Ideas for high-impact entrepreneurship

Here are ideas of activities you can start if you want to help resolve the world’s most pressing problems. Half of them concern developing countries and rely on technology.  Many of these ideas are for-profit oriented, but a lot of them are also applicable to non-profit organizations.

You’ll see that some ideas are harder to implement than others. It’s because I believe entrepreneurship should not be limited to individuals working in their garage, but also has to be embraced by well-established companies.

For more context on the problems chosen here, please refer to Phil Hewinson’s comprehensive blog post on the subject, and 80 000 hours’ list of most urgent global issues.

My desire is that the innovations present below get evaluated, so that people wondering whether they should start their company on these ideas can have some help. Here is an example of the first review I have written, dealing with cultured meat start-ups in Europe.

 

Poverty

Mobile payment systems in developing countries

No-fee and international money transfer app

Data-driven loan app for financially undeserved people

Peer-to-peer lending plateforms

Fintech apps to help people open bank accounts

Fundraising sites for people and organizations in need

Better commodities delivery systems in developing countries

Global health

Crowdfunding app for healthcare in developing countries

AI systems improving malaria diagnosis in Africa

Better vaccines against malaria

Biotechnology companies targeting neglected tropical diseases

Pharmaceutical companies seeking mass drug administration

Opensource medical diagnostic software

Mobile app to give health workers information and data

Uber-like app for ambulances in developing countries

Biotechnology-based approaches for the control of harmful insects

HIV treatment technologies in low income countries

Healthcare

Online mental health community for people suffering with depression and anxiety

Pharmacogenomics to deliver optimal drug therapy (maximum efficacy with minimal adverse effects)

AI-powered app helping people quit smoking

Magnetic blood filtration technology

Brain degeneration prediction technology

Pharmaceutical innovation in oncology, immunology and neuroscience

Chronic disease management app

Biosecurity

Data science apps to provide epidemiological insights

Mobile application helping people to know their personalized disease risks

Disability

Mobile platform that supports people with disabilities

App connecting blind and low-vision people with sighted volunteers for visual assistance through a live video call

AI-powered computer vision to speech app for blind people

Apps enabling partially or totally deaf people to contact emergency services

Apps which help disabled people get the support they need at train stations

Well-being

Mobile site that provides sex education to adolescents in Africa

Products for people living with cancer

Products for people suffering with dementia and memory loss

Crowdfunding platform to help families adopt a child

Housing

Crowdfunding platform that helps homeless people fund training to get back into work

Delivering surplus food from offices, parties, weddings and restaurants to local feeding programs

Apps providing basic information to homeless people about services that help them

Refugees

Missing person’s platform for refugees and displaced populations

Platforms matching refugees with people who have a spare bedroom

Chatbots that connects refugees with live translators

E-commerce sites funding bikes for refugees

Training and employing refugees so that they can teach their language

Education

Mobile site facilitating questions and answers about education

Crowdfunding to help students attend school in developing countries

Crowdfunding to help teachers raise money for classroom supplies

AI-powered and community-based app to help students with their homework

Solar-powered tablets to teach local languages in developing countries

Code-teaching platforms to empower people

Crowdfunding to develop scientific education

AI-powered personalized medicine devices

Climate change

Nuclear-fusion-energy power plant production

Efficient battery-charging technology in developing countries

Carbon engineering start-ups in Asia

Smart cities technology to reduce air pollution caused by traffic

Animal product alternatives (see the category below)

Energy

Smart battery packs for mobile phones

Funding solar energy in developing countries

Metering technology that help people and companies reduce their electricity consumption

Off-grid solar technology in East Africa

Fusion energy to generate clean and low-cost electricity

Nuclear risks

Nuclear safety systems improvement

Automation for limiting human error in the nuclear industry

Molten salt reactors production

Agriculture

Weather forecasting app in developing countries

SMS Q&A networks for farmers

Green biotechnologies enabling the production of more fertile and resistant (towards biotic and abiotic stress) plants

Brown biotechnology creating enhanced seeds that resist extreme environmental conditions of arid regions

Crowdfunding app for farmers in developing countries

Animal product alternatives

Meat-like plant-based alternatives in the developing world

Cultivated meat start-ups in Europe

Local cultivated meat companies in the developing world

Fermentation technology to produce eggs without chicken

Fermentation technology to produce dairy products without cows

Cultured seafood products in South-East Asia

Bioreactor production company for cellular agriculture

Plant-based leather production cooperatives in developing countries

Biofrabricated leather in Europe

AI risks

AI safety research company

AI ethics consulting in healthcare

Data science

Data-driven professional orientation app

Analytics platform empowering decision makers with real-time data

Data science ethics consulting in healthcare

Internet

Balloons to extend connectivity

Peer-to-peer mesh networks between devices

Employment

Providing decent jobs in developing countries

Freelance platforms in developing countries

Apps listing working opportunities in West Africa

Local e-commerce sites to empower people

Women empowerment

App that connects girls to improve their opportunities and mobility

App that helps girls saving they money and improving their financial literacy

Chatbot to support women with health and hygiene

Chatbot to support women who are victims of gender violence

Modern Slavery

Tracking and catching child sex traffickers with data analytics and SMS hotline

App to report suspicions of people exploitation at car washes

App to report suspected human trafficking

Human rights

Mobile security software (or app) to help individuals freely communicate and protect themselves from intrusion and monitoring

App enabling people to record video in order to protect and defend their rights

Social action

Mobile platforms to enable people to setup petitions

Platforms connecting people to allow them to improve their local communities

Platforms connecting local charities with businesses that give resources

Donation

Low friction giving app

Games that give a part of their revenues to effective charities

Blockchain app to track donations

Consumer giving accounts apps

Science

Powerful experimental lab helping scientists to refocus on science orchestration

Q&A website dedicated to a specific research discipline

Scientific reasoning (native-speaking) education websites in developing countries

Improving institutional decision-making

Data-driven forecasting tools

Data-driven forecasting education website

Behavioral science consulting in politics

Prediction markets education website

Giving speeches about evidence-based practices in institutional organizations

Ecological nudge implementation company

Any other ideas to add ?

More information on the approach

Even though almost all these ideas are derived from real examples of impactful initiatives, it is sometimes unclear whether they could really have an impact in other contexts. This is why having feedback from real-life doers is very crucial. The opening soon forum is aimed at knowing more on entrepreneurial ideas that work and don’t work in some contexts.

The ultimate goal

Being able to test rigorously whether such ideas can have a real impact or not – Yes, mere speculation doesn’t have its place when it comes to saving lives. This will be possible thanks to efforts focusing on developing an Effective Entrepreneurship Framework. All your suggestions on this subject are welcomed in the comments.

Finally, if you…

  • Want to know where these ideas come from, here is the list of sources that have partly helped me.
  • Want more reading resources to try entrepreneurship, I will soon publish I have set up. More sum-ups of these books can be found on Four Minutes Books and Personalmba.com. 
  • Want to stay informed of the evolution of the list, just subscribe to the newsletter :

For other requests, feel free to contact me.

1 thought on “Ideas for high-impact entrepreneurship

  1. Note : I’m currently updating this page, to fix some order and epistemological issues.

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