These 5 countries are the best for business leaders who want to solve societal issues.

America is #1! ... At least in one very cool way.

Social entrepreneurship.

"What the heck is that?" you might be asking.


Social entrepreneurs are those who use a business opportunity to solve a societal problem.

So if a company, say, prioritizes cleaning up a local river as part of its business model or a start-up gives away a winter coat to a child in need for every jacket it sells, those endeavors could be considered social entrepreneurship.

Photo by Christof Stache/AFP/Getty Images.

Social entrepreneurs have played increasingly important roles in terms of economic growth and solving systemic problems throughout the world. And there's no better place to be one than in the U.S., according to a recent study released by the Thomas Reuters Foundation.

By conducting surveys in 45 countries with hundreds of experts — academics, policy-makers, investors, and entrepreneurs themselves — the foundation analyzed where it's easiest (and most difficult) to become a do-good business leader. Several factors can help or hurt a social entrepreneur, like if investors are easy to come by or if the public understands what a social entrepreneur even is (which can affect a business' fundraising efforts), and those variables can vary pretty significantly from country to country.

The foundation's survey asked participants a series of questions related to businesses with a bigger mission such as "Is it easy to get grant funding?" or "Is social entrepreneurship gaining momentum in your country?" Then they ranked the top countries based off of those responses.

Here are the top five countries on the list:

5. Israel

Photo by Eric Piermont/AFP/Getty Images.

Israel finished fifth overall but ranked highest in the world in terms of the general public's understanding of what social entrepreneurs actually do — one of the critical questions the survey took into consideration.  

4. Singapore

The bustling Orchard Road shopping district in Singapore. Photo by Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty Images.

Singapore ranked particularly high on the list in terms of entrepreneurs getting the non-financial support they need in order to get the ball rolling on their goals, like mentoring from experts and access to legal advice.

3. United Kingdom

Photo by Chris Radburn-WPA Pool/Getty Images.

U.K. respondents reported overall favorable conditions for their social entrepreneurs, who ranked second in the world as far as their ability to make a living in their line of work.

2. Canada

Photo by Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images.

Social entrepreneurship is definitely on the up and up in Canada as the country ranked somewhere in the top 10 across all questions asked in the survey.

1. United States

Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images.

The U.S. ranked highest in terms of reported favorable conditions for social entrepreneurs. Respondents also said social entrepreneurship in America is "gaining momentum" and that it's relatively easy for businesses with a noble mission to find the talent they need to succeed.  

Stacked up against the rest of the world, there's certainly room for improvement in America on many key issues.

When it comes to health, police brutality, education, inequality, and gun violence, America is, er ... not blazing the trails of social justice (to put it lightly). In part because of issues like these — and the fact we're in the middle of a nasty presidential election season — it can feel like cynicism about the state of our country is reaching all-time highs (there's a reason why the tagline, "Make America Great Again" has struck a chord with so many people, after all).

But surveys like this one can serve as a reminder that, all things considered, there are many reasons to feel proud to be an American. The fact we're empowering innovators who want to make a living making the world a better place is just the latest item on that ever-growing list.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
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Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

Amazon

In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.