As I get to know and work with more international founders, I’m struck by how hopeful I feel for the future of the planet. While we are mired in strange times with California wildfires, enflamed political discourse, and an aging Mother Earth, the people I met this past week at Blackbox, whose tagline is “Elevating Entrepreneurs Everywhere”, gave me hope that with enough ingenuity and passion, we can solve the problems in front of us collectively with greater speed and impact. Hearing the 10 pitches of Blackbox’ 24th cohort left me enthused as I was struck by how positive the energy of the founders and the incubator is and how optimistic it made me for the future.

One of the founders, Carlos, is helping elevate workers in Latin America to access better jobs by automating and democratizing the application and hiring process used by large corporations. He speaks with a broad smile of the impact his SaaS is having on individuals to make their families lives better. He tells stories of individuals empowered to beleive in themselves again.

Alex is from Brazil. He saw that farmers selling agricultural commoditeis and the buyers buying them were still stuck on the phone. This antiquated method promotes corruption and disempowers farmers as they deal with the same buyers they have been buying from for genrations. His online marketplace already has 2000 farmers on the platfrom. They now have access to more buyers and better pricing than before. The big corporate buyers win as well as compliance becomes easier and their market grows as well.

Primary health care access is problem that has been addresses by teleheatlh here in the States by Teledoc and DoctorOnDemand. Charlie saw that the Middle East and other emerging countiries had the need for primary care as badly, and had the cell phones to leverage telehealth. So he started a company that delivers primary health care to millions across a part of the world often ignored by other entrepreneurs if it doesn’t have to do with oil.

My final meeting was with Siddarth. He is solving a simple problem. People love their dogs and they worry about their safety and health. His canine tracking device provides location and movement information to dog owners so they can have peace of mind. And the peace of mind of one begins the peace of mind of the whole.

As we build these kind of relationships across the world, invisible threads weave an ever-increasing connection among like-minded people. The more we weave, the stonger the collective fabric of the planet becomes, the stronger our collective wisdom does.

So as we see all this crazy stuff happening and uncertainty across the globe, these bright, caring people working to fix problems gives me hope and makes me smile. I’m optimistic that we can come together, that we can rise up, and collectively solve whatever problems come our way.

So on this Thanksgiving week, I am grateful for entrepreneurs like these and all the others taking their knowledge, passion and energy and focusing it on helping to solve the world’s problems. I’m thankful for people like Fadi and Marie at Blackbox who support and nurture those founders. And I’m thankful that I can still be moved to look at the world with hopeful optimism.


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