Every intrepid journey starts with as single courageous step. Ours began in 1759, when one man signed a 9000-year lease on a dilapidated brewery at St. James's Gate, Dublin. Established in 2009, the Arthur Guinness Projects marked the 250th anniversary of that signature: the very first in a long line of bold moves underpinning a legacy of ingenious risk-taking.
But Arthur was more than a daring entrepreneur; he was a philanthropist, too. He built his brand with people at its heart, funding healthcare and schooling to improve the lives of his workforce and the wider community. It's in this spirit that the Arthur Guinness Projects was born: a springboard for innovation and positive change. A taskforce for the trailblazers. For those willing to stand up and be counted, those prepared to roll up their sleeves and make great things happen.
Since its launch, we've seen countless successes, collaborating with influential worldwide organisations such as Ashoka, the British Council and Virgin Unite: the non-profit foundation of Richard Branson's Virgin group. With the latter we supported the opening of the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship in Jamaica, which offers coaching to aspiring, out-of-the-box thinkers.
And it's not just about money – although to date we have committed over $8 million to grass-level, community based projects around the world – it's also about mentoring. That's why we've offered a wealth of guidance and marketing support to help raise awareness of all this positive action, because we believe passionately in the power of people to unlock great potential.
'Taste it, don't waste it': that's the tagline for Foodcloud, a genius app devised by Iseult Ward and Aoibheann O'Brien that connects Irish businesses with a surplus of food to local charities who don't have enough.
The supermarket, café or restaurant simply uploads details of their leftovers and when it can be collected, which sends an automatic text message to the most appropriate charities in their community. Whoever accepts the offer first, gets the food. Simple.
Ward and O'Brien met in 2012 as students and bonded over 'a love of food and a distaste for waste', teaming up with others to host a 'Feeding the 5000' event in Dublin before creating the app. Fast forward to 2014, and they began a ground-breaking partnership with Tesco who now redistribute extra food from their 146 stores to charities across the country.
Bettr Barista, Singapore
What started out for Pamela Chng as a personal search for a better caffeine fix has evolved over the last 15 years into the Bettr Barista Coffee Academy.
One of several educational options on offer is a six-month holistic training programme for disadvantaged and underprivileged women and at-risk youth who want to learn the art and science of making a perfect cup of coffee to a professional barista level.
The course also features confidence building and life management skills and, crucially, a paid apprenticeship at a partner, specialty café with the aim of paving the way for a long-term career in the coffee industry.
Ikhayalami, South Africa
Upgrading shelters to be fire and flood proof, reconfiguring settlement layouts so they have a more practical, rationalised design, and building customised facilities such as soup kitchens and crèches all fall under the remit of Ikhayalami, a South African-based company founded by social entrepreneur Andrea Bolnick.
Her aim is to improve the conditions of those living in informal settlements while they wait for government subsidised housing whether that means implementing solar energy systems so communities can get connected (many lack access to the energy grid) or addressing basic needs, from drainage and water to better sanitation.
Homeless World Cup, UK
Homelessness forces people into isolation, football brings us together. That was the thinking of Harald Schmeid and Senior Ashoka Fellow Mel Young (he co-founded The Big Issue in Scotland) after attending a conference on homelessness in 2001.
Two years later the first Homeless World Cup took place in Graz; it has since become an annual event that's always held in a different city. Colin Farrell is an ambassador and around 74 nations usually take part.
That's not all. The organisation supports a network of grass-roots, year-round street football programmes and social enterprises, each of which use the sport as a way of helping the homeless build relationships and regain self-esteem through learning to trust teammates and being part of something bigger, something better. What might just seem like kicking a ball around also creates change.