2019 Marketplace of the Future

Two Companies That Started With a Cause

By Sonia Toledo, Founder, Dignity of Children


Continued from last week’s blog post, Shaping the Future Depends on 21st Century Skills


We have one mission as educators, and that is to teach children that they are capable of anything.


How do we do this?


By nurturing ideas, by coaching them to always believe in themselves, by finding opportunities to teach 21st century skills, and by showing examples.


At the Marketplace of the Future event, I met so many shining examples of good intentions that evolved into good ideas. And, I even got to speak with two people who succeeded in turning their good ideas into successful businesses.


I want to share these examples with you so that you can share them with your kids. Talk to them about how their interests can combine with what they believe in and their desire to have a positive impact on the future.


Talk to them about how technology can work hand-in-hand with sustainability; how a positive impact on the planet can also make a positive impact on children’s lives.


Then, let us know how it goes. We’re listening!



Nayoung Lee, Founder & CEO, Elmentl


“Can you tell me why you started your company?”


“I worked in the fashion industry for a decade, with different companies and designers, and I’ve seen on both sides of the world how things are actually made through mass production, high efficiency. I used to travel to China, India, and once I saw this little kid sewing at the factories and it really broke my heart. That was my motivation. As time went by, I realized that there were ways to do things differently. So, I started my own business.”


“And that’s what it takes. Someone to see that there’s a different way of doing it. So what about what you do helps the environment?”


“All my products are made sustainably. For example, my sweaters are 3d printed. It really minimizes waste, which is a huge global problem now. In my factory, the machines themselves use solar power. So, the whole supply chain is sustainable. The PJs are made out of trees. I intentionally do not use cotton, because it consume a lot of water which is the most important resource.”


“So, if you wanted to give a message to our young people, what would be your message to them about how they can make a difference today?”


“Just be yourself. Kids have to be kids. They should have fun. Be yourself and enjoy your childhood.”


“Enjoy your childhood…and be conscious!”


Do your kids want to take a stand on ending factory labor? Visit ELMNTL here.



Kasper Kastoft, Co-Founder, Your Local


“Hi, Matt! Can you tell me what YourLocal is?”


“YourLocal is an app-based marketplace for surplus food. Food vendors that have food surplus at the end of the day can put it on offer on our app. And then local customers can purchase it at a discount, and pick it up typically half an hour to an hour before the shop closes. This is a way to reduce food waste at the retail level, which is a massive problem in the US. Actually, every year in the US more than 60 million tons of food are wasted at the retail level alone. So It’s a very big problem that we’re trying to solve.”


“That’s amazing. So, why is it important for young people to understand your mission?”


“Food waste is actually the second biggest contributor to climate change. Because the energy that goes into producing food, distributing it, and even composting it is insane. So, producing food that we don’t eat is probably one of the stupidest problems we have in the world. For the young generation to understand that we can’t just produce food and not eat it is, I think, extremely important.”


“How can a young person start making a contribution to this effort right now?”


“Just be conscious and be curious. When you make food in the home, don’t make more than you actually need. When they’re out, people always take home food like they’re going to feed an army and then they go back and throw it out. It’s stuff like that, the small things.”


YourLocal is available now in the app store. Check it out! And, ask your kids what changes they can make to reduce their food waste right now.