to promote sustainable fashion. Cridland started his eponymous menswear…

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Amanda Campbell, founder, Comp-A-Tent, 23

The 23-year-old has launched her company Comp-A-Tent, designing what she claims is the first ever compostable tent, which she hopes will be used at music festivals – where one in five tents end up in landfills. The new invention will save …

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Shiza Shahid, CEO, Malala Fund, 26

In 2012 Shadid was building a career as an analyst at McKinsey & Co. in Dubai when her close friend Malala Yousafzai was shot by the Taliban in Pakistan while traveling home from school. Shadid then quit her job to help run …

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Tammy Tibbetts, founder, She’s the First, 30

Since its launch in 2009, She’s the First has helped hundreds of girls in more than 10 countries become the first women in their families to graduate from …

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Danielle Fong, cofounder, LightSail Energy, 28

After going on leave from the Princeton Plasma Physics programme, Fong cofounded LightSail Energy, a Khosla Ventures backed company in 2009. LightSail Energy has invented a compressed air …

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daniel yu

Daniel Yu, CEO, Reliefwatch

Yu’s startup, Reliefwatch, is a cloud platform that integrates with cell phones to help health clinics in developing countries track and manage their inventories. Although altruistic in goals, the service is also a …

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Ann Makoninski, inventor, Hollow Flashlight, 18

Makoninski created a prototype for the hollow flashlight—a hollow aluminum tube that cools the sides of Peltier tiles at the flashlight’s cylinder. Warmth from the human hand heats the …

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William Kamkwamba, inventor, 28

Kamkwamba is a Malawian innovator, engineer and author. He gained fame in his country when, in 2002, he built a windmill to power a few electrical appliances in his family’s house in Wimbe using blue gum trees, bicycle parts, and materials collected in a …

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Withelma Pettigrew, abolitionist, 26

Withelma “T” Ortiz Walker Pettigrew spent the first 18 years of her life in the US foster care system and was victimized by sex traffickers. Today college-educated T has become a voice of hope, campaigning against the world’s $96 billion…

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Amara Humphry

Amara Humphry, co-founder, Gooru, 28

Humphry’s Gooru uses crowdsourcing and big data to help students gain access to information and resources. The mission is to ‘honour the human right of education’ and Gooru is empowering …

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Anoop Jain, founder, Sanitation and Health Rights in India (SHRI), 28

Jain has helped to create an organisation which works with local communities in India to end open defecation and improve access to safe drinking water. SHRI sees overcoming these issues and providing access to sanitation as a right and not a …

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Jack Andraka, Inventor, scientist and cancer researcher, 19

19 year-old Andraka has already been compared to Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg. This Maryland teen invented a diagnostic test for pancreatic cancer when he was only 15 and now …

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Laurenellen McCann, social practice artist, 28

Laurenellen McCann is a social practice artist and an internationally recognised expert in civic engagement and community technology. McCann is also the executive producer of The Good Fight with Ben Wikler, a podcast and …

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Vivian Graubard

Vivian Graubard, White House Policy maker, 25

Graubard is a founding member of the United States Digital Service, a newly created tech and digital office at the White House. Previously, Vivian served as an Advisor to the United States Chief Technology Officer at the White House. There she led initiatives to fight …

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Arthur Zang, inventor, Cardio Pad, 26

Cameroonian engineer Arthur Zang is the inventor of the Cardio Pad. The Cardio Pad is believed to be Africa’s first handheld medical computer tablet. This device will allow health-care workers …

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Minhaj Chowdhury, cofounder, Drinkwell, 26

Drinkwell is helping to clean up water for some of the 200 million people in Bangladesh and India whose water is contaminated by arsenic and fluoride. Drinkwell produces filters that are …

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Eddy Gicheru Oketch, founder, Peace for Africa and Economic Development (PAD), 24

Eddy Gicheru Oketch founded Peace for Africa and Economic Development, (PAD). Oketch’s efforts have reached out to over 250,000 young people in Kenya, Mozambique, and Uganda, promoting …

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Kariuki Gathitu, Founder, Zege Technologies

Kariuki Gathitu is the founder of Zege Technologies a tech firm that primarily builds software for mobile phone payments in Kenya. Zege Technologies launched a product to make it easier for …

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Anna Squires Levine, president, Born Free Africa, 28

Born Free Africa works to end mother-to-child transmission of HIV. Of the 240,000 babies born each year with HIV, about 80 per cent live in Africa. Born Free works with governments and business communities to develop and empower …

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Shubhendu Sharma, founder, Afforest, 29

Entrepreneur and engineer Shubhendu Sharma Afforestt, started in January 2011, is a for profit social enterprise on a mission to bring back our native forests. Sharma now works with partners around the world on reforestation projects, planting forests in corporate settings, farms and cities and aims to …

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Isabel Medem, founder, X-Runner, 29

Medem founded X-Runner, a waterless sanitation system created for the slums of Lima, Peru, where regular toilets are unavailable. X-Runner provides an alternative to pit latrines, which are dangerous for …

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Daniel Gomez Iñiguez, cofounder, SOLBEN, 24

Iñiguez is a 24-year-old entrepreneur who cofounded Mexico-based SOLBEN. SOLBEN develops technology to transform vegetable or animal oil into biodiesel and is today Mexico’s biodiesel technology leader. Global sales—in the US, Central America, and India—are close to …

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Kago Kagichiri

Kago Kagichiri, cofounder, Eneza Education, 25

Kago Kagichiri cofounded Eneza Education which is a mobile education platform that creates educational content for low-tech mobile phones. The system is aligned to Kenya’s national curriculum and enables …

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Tom Osborn

Tom Osborn, founder, GreenChar, 20

20-year old Kenyan Tom Osborn is the founder of GreenChar an organisation that aims to reduce carbon emissions and reduce deforestation in Kenya by making charcoal briquettes from …

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Ludwick Marishane, Founder, DryBath, 25

Ludwick Marishane developed DryBath a no-water cleansing gel that is antibacterial and biodegradable. DryBath has the same effect as anti-bacterial cleanser, but it’s odourless and creates a biodegradable film that …

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Parker Liautaud, Explorer and climate change activist, 21

Parker Liautaud is a polar explorer and Yale undergraduate. At only 21 years of age, Liautaud has skied to the North Pole three times in an effort to study and draw attention to climate change. Liautaud is the youngest man to …

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