The aim of the forum was to bring together young people from all over the world to discuss and redefine what it means to think as an entrepreneur in today’s knowledge based economic climate. This conference was set to the backdrop of beautiful, scenic and lavish Dubai. My project, The Green Store was one of 15 projects invited to come to Dubai and pitch at the conference. We came in first place within our category, environmental sustainability and second place overall.
The World Summit Youth Award is a unique global contest which brings together young developers and digital entrepreneurs who use internet and mobile technology to put the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) into action. My, “Green is the New Gangsta” project won in the category of Environmental Sustainability.
Cincinnati born-and-raised Creative Director Joi Sears is a creative’s creative: she’s done everything from dance and spoken word to photography and theater, earning a BFA in Acting before shifting her focus to combining the arts and social change through entrepreneurship. We talk about her ethical fashion line Amsterdamage, her sustainable pop-up shop The Green Store, and why she was banned from Europe by the Dutch government(!).
We also discuss:
– Her goal of traveling 30 cities outside the US by her 30th birthday, including places in Brazil, Haiti, an Ghana before winding up in Amsterdam.
– The bold mouse and the poetry performance that changed the course of her life.
– Her top three tips for zero-waste newbies (hint: cut back on plastic, especially single-use plastic products like water bottles and straws).
– Why she wanted The Green Store to be more than a place to shop.
– What she discovered researching sustainability and shopping habits of millennials.
– Her dream of finding a permanent location for The Green Store and how it could be replicated and adapted to communities in cities around the world (attention funders and investors!).
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“Cincinnati has a thriving startup community,” said Joi Sears of The Green Store Cincy, a pop-up eco shop supported by People’s Liberty and located in its Over-the-Rhine storefront across from Findlay Market. “As someone who has spent many years living between New York City and Amsterdam, Netherlands, I find that it’s much easier to be an entrepreneur here in Cincinnati than most other places I’ve been, mainly because it’s easier to access capital, resources and support.”
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“Sears has some serious experience engaging diverse communities of participants — sometimes willing, sometimes circumstantial — in reflecting their cultures back at themselves via events, workshops and performances around the world with her organization, Free People International. “ click here to keep reading.
“Just 31 years old, Sears has traveled the world, racking up an impressive resume of cultural experiences, as well as professional and educational fellowships. But these achievements are only the means to an end: Sears is helping other entrepreneurs and creatives around the globe use art to enact social change.”
“Pecha kucha” means “chit chat” in Japanese and is based on a presentation format showcasing 20 images in 20 seconds. This makes each presentation concise and keeps things moving.
“The key to a great presentation is to present something you love,” says Ryan Newman, organizer for PechaKucha in Cincinnati. “Most people use PechaKucha Night to present their latest creative projects or work. Some people share their passion and might show their prized collection of records, while others share photos of their latest visit to a construction site or their recent holiday snaps.”
“Art is at the forefront of any social justice movement—it’s very central to creating change in the world,” Sears says. “So I really want to empower artists to think about what it is that they do and how they can use that—use their voice to make change.” Click here to check out the write-up.