Social consciousness, or the idea that people should be aware of problems both locally and far beyond their own experiences, has existed for much longer than companies led by Fox School of Business alumni like when honeygrow founder and CEO Justin Rosenberg, MBA ‘09, decided to use locally-sourced vegetables or United By Blue started hauling waste out of East Coast waterways. Social enterprise, a modern twist on this socially conscious concept, arrived at the forefront of 21st-century business.
At the Fox School, entrepreneurs are baking in the social enterprise section of their business plan well before they leave campus. And because the Fox School has so many innovative, socially-conscious students and alumni, here are a few across various industries that deserve the spotlight.
Performance Adejayan, Founder & CEO of Perade
Performance Adejayan, a current International Business Administration major, is passionate about helping her fellow Nigerian-Americans retain their culture and pride. She has channeled that passion into creating a clothing line called Perade. The idea for Perade was born from a simple question Adejayan asked herself: “Why not turn my passion into a business?”
She felt starting a clothing line that reflected her personal identity would be the perfect solution. Unlike the appropriated “tribal print” that can be found at many mainstream retailers, the brand mixes “African prints with western silhouettes” to transport Nigerian culture into wearable pieces for all. By going straight to the source and receiving products from Nigeria, she is giving back to her home and supporting the global economy.
At this stage in her entrepreneurial journey, Adejayan is currently working on spreading the word about Perade. She is building a team of brand ambassadors and influencers to post about and wear her products.
Anthony Copeman, Founder of Financial Lituation & $hares
At the heart of every one of Anthony Copeman’s ventures is a desire to provide his generation with the tools they need to succeed financially. Since he was a student studying accounting, Copeman, BBA ’14, has founded a nonprofit (Backyard Business) and a financial coaching program (Financial Lituation), began working for the City of Philadelphia and launched an animated financial literacy YouTube series called $hares.
Both Financial Lituation and $hares help users build toward financial freedom through advice and education on financial literacy in an accessible way, especially for minorities and other disenfranchised groups.
Looking to the future, Copeman is committed to scaling the impact of his various projects, measuring the results, and trying new things. “I am constantly inspired by innovation and creativity. I’m always asking myself, ‘how can I leverage my passion and put my own creative spin on it?’”
Thierno Diallo, Founder & CEO of Sontefa Energy
According to the International Energy Agency, in Sub-Saharan Africa, over 600 million
people have never had access to electricity. In Guinea, the home country of Thierno Diallo, BBA ’17, only 53% of urban areas and 11% of rural areas had access to electricity, leaving 8.7 million people without it. With Sontefa Energy, Diallo wants to change those statistics.
“I believe that providing electricity to the people of Guinea, as well as to Africa as a whole, will be the greatest thing that I can ever accomplish,” Diallo says. “The myriad of cultures that are found in my country have always emphasized the importance of helping others.”
The company, whose mission is to empower the future of Africa with green energy, is currently focused on raising capital and is in the process of developing partnerships with solar panel suppliers in the U.S. and overseas. Diallo has developed an engineering team for installment and services, as well as a sales team.
David Ettorre, Founder & CEO of Osprey Drone Services
After graduating from the Strategic Management Entrepreneurship program in 2015, David Ettorre looked to combine the skills he knew he had in order to make an impact on the business world and the environment. He had business acumen, loved working outside and decided to mine the potential of drone technology to shape his career.
“With Osprey Drone Services, me and my team do not just show up with and play with drones. We use technology to solve industry problems,” Ettorre says. Leveraging the accessibility and data collection properties of drones, they offer customers a combination of preventive and predictive maintenance with industrial asset inspection.
Whether that means sending a drone 400 feet in the air to find out if an endangered species of bird has built a nest at the top of a tree or assessing the lifecycle of a wind turbine, the company helps wildlife conservation and their client’s bottom line.
Jen Singley, Keller Williams Philadelphia
Jen Singley, BBA ’13, has been interested in environmentalism since she was a child. For her, it was natural to marry real estate and sustainability. Singley is a real estate agent with Keller Williams and helps first-time home buyers navigate what can feel like an intimidating process. To offer this support, in addition to her day job, Singley hosts first-time buyer workshops in different neighborhoods around the city.
Singley also works with Women for a Sustainable Philadelphia, a forum for encouraging women to connect around a passion for positively impacting the current and future environmental, social and economic resilience of the Greater Philadelphia region.
In an effort to infuse elements of sustainability into her career, Singley offers free recycling bins for clients and organize cleanups in client neighborhoods. “No matter what I am doing for work, I always want to link it to helping Philadelphia and making it a more sustainable, greener place to live,” Singley says.
All of these “extracurriculars” support Singley’s mission to educate herself and teach others about real estate, sustainability and giving back to the City of Brotherly Love.
This story was originally published in Fox Focus, the Fox School’s alumni magazine.
Yasmine Mustafa aims to change the world with her company, which manufactures wearable self-defense technology jewelry designed for women
BBA ’06 | CEO and co-founder, ROAR for Good
Hometown: Royersford, Pa.
MotivaTED: In May, Mustafa was one of 14 speakers at TEDx Philadelphia, an independent and not-for-profit one-day conference that builds dialogue on topics of scientific, social awareness, and cultural significance. Mustafa’s talk covered the birth lottery, the concept of being born into a set of traits and circumstances that shape life’s opportunities and challenges.
A formative moment in Yasmine Mustafa’s professional life occurred by happenstance. A fellow Fox School of Business student couldn’t finish his internship and Mustafa, who already had an internship, decided to tackle another simultaneously. In this new opportunity, she worked closely with early-stage entrepreneurs, helping to craft their business plans, marketing strategies, and funding pitches.
Mustafa knew she’d wanted to become an entrepreneur, but it was then that her interest in the technology sector had been sparked.
“I remember being in awe of these makers, I’d call them, and I’d think, ‘Man, I want to be one of these one day,’” she said.
Mustafa, BBA ’06, is the CEO and co-founder of ROAR for Good, LLC, a developer of wearable self defense technology jewelry designed for women that acts as a fashionable high-tech alarm which also messages loved ones and calls the authorities. Manufacturing of the flagship device began in September, and Mustafa expects it to be available to consumers in February.
She’s raised more than $200,000 in funding from Philadelphia-based investors for the product, called “Athena,” after the Greek goddess of power and freedom. Athena, which Mustafa designed to replicate fashionable jewelry, will sync with the user’s smartphone to alert a designated emergency contact, as well as the appropriate authorities, to criminal activity with one-touch technology. It also emits an alarm and a flashing light when activated.
“I see a long-term vision of changing the world, and ROAR having a profound impact,” said Mustafa, 33. “A key component is that we’ll be investing part of our proceeds into nonprofits that teach children about empathy and healthy relationships. … I get excited by the potential. In reality, our goal is to have a world where technology like ROAR’s doesn’t need to exist.”
The Kuwaiti-born Mustafa worked under-the-table jobs to support her education, which includes her Bachelor’s degree in Entrepreneurship from the Fox School. The two-time winner of the Be Your Own Boss Bowl®, a Temple University-wide business plan competition, is a self-described “serial entrepreneur,” with numerous smaller ventures prior to her work with ROAR.
“I see a much bigger reach with ROAR,” she said. “I’m a person who thrives on making a difference, so I’m excited about what the future holds.”