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Here at Billions Rising, we've always been focused on self-reliance, so there are some organizations that will always hold a special place in our hearts. One of these is Bead For Life in Kampala, Uganda.

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In a very welcome development, an influx of new venture capital is being directed to companies dedicated to the elimination of food waste. According to a recent report by ReFED, more than $125 million has been invested in the category so far in 2018.

Food waste and food access have long been a focus here at Billions Rising–and with an estimated $218 billion of food going to waste each year, that's hardly a surprise. The problem of food waste in particular has now become a hot topic among VC firms, including such major players as S2G Ventures. As pointed out by Chuck Templeton, S2G's Managing Director,"Food waste is a huge problem hidden in plain sight,” and it offers huge potential gains for both investors and the public at la...

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When Ken Jacobus quit his Silicon Valley job to set up Good Start Packaging in 2009, he had little knowledge of the packaging industry, and less than $10,000 in inventory. To make sure every dollar went as far as it possibly could, the entrepreneur did the only sensible thing: he did everything himself. He took on sales, admin, management and even the delivery of product.

Today, Jacobus' company is changing the way that restaurants handle packaging, and helping to create a new sustainable paradigm for the fast food industry. To find out how, read the brand-new Forbes article here.

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Food access is a vexing problem, especially in the inner cities, and small business has a critical role to play in providing workable solutions. We've seen scores of hopeful innovations in this area, many aimed at redirecting the tons of food that are wasted in our cities every day.

Entrepreneur Mark Brand knows what it's like to be hungry; he was once homeless himself. And as a chef, he has a unique perspective on the matter: “I believe that food is the conduit to love and to show people that we really deeply care about them and their success. And that every time we do the opposite, it is the opposite. It’s disrespecting people,” he explains.

Brand and his company MBI have created a program that allows people to buy meal...

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It has always been a peculiar trait of American culture: we love to tear down our heroes. It seems that by witnessing their foibles, we feel a commonality with our icons that would otherwise be denied.

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Budding entrepreneur Paul Crowell has chosen what might be the least likely of causes: his mission is to feed the dogs of San Francisco's homeless community. What started as one small act of kindness–feeding a hungry dog in his Mission neighborhood–soon became an obsession for him. And this month, crowdfunding site GoFundMe gave Crowell's organization a huge boost.

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When Beto Yarce first came to the U.S., he took a job bussing tables at a Mexican restaurant, despite his college degree. Over time, he used his advantages to get ahead and build a successful business, but along the way he saw many others that didn't have those advantages. The lack of English skills in particular was a handicap, and Yarce knew he could help.

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After Dan Schorr missed the bombing at the finish line of the Boston Marathon though he completed the race, he started thinking about his life in different terms. Specifically, the young businessman wanted to have no regrets to look back upon. This led him to start his company Vice Cream, a food venture dedicated to the "real" ice cream experience.

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As a cornerback for the Washington Redskins, Shawn Springs learned more about head trauma than he likely cared to. Football players are often left with horrible medical consequences as a result of their work, and his 13 seasons in the NFL had opened Springs' eyes to the considerable risk.

Now, he's taking action to help solve the problem. His company Windpact works on technology for not just athletes, but soldiers, recreational facilities and other occupations in which people suffer from impacts to the head and body. And he's maklng progress: Windpact recently signed a two-year, $600,000 contract with the U.S. Army to develop padding for combat helmets.

You can read Springs' impressive story at the Columbus Dispatch, here.

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Photo Courtesy of Matthew Griffin

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