A new generation of entrepreneurs is rising around the world. More than ever before, entrepreneurship plays an important role in global economies. Entrepreneurs create new businesses and boost national GDPs and income, but they also create social change and help break dependence on traditional systems. It is time we take a closer look at start-ups and the people behind them. Here are four American and four Ukrainian entrepreneurs who are inspiring change in this generation.
1. Brian Chesky
Camp is the co-founder of peer-to-peer room and home rental company Airbnb. Along with co-founders Joe Gebbia and Nathan Blecharczyk, Chesky decided to start the company after he realized he could not afford rent and decided to rent his own apartment for money. He took this idea to the next level and used it to start Airbnb. Airbnb has grown massively over the years and is now used by more than 300 million people in 81,000 cities in 191 countries.
2. Delane Parnell
Do you ever wish you could play video games for homework? Well now you can thanks to Delane Parnell’s company PlayVS. PlayVS makes a Web app used by U.S. schools to create e-sports teams and participate in competitive leagues*. The app organizes matches and allows kids to follow their passions and talents in video games. Parnell recently signed a deal with the National Federation of State High School Associations, which decides the rules for American high school sports.
3. Anne Wojcicki
Wojcicki founded the genomics company 23andMe. After working in healthcare investment on Wall Street, Wojcicki decided that she wanted to pursue a career in biotechnology research instead and ended up starting 23andMe. She created kits* that allow people to test for health risks and diseases. Now, people can also use 23andMe kits to find out more about their ancestry* and ethnic origins. Wojcicki is changing the way people diagnose themselves and learn more about where they come from.
4. Kelly Peeler
Peeler started her company Money Mentor to help the current generation of college students understand and navigate* financial aid* better. The company uses artificial intelligence and trains college students to use texting to provide customized* help to those who are having trouble figuring out all the financial forms they need to complete for college.
5. Oksana Borysenko
Borysenko founded Enable Talk, a product that can change the way deaf people communicate with others. This product is a “pair of gloves with sensors that can translate sign language into speech” through a mobile application. Seeing parents whose children were deaf inspired Borysenko to make changes in the way deaf people communicate with non-deaf people.
6. Volodymyr Liulka
Liulka helped start the BrainBasket Foundation, an organization that hopes to use the information technology industry to drive economic growth in Ukraine. According to Share America, a “group of leading Ukrainian IT companies founded BrainBasket in cooperation with Ukraine’s Ministry of Economy and Kiev’s city administration”. BrainBasket aims to help train 100,000 new IT specialists by 2020, and has announced “Technology Nation,” an IT educational program that will allow any Ukrainian to take free courses on computer programming from universities like Harvard or MIT.
7. Roman Zinchenko
Zinchenko, the founder of Greencubator, wants to shake up Ukraine’s energy sector through different projects. In 2009, he launched a series of “hackathons” among computer coders, developers, and entrepreneurs in Kyiv to create solutions to Ukraine’s energy sector challenges. These hackathons led to the creation of Greencubator, which seeks to connect these developers and entrepreneurs to funding* to bring these solutions to life.
8. Anna Lukovkina
Lukovkina is leading a streetwear revolution in Ukraine with her company Vsi.Svoi, or All.Ours. Vsi.Svoi is a multilevel store on Khreschatyk Street in Kyiv that sells a variety of brands of clothes, shoes, and accessories made in Ukraine. Lukovkina hopes these Ukrainian clothing brands will continue to grow at home and eventually take on the world of fashion.
These eight entrepreneurs have different ideas and backgrounds, but they are all part of a new generation of leaders who will create social change around the world for the better.
league - alliance, collection of people or groups
kit - a set of equipment used for a specific purpose
ancestry - ethnic background
navigate - find one’s way in something
financial aid - scholarship, loan payment to help with college costs
customize - to change to match a specific person
funding - money provided for a specific purpose
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Yuri Nesen is a student at Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Washington, D.C. studying Global Business, Diplomatic Studies, and Arabic. He enjoys watching animated movies, running and exploring new places, and he is a complete dessert fanatic.