Western Michigan University students regularly contribute to AIM2Flourish, the world’s first higher education curriculum based on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Using the U.N.’s goals as a lens, students research and identify an innovation and interview a business leader about it. Their stories live on the AIM2Flourish.com platform as sources of inspiration for others.
As conditions change for food production—like climate, labor, sustainability, and market preferences—industry has an obligation to respond. Revolution Farms believes greenhouse farming is a solution to the many challenges faced by the future of agriculture. Their system uses 90 percent less water, 90 percent less land and requires 90 percent less travel in a truck than other leading year-round lettuce farms currently supplying Midwest stores.
Kelsey Bock and her husband, Austin, wanted to create an opportunity that brought freedom to others through a retail marketplace. “Business as a Mission” is a concept that is becoming more and more common. Young entrepreneurs, like the Bocks, are implementing a sustainable business plan that benefits individuals lacking freedom around the world, and allowing them to make a good living as part of the model.
Based in Kalamazoo, Feed the World Café was created with a purpose: to give one meal away for every meal the café sells. As executive chef Patrick Mixis states, “Feed the World Café is about making a difference in the world and not just our community.”
Gluten Free Bar was created by two brothers with celiac disease who understand the struggle many face when trying to find quality gluten-free food. As a “triple bottom line company,” GFB focuses its business goals on People, Planet and Profits.
Solar Winds Power Systems is considered one of the most experienced and responsive solar photovoltaic installation firms in southwest Michigan. The company’s innovation lies in taking the newest solar technology to underutilized markets by using real-time data to support solar panel use.
Water Street Coffee has grown from a one-man coffee shop to a successful line of cafés. While working with Royal Importer, based in New York, Water Street has worked to employ hundreds of farm workers in countries such as Ethiopia and Mexico. Through fair trade and growing organic coffees, Water Street has benefited the lives of hundreds of workers.