Memorial Day Weekend is a time to reflect on fallen soldiers that have relentlessly fought for a more peaceful world and to honor them. Fortunately, peace doesn’t always have to be attained on the battlefield and has merged into dozens of commercial industries and projects.
Let’s look at a few such endeavors that may contribute to a better world. Over the course of 3 years, The San Diego State University Lavin Entrepreneurship Center and the Fred J. Hansen Institute for World Peace have partnered with the Palestinian Center for Agricultural Research and Development and the Peres Center for Peace in Israel on the ‘Entrepreneur for Peace’ Platform. They’ve held a shared vision to unite and maintain commercial partnerships throughout the Middle East by collaborating with farmers, agri-businesses and entrepreneurs. This vision has developed into the making of “peace” crops such as olives, almonds, grapes, strawberries and more traded to European and Western markets. Social entrepreneurs are starting to make a name and adopt a plethora of endeavors to raise civil capital and improve social conditions.
The idea isn’t complex but has been taking off over the past 5-10 years. With the concept that the strongest cure to poverty and social disparities is entrepreneurship, CEOs of American corporations have worked diligently to create effective business partnerships with areas that need it most. According to the UN’s Human Development Index rating the development of nearly 190 nations, Israel is ranked No. 19 and viewed as ‘very highly developed’ in contrast to the regions of Palestine rated at No. 107 and considered moderately developed. A primary contributing factor to this development gap has been lack of commercial opportunities. When Hamas was elected in 2006, he focused on offering education, health care and social programs that ultimately decreased terrorist activity in and around the country. Thus, the idea that economic sustainability improves social conditions is not far-fetched but remains a logical choice during times of global industrial change. Truth be told, entrepreneurs in less developed countries are equally if not more ambitious with a knack for innovation as those found in the U.S. Unfortunately; there has not always been initiatives to capitalize on their talents and offer productive outlets for them to channel such skills.
The Peres Center for Peace is one organization that has tapped into these markets with hopes of establishing a foundation for economic growth. Thanks to their peace crops formally referred to as Integrated Crop Management, Palestinian and Israeli businesses have been exposed to trading and cross-border development by connecting with suppliers, exporters, and policy-makers that are eager to promote social change. One of their projects deemed the ‘Market Penetration Program‘ concentrates on expanding Israeli-Palestinian relations through workshops, business-to-business (B2B) meetings, networking events, consultations and more.
Another foundation known as the World Peace Youth hosts their very own Youth Citizen Entrepreneurship Competition. This is an event where youth panelists share their insight on global issues without the mediation of adults. It is a place where young people can share their solutions to foster a more peace-filled landscape for their family and communities. Also, it’s a perfect setting to network with advocates and entrepreneurs from around the world while encouraging healthy business collaborations.
The Davis Project for Peace funds the ‘100 projects for peace’ where students from nearly 100 campuses can customize and submit their proposals for solutions in the 21st century. This was developed by Kathryn Wasserman, who dedicated $1 million to support the platform. Top contributors receive $10,000 in funding to back their projects.
Social entrepreneurship is setting sail and extending its reach into untapped markets abroad. In hopes of granting entrepreneurs with connections and insight needed for success, the idea of peace no longer feels out of grasp.