Forbes 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneurs

Everything old is new again with the 2019 edition of the Forbes 30 Under 30. The list chronicles the best and brightest entrepreneurs. From creating milk without cows to driving trucks without drivers, these innovators are shaking up some of the world’s stodgiest industries with their social entrepreneurism.

Following is the list that showcases some of the next generation of leaders. From innovating in technology and distributing immense talent and dominating the world stage, this group of young stars shines in more way than one.

Rising Tide Car Wash

Thomas D’Eri started Rising Tide Car Wash to give his brother, who has autism, the chance at a career. Today, the company has also given that opportunity to others, employing 80 people with autism at its two Florida locations. In addition, D’Eri cofounded Rising Tide U, which helps entrepreneurs who want to hire individuals with autism.

Tom currently serves on the board of the RACI Project, a volunteer-run citizen organization specializing in cross-cultural solutions for sustainable livelihoods development; and is a Starting Bloc Fellow among other young leaders aged 18-30 from all sectors who believe that economic value creation and social value creation are complementary. While in college, he performed extensive service with the Nassau Suffolk Services for Autism.

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Weighting Comforts

Companies have started cropping up to address anxiety in ways that avoid the use of pharmaceuticals. Following the trend, Josh Durham founded Weighting Comforts, a weighted blanket that naturally increases serotonin in the body. Each blanket is hand-sewn by refugees in Nashville, Tennessee. They are on track to generate $8 million in revenue in 2018.

Even as a Trevecca undergraduate, Josh Durham was working to build Weighting Comforts, a company he founded with his mom, Donna—a graduate of Trevecca’s master’s program in marriage and family therapy—to sell weighted blankets designed to improve sleep and ease anxiety. As a business management major, NCAA Division II track athlete, and student body vice president, Durham juggled it all.


Brennan Hatton and Rick Martin co-founded Equal Reality. The team behind Equal Reality is bringing diversity and inclusion training into the 21st century. Their VR experience enables users to see the world from the point of view of other genders, races and ability-level. They recently launched in Australia.

Brennan began building virtual worlds and communities 10 years ago, and has since founded several social impact companies in augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), game development and education.

He is currently co-founder and CTO at Equal Reality, which The Ageing Revolution described as “transformational, shifting people’s perceptions and helping to create better workplaces, better communities.” Equal Reality creates diversity and inclusion training in VR, allowing one to “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes,” so anyone can experience discrimination or inappropriate behavior from the perspective of others.

Sustainable Ocean Alliance

At 19, Daniela V. Fernandez founded Sustainable Ocean Alliance (SOA) while in college. In five years, it’s become the world’s largest network of young leaders working to protect the world’s waters with a presence in 60 countries. SOA also has its own accelerator to support ocean startups. It’s raised $3 million in funding to date.

Daniela V. Fernandez founded Sustainable Ocean Alliance (SOA) from the her dorm room. Five years later, she has built SOA into a global organization that is cultivating and accelerating innovative solutions to protect and sustain the health of the ocean. With phenomenal speed, SOA has created the world’s largest network of young ocean leaders.

Bottom Line

Aspiring young entrepreneurs can look up to these young upstarts, for inspiration and courage to boldly follow their dreams. Richard Black, founder of AI startup Halfcode, is one such teen entrepreneur. This 17-year-old teen founded Halfcode to help make a difference in the world.

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