Jun 14, 2017
A Reminder to Never Give Up.
"Seize the Day" is an expression we’ve all heard throughout our lives. For some, it’s a collection of words that inspire people to get through the day or simply make the most out of whatever task is at hand. At UI Culture, “Seize the Day” is much more than three words; it’s a motto that inspires us to make a change for the better, personal or global. Here’s a list of entrepreneurs who seized the day and are making the world a better place.
1. Christopher Grey
Christopher Gray is an entrepreneur from Birmingham, Alabama, who created the app Scholly. As a high school student, he aspired to attend a 4-year university, but the recession caused him financial hardships. His dream of going to college was becoming less of a possibility. Gray knew scholarships were his only option, but he found the process of finding them very difficult. After collecting 36 scholarships, Gray’s college education was paid for. After he graduated, Gray used the leftover money to invest in his business ideas. He created Scholly, an app that lets students find scholarships tailored to their background and personality, to make the process of finding and applying for scholarships easier.
2. Safeena Husain
Safeena Husain is changing the lives of girls in her native country, India. As a child, Husain was abused by her stepfather. When she ran away to escape the violence, she found herself living on the streets. Safeena found support among people she met after leaving home and earned the opportunity to study at the London School of Economics. After she graduated, she used her education to help girls in India. She created Educate Girls, a non-profit organization that trains women as mentors and teachers. The educators travel to villages in India to find girls who aren’t enrolled in school and offer them the opportunity for an education. In some villages where support for women’s education might not be valued, they must convince the community of the benefits, ensuring that cultural practices will not be interrupted or fought in schools. Education is the goal in the end.
3. Charles Batte
Charles Batte learned the hardships of life from a young age. He was raised in Kamwokya, one of the most impoverished slums in Uganda. Growing up, Batte worked on his father’s farm and learned the business of selling food at local markets. He also saw how farmers’ were pressured by middlemen into selling their produce at cheap prices in order to avoid the food spoiling while awaiting sale. After getting a college education, Batte created Tree Adoption Uganda (TAU) to help small-scale farmers sell their crops directly to buyers, cutting out the middle man. The software can be used on basic cell phones available to a majority of poor farmers in rural Uganda.
4. Brandon Byrd
After losing his job at a magazine, Brandon Byrd didn’t know where he wanted to go in life. “I started praying because I got laid off” says Byrd. He looked within himself and realized that he had a decade-long passion for desserts. With a love of everything vintage, he remodeled an old ice cream truck and created Goodies Frozen Custards and Treats. His old-fashion look accompanied by delicious frozen is a recipe for success. His business is expanding and he is in the process of opening a storefront.
5. Poonam Bir Kastuni
Waste management is a serious problem in Poonam Bir Kastuni’s home country of India. 14 million tons of garbage are generated daily. Most of the garbage ends up in landfills and never gets processed, leaving it to decompose and contaminate the soil beneath. This creates health problems for many citizens. In response to the increasing problem and environmental issues, Poonam thought of a way to dispose household waste more efficiently. “I was seeing something, most people were not seeing” says Kastuni. She created Daily Dump, a company that sells household composters, which allow families to discontinue their contribution to city waste. Families can compost their food waste and create powerful fertilizer, which they can sell back to the company. Everyone wins with Daily Dump.
6. Veronica D’ Souza
Co-founder of Ruby Cup, Souza wanted to help women in developing countries with menstrual issues. Girls in developing countries lack hygiene products that are often too expensive. This monthly issue keeps a lot of girls out of school. Veronica and her partners moved to Kenya in 2011 to design a product that looked modern and attractive. Together they created a product that was both aesthetically pleasing and easy to use. The Ruby Cup is a menstrual cup that last for 10 years without needing a replacement. This simple device helps women and girls keep themselves clean and stay in school.
7. Nate Parker
Nate Parker started his career in Hollywood as an actor, landing roles in films like The Secret Life of Bees and The Great Debaters. He turned his attention to directing and screenwriting. He wrote a screenplay and gathered investors to finance his film. Parker took the role of director, producer and lead actor in his film Birth of a Nation. The film tales the story of Nat Turner’s slave rebellion, one of the largest slave revolts in American history. Parker submitted his film to the 2015 Sundance film festival, and took it by storm. Fox Searchlight pictures bought the rights to the film for 17.5 million, the largest deal in the festival’s history. Parker turned his artistic vision into a reality and made himself rich in the process.