5 of the Brightest Millennial Entrepreneurs to Make Impact in 2019
2019 is in full swing, presenting a lot of promising opportunities and growth on the horizon for entrepreneurs. Purpose- and mission-driven Millennials, in particular, will have the chance to make bold moves and pursue their career aspirations.
Some see this group as a generation that’s addicted to their phones, but in reality, Millennials are shifting and re-shaping the world we live in. Not to forget that some of the most extraordinary minds in business today are indeed Millennials who have achieved tremendous success.
This list presents both established and emerging entrepreneurs to keep an eye on in 2019 as they continue to make an impact. Great minds like these touch and inspire Millennials — including me — to go out and put our mark on the world. We hope a glimpse into their journeys encourages you to take the leap and pursue your dreams regardless of where you are in life.
It’s never too late or too early to start your entrepreneurial journey.
Leigh-Kathryn Bonner — Bee Downtown
According to the American Beekeeping Federation, honey bees contribute nearly $20 billion to the value of U.S. crop production, making them a vital part of our agricultural industry. And with the decline in honey bee health over the past few decades, Leigh-Kathryn Bonner set out to do something about it.
It all started with three beehives on top of a business building and a dream fueled by a love for bees. Bonner, a fourth-generation beekeeper, declined a job offer and pursued Bee Downtown full-time when she graduated from North Carolina State University in 2015.
Bee Downtown promotes bee populations through the placement of beehives on corporate headquarters. The company has evolved into an environmental and employee engagement tool at more than 40 companies including SAS, IBM, Burt’s Bees, Delta, and Chick-fil-A. Bee Downtown does the beekeeping while providing educational classes on beekeeping for companies’ employees, preparing environmental reports and bottling the honey.
Bonner and Bee Downtown continue to “positively impact the environment, educate the public, and provide a turn key sustainability program for businesses.”
Jason Y. Lee — Jubilee
Jubilee Media started as Jubilee Project with a video called “My Hundred for Haiti” where Jason and his friends raised money to help those impacted by the hurricane in 2010 (with the help of the online world, of course). After realizing the impact his network, social media, and video had on such an important cause, Jason then went on to pursue the media group full-time with his brother Eddie Lee and their friend Eric Lu.
Today, Jubilee’s channel garners millions of views on YouTube, with “human-centric” content covering topics from deep-rooted social issues to dating in the digital age — all aiming to inspire a generation of changemakers.
Jason could have had a career in finance, but ultimately chose the less traditional route — making videos for YouTube for the greater good. He strives to inspire others and Jubilee’s purposeful videos do just that.
Social media and media channels provide a powerful medium for communication and connecting people, and it’s inspiring to see that people like Jason are using it to make a meaningful impact on the world.
James Finucane, Gregory Rockson, and Daniel Shoukimas — mPharma
James Finucane, Gregory Rockson, and Daniel Shoukimas are co-founders of what is considered a major disruption in digital healthcare. mPharma, a venture-backed startup, is on a mission to make prescription drugs in emerging markets more accessible and affordable. It started with a simple question: “how do we make it easy for patients to know where their prescription drugs can be filled?”
Gregory Rockson, mPharma’s co-founder and CEO says, “getting patients the right drugs they need at a price they can pay for will remain the guiding principle of our work.” As a kid, he had no idea he would have chosen the entrepreneurial path later on in life, but always had a passion for social issues. He moved to the U.S. at the age of 18 to study medicine but knew he wanted to tackle the lack of accessibility to medication he personally experienced in Ghana as a child. This is what sparked the inception of mPharma.
Initially founded in 2013 to improve the drug supply in Africa, mPharma has developed into an electronic prescription network that enables doctors to know the exact location and availability of any medicine of interest in real-time.
Today, mPharma is present in Ghana (where it’s headquartered), Nigeria, and Zambia with an R&D office in Israel. mPharma has $12 million in funding and serves nearly 30,000 patients each month across a network of over 150 pharmacies, with drug cost savings averaging 30–60 percent.
Emily Weiss — Glossier
Based on her popular blog Into the Gloss, Emily Weiss, believed beauty should be as much of an element of personal style as fashion. She wanted to create a brand that she could be friends with. This mission combined with the knowledge of beauty and makeup from her site helped give birth to Glossier in 2014. It initially launched by selling four items — a concealer, skin salve, face mist, and priming moisturizer.
Glossier, an affordable and high-end beauty and skincare line, has grown tremendously into a cult-favorite. Thanks to the help of social media and influencers, it has become the first socially-driven beauty brand of its kind. Today, it has 1.7 million followers on Instagram, heavily relying on user-generated content. It is a great example of a business leveraging digital channels the right way to cut through in an extremely penetrated industry.
Everything from the products, to the way the brand markets their products centers around its consumers and listening to what they want. Glossier aims to empower and tell the stories of real women with real experiences, and is using the power of social media to charge forward.
Glossier is committed to celebrating natural beauty and “was founded on the fact that beauty isn’t made in a boardroom — it happens when the individual is celebrated.”
Baiju Bhatt and Vladimir Tenev — Robinhood
Robinhood is an app for individuals who want to buy and sell stocks, publicly-traded companies, exchange-traded funds and cryptocurrency without paying a commission or fee.
Founders Baiju Bhatt and Vladimir Tenev, friends who met while studying at Stanford and both children of immigrants, wanted to build a platform that would provide everyone with access to the financial markets — not just for the wealthy. Founded in 2013, Robinhood’s journey to success wasn’t easy as the founders were initially rejected by 75 venture capitalists.
Today, the startup is valued at about $1.3 billion with over 2 million users. Robinhood’s mission is to democratize access to the American financial system and eventually scale the platform to be a comprehensive digital bank.
Just like most inspiring entrepreneurial journeys, Bhatt and Tenev’s story is a classic tale of determination and courage leading to success, even after many failures.
5 of the Brightest Millennial Entrepreneurs to Make Impact in 2019
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