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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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Catherine Garcia Flowers came to Houston following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, a violent storm in which she and her parents both lost their homes. She soon met Pastor Rudy Rasmus, who saw her vast energy and potential as she quickly went to work feeding Houston's hungry and less fortunate.

After Rasmus founded Bread of Life, a nonprofit serving Houston's homeless, they stayed in touch. And when Flowers was considering a move to Honduras years later, he talked her out of it. His reason: Rasmus needed her to take the reins of his growing organization. She agreed–and within just weeks, Hurricane Harvey struck Houston. Her decision was seemingly meant to be, as Flowers was perfectly positioned to help after her experience with Katrina. P...

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How does one go from a successful modeling career to working as a social entrepreneur learning high-end mobile development–all the while attending medical school?

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Mill Valley entrepreneur Lily Yoseph grew up middle-class in Ethiopia, a blessing in a country plagued with poverty. With the support of her family, she got an education and was able to pursue her dreams. But not all young women in Yoseph's home country are so fortunate, as she discovered on a trip back to her hometown a decade ago.

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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.

temp-post-imageA remarkable new tool is being used to help families rank their own economic condition red, yellow or green based upon an array of indicators–and may be on its way to changing the microfinance game. Developed by social entrepreneur Martín Burt, who founded Fundación Paraguaya over three decades ago to promote economic empowerment in Paraguay, Poverty Stoplight is working to give families the tools they need to pull themselves out of poverty.

For more details on this impressive org, read the OZY 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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Food access in the inner city is a problem that we've long struggled with, and the inability to find anything other than fast food in many of our urban environments is a serious health concern. Thankfully, we've seen some inroads in this area, especially in the world of nonprofits.

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