The 2015 Global Opportunities Conference: Business for a Better World took place on Friday, April 10 at 9 am in the Plemmons Student Union. The conference explored the potential for innovative businesses to solve global social and environmental problems.
One serious problem in need of a solution is the lack of potable water in developing nations. At least one in six people worldwide lacks access to adequate amounts of safe water for drinking and hygiene, according to the UN statistics. This contributes to diarrhea, the leading cause of illness and death, and translates to 1.5 million preventable deaths each year.
The keynote speaker, Doc Hendley, shared his personal experiences in the process of creating what became the not-for-profit organization, Wine to Water. Along with stories of near death experiences in Sudan and inspirational moments bringing clean water to villages in need, Doc encouraged students not to be afraid to fail in the pursuit of their dreams. Doc was hailed as a CNN Hero of the Year in 2009. He is a former bartender who founded Wine to Water, a not-for-profit that commits funds raised through wine tastings to repair broken wells, install rain water harvesting tanks and other sanitation modalities to 250,000 people worldwide. His efforts have saved thousands of lives.
Hannah Davis, founder and president of BANGS Shoes, a canvas footwear company that provides funds to entrepreneurs in 19 countries around the world including the US, shared how she got started through fortuitous connections, a vision and tenacity. She encouraged business students with a desire to make a difference to value the skills they are learning at ASU, stating,"If you want to have maximum social impact, you have to be really good at business." Hannah has become a recognized advocate for social entrepreneurship, having spoken at two TEDx events over the past 6 months.
Jonathan Carpenter of CrossTrade International, Landon Pennington of Collaborative Solar, Don Cox of Bald Guy Brew, and Chancey Rouse of Nourish International discussed the role of innovative business in solving social and environmental problems in the afternoon panel discussion.
Appalachian students shared their experiences on College of Business study abroad programs in Belize working on a sustainable cacao farm, and in Costa Rica learning the dynamics of “fair trade” in the coffee industry as well as an Alternative Service Learning program partnering with Wine to Water in the Dominican Republic.
The 2015 Global Opportunities Conference was hosted by the Walker Collge of Business, with additional support from University College, the Goodnight Family Sustainable Development Department and James E. Holshouser Ethics.