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The Link Between Entrepreneurship and Human Rights

Entrepreneurship and Human Rights | Blog Action Day 2013 #BAD13

George & Mary-Lynn discuss entrepreneurship and human rights on The BIGG Success Show for Blog Action Day. Click play to listen (5:54)

How do entrepreneurship and human rights go hand in hand?
It’s Blog Action Day 2013 | #BAD13, where bloggers and podcasters from around the world unite to talk about a single topic. This year the subject is human rights.

Here at BIGG Success, we encourage people to think like an entrepreneur to live life on your own terms. For most of us, that life includes helping others and making the world a better place.


We’ve shared how entrepreneurs are doing just that in previous Blog Action Day posts. Like the group of farmers in Ohio who sent money instead of food to farmers in Kenya. They spent the money to build a number of small dams and retention ponds to catch water in the rainy season so they would have water year-round. With that water, five thousand families have been delivered from hunger.

We also highlighted a group of women roofers who are putting their skills to use for those in need, and a group of coders who are providing innovative apps for local governments at a fraction of the normal cost.

Entrepreneurs in every corner of the world are creating new solutions, introducing new ideas, and providing new opportunities for the people in their communities.

John Tognino, Chairman & CEO of The Pepper Financial Group, said this during his speech for a conference on entrepreneurship and human rights: “I can report from experience, after traveling the world, that entrepreneurship and human rights are linked and that the creation of jobs has an immediate and positive affect on all parts of society.”

Entrepreneurship and Human Rights

One of the best examples of an entrepreneur who accomplished this is Mary Kay Ash.

She was a top-seller at two companies, but ended up quitting both after being passed over for promotions to men.

She began writing a book to help other women, when she realized she was writing a business plan for herself.

With the $5,000 she had in life savings, she bought the recipe for a skin softener, furnished a small storefront, and launched Mary Kay Cosmetics.

Mary Kay Ash, gave women an opportunity to be in business for themselves without having to go it alone. She gave them the chance to set their own boundaries, and reap the full rewards for their efforts.

She saw a and problem and provided a solution.

Entrepreneurship and human rights are perfect partners. The ideas you come up with to bring them together could lead you and others to BIGG Success.

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file | podcast:

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The Power of We Begins with Me

Blog Action Day | BIGG SuccessWe’re thrilled to participate in another Blog Action Day. Bloggers and podcasters like us from around the world and across the internet all post about a single subject.

And fittingly, this year’s theme is “The Power of We.”

Now that’s a theme we can get behind. In fact, our biggest challenge has been to filter through all of our BIGG ideas about this subject!

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The first Blog Action Day was in 2007. BIGG Success wasn’t around when they did it so we first participated in 2008. The theme that year was poverty.

Collaboration across continents

We bring this up because we talked about collaboration across continents that year. It was about a group of farmers in Ohio working with a group of farmers in Kenya to end poverty in a village of 5,000 people.

The power of we!

This amazing feat was started by the vision of one man – the minister in the village in Kenya. He didn’t want his people to be dependent on outsiders supplying food and other essentials.

Now we want to share two stories:

The Women Roofers

The Women Roofers are professional women – in the Rutherford County, North Carolina area – who voluntarily ban together to help people who can’t help themselves.

The power of we!

When a recent widow with no money found herself with a leaky roof, she made one phone call. The Women Roofers showed up in days, according to a story on CBS News.

Nell Bovender is the driving force behind the group. She arranges for donations of supplies and organizes the volunteers, who – in most cases – have never hammered a nail in a single shingle.

That doesn’t slow this group of BIGG goal-getters down one bit! They saw a problem and they’re fixing it one rooftop at a time.

Code for America

Code for America is also known as “The PeaceCorps for Geeks”. Tech stars take a year off to work here in the States, helping government use technology to solve persistent problems.

Founded by Jennifer Pahlka, this group built an app for the city of Boston that made a game out of keeping fire hydrants clear of snow. Citizens adopted a fire hydrant.

They could name it. They could paint it. But they had to shovel the snow away from it or risk losing their beloved hydrant.

It went viral – Honolulu now uses it to make sure their tsunami sirens have good batteries in them. Seattle uses it for storm sewers. In total, nine cities are using this app today.

They can do it faster and cheaper than government. In Jennifer’s TED talk, she offered another example – software to help parents decide which public school was best for their kid.

Through normal channels, this would have taken two years and $2 million dollars. Three people from Code for America only required two-and-a-half months.

The power of we!

The power of we begins with me!

But we haven’t told you the rest of the story. Jennifer closes her TED talk by saying we need to lend more than a voice. We need to lend a hand.

The power of we begins with me! To fully capitalize on the tremendous power of collective action, we must all take individual responsibility.

  • We can’t look at a situation and just complain. We have to be willing to take action as well.
  • We can’t wait for someone else. We have to be the one. In all the stories we shared here, there was one individual who inspired other individuals.

The power of we begins with me!

You can’t take on the problems of the world. But you can take on a problem in your corner of it. That’s BIGG success!

What are your experiences with the power of we?

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file | podcast:

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One Small Step Leads to a Giant Leap on Earth

BlogActionDay2009 We can’t believe it, but a year has passed since the last Blog Action Day. Last year, we participated for the first time.



The theme was world poverty. We did a show about how two sets of farmers worked together. One group was in Ohio and the other was in Kenya. Together they had raised the standard of living for over 5,000 people.

This year’s theme is climate change. Now we’re aware that some of you may be groaning right now. You don’t think that temperatures are getting warmer or more extreme. Even if they are, you think it’s something beyond our actions as humans.

Now others may be groaning because of the first group groaning. It doesn’t matter either way.

We think we can all agree that we should be good stewards of the resources we’re fortunate enough to have.


georgeMy dad was definitely a conservative and a conservationist. He treasured our natural resources. He hated waste … of any kind. He was a contractor who made use of every scrap of every building material.



marylynnThat’s our point today – you don’t have to try to save the world to save the world. You can take just one small step that leads to a giant leap for mankind.


One small step on the moon

We recently celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Apollo moonwalk. Of course, we all remember the famous words uttered by Neil Armstrong as he became the first person to step on the moon: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Embedded in those amazing words is a nugget of incredible wisdom. It’s how you change the world … one small step can lead to a giant leap.

The world. Your corner of it. You change one small step at a time.

One small step leads to 34% more

Imagine a trash can. It’s sitting all by itself. People come up to it and throw things away. Only some of those things are recyclable.

So next to the first trash can, imagine an identical can with a lid – a lid with a six-inch hole cut in it.

You see, according to Sean Duffy, an assistant professor of psychology at Rutgers University – Camden, we’ve come to think that a trash can with a hole in the lid means it’s for recyclables.

This simple step – setting a recyclable can right next to a regular trash can – increased recycling of bottles and cans by 34% [PDF] in a month long study he conducted on his campus.

To help you understand how huge that number is, researchers consider a behavioral change of 4 to 5 percent significant. So 34 percent is a giant leap!

If we all just make one small step like the one we described here, it can lead to a giant leap in conservation. Getting the most out of what we’ve been given … sounds like bigg success!


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Thanks so much for reading our post today. You really changed the climate for us!

Please join us next time when we’ll discuss how to keep ripples in your schedule from creating tidal waves in your life. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!


Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:

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70,000 dollars feeds 5,000 families

How $70,000 Delivered 5,000 Families from Drought and Hunger

70,000 dollars feeds 5,000 families

Bloggers from all over the world wide web are discussing poverty today in the hopes that conversation for a cause will lead to a cure. We’ll share how $70,000 had an impact on drought and hunger.


marylynnWe chose to participate because we believe in the cause and we believe in the power of people working together with a purpose.


georgeWe remembered an inspiring Wall Street Journal article [pdf] written by Roger Thurow. It highlights how seemingly small things can make a bigg difference in the developing world. We love success stories and this one is awesome!


$70,000 feeds 5,000 families

A group of farmers in Ohio raised $70,000 and sent it to another group of farmers in Kenya. The project is part of the Foods Resource Bank, an organization that fights hunger by connecting churches here with groups in need around the world.

The Ohio farmers decided to send money, rather than food, so the farmers in Kenya could decide how to use it best. They spent the money to build a number of small dams and retention ponds to catch water in the rainy season so they would have water year-round. With that water, five thousand families have been delivered from hunger.

Everybody wins

Here’s an example of the impact made by just one project. The farmers in Ohio sent $3,000 to the farmers in Kenya, who hired an engineer. With the plan in hand, the Kenyan farmers built the dam with their own labor and materials.

Now their village has water – for themselves, for their cattle, and for growing crops. The women of the village used to walk about ten miles to get water. Now their time is being used much more productively.

With the water problem solved, the village switched its focus to better roads. These roads are the link to nearby markets where the farmers can sell their surplus produce. But they had deep ruts which made them nearly impassable.

It used to take two hours to get to the market by bike, which is the main form of transportation there. Bikes cost $6 to rent. With the improved roads, it only takes a half-an-hour now to get into town and bike rents have fallen to $3.

Talk about win / win! The farmers are paying 50% less to rent a bike. But the person who rents the bikes is making 100% more, because the bikes get returned so quickly. Everybody wins!

Farmer increases income over 400%

The article also highlights one Kenyan farmer. With the water nearby thanks to the dam, he was able to dig his own water retention pond, which he uses to irrigate his crops. His income has grown from less than $100 a year to $500 per year!

That’s an increase of over 400%!

Now he’s plowing his extra profits back into his business. He bought a generator and mechanical pump to double his cultivated land. He also planted 400 mango trees.

Entrepreneurship at its finest!

How it started

All of these wonderful things started with the vision of one man – the pastor in the village. Originally, he reached out for food from the large international agencies. But he feared that his people would become dependent.

So he formed a development group that created a list of needs – water was number one on the list. He sent that list to a number of organizations, including the Foods Resource Bank. They got the farmers in Ohio involved.


We found this story so inspiring because it shows that a small amount of money with a large amount of focus can accomplish bigg things.

We liked how farmers here supported farmers there. We can all use our passion, knowledge, and skills to help people like us in other parts of the world.

It also shows the resourcefulness of people. Get resources to people on the scene. They will find a way to overcome their biggest obstacles with their ingenuity and industriousness. The accomplishments can be phenomenal!

You, too, can make a difference. Donate money or make microloans to people in need with good ideas. Reach out to organizations that have the infrastructure in place to help people in need.

It only takes one person.
Each of us can make a bigg difference in helping other people around the world be a bigg success.

Next time, we’ll talk with a man who left a high-paying job with a prestigious law firm to do his own thing. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!


how $70,000 saved 5,000 families|Blog Action Day 2008

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