Entrepreneurs who say: Screw it, let’s just do it

The new label Maiyet

Case study. Screw fashion as usual: The new label Maiyet

Fashion. Saving lives. The two tend to be polar opposites. But upscale label Maiyet hopes you fall in love with their designs first – and then continue to purchase them because of their mission to help local artisans sustain their own businesses.

“What we don’t do is produce pity products,” co-founder Paul van Zyl explains to Metro. “We design products that people will wear regardless of the cause.”

Maiyet (maiyet.com) scouts rare and unique artisanal items from around the world — like hand-woven cloth from Varanasi, India and hand-carved bone from Kenya — to use in their products. Then they use part of their profits to fund training programs to educate crafts men on how to make better quality products, and how to use their business to provide a stable source of income for their communities.

They also front the money to produce the goods so artisans don’t have to be stuck in high-interest loans. All of that is on top of making sure that people get paid fair wages.

Van Zyl’s background doesn’t exactly scream Carrie Bradshaw: He is the former executive secretary of South Africa’s post-apartheid Truth and Reconciliation Commission and And he never really worked in the fashion industry.

What drew him to the project was the idea that people don’t have to choose between doing well in business and doing good for the world. Van Zyl says the economic crisis has made people realize that there must be a better way to run their companies, and he believes strongly that there is a way for moral markets to exist.

“We believe in is trade and aid not trade versus aid,” he explained.

“We want these companies to be small and sustainable and to make beautiful products.”

Case study. Screw school as usual:
The Khan Academy

With 186 million views — more than Justin Bieber — the latest viral
YouTube smash features…school lessons about math, computer science and
the Greek debt crisis? Yup, thanks to Salman Khan.

In 2004, Khan
was a hedge fund manager tutoring his long-distance cousins with web
videos. “They told me they preferred me on YouTube than in person,” is
Khan’s catchphrase, a self-deprecating remark that’s the key to his
charm. The idea snowballed.

Eight years later, Khan Academy
(khanacademy.com) offers a combination of tutorial videos and an online
classroom for the community to talk through their questions. The
courses, which range from algebra to art history, are offered 24-hours a
day to anyone — student, teachers and parents.

Reinventing
school does not come cheap. “Obviously it costs millions of dollars –
about the budget of a medium-sized high school,” Khan says to Metro
World News.

Now, when donations and volunteers keep the business
going, Khan Academy keep scosts low for the consumer and provide
something better than a monetary return — a social return.

“The decision to (be a non-profit) is really the view that we want to be more than a software
company,”
says Khan. “We want to be an institution…. People always have
conversations on what’s going on with the world, and it always gets back
to education. It is the root issue behind every single society or
resource problem.”

Case study. Screw soccer as usual:
The homeless World Cup

Mel Young was in a Cape Town bar with a colleague, Harald Schmied, discussing ways to bring attention to the homeless and their plight. But there must have been a football game on the TV. They chose the sport as their conduit.

“Soccer is the ‘universal language’ that brings people together, wherever they are,” says Young. “It is cheap and easy to organize and great fun for everyone — of all ages and abilities. It is also a team game, and is good for health and fitness.

Soccer can have a huge impact on people but all sports have the power to change people’s lives.”

Today, Young’s and Schmied’s Homeless World Cup (homelessworldcup.org) has 73 national partners who organize programs to help a variety of people including the homeless, people who are struggling with drug and alcohol

addiction and those with HIV/AIDS. All participate in the annual Homeless World Cup tournament, which will take place in Mexico City Oct. 6 through 14 this year.

For Young, what keeps him going is a pragmatic attitude that actions speak louder than words.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

California passes 'yes-means-yes' campus sexual assault bill

Californian lawmakers passed a law on Thursday requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on…

National

Syrian refugees top 3 million, half of all…

By Stephanie NebehayGENEVA (Reuters) - Three million Syrian refugees will have registered in neighboring countries as of Friday, but many remain trapped by the advance…

International

North Korean leader's money manager defects in Russia:…

A senior North Korean banking official who managed money for leader Kim Jong Un has defected in Russia and was seeking asylum in a third country, a South Korean newspaper…

Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 29,…

The Department of Transportation and NYPD said there may be residual delays near all of the street closures on August 29, 31 and 31. Several streets and avenues will be…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Entertainment

Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…