Frustrated at the high unemployment rates facing young people in Europe, Kevin Ackermann, 25; Iman Fadaei, 26; and Martin Wetterberg, 22, decided to try to make things better. About 12 months ago they launched Aha Design, a London start-up that provides affordably priced website development and other services to clients such as start-ups, charities and the British government. They pay young people to work on projects to gain valuable work experience and, ideally, recommendations from clients so they are more employable when they send out job applications.
"We're all passionate about entrepreneurship and making money, but also about helping create a better world," said Fadaei, a law school graduate who also runs Ethical Art, a start-up that sells artwork and uses the proceeds from each sale to send a child to school in Tanzania for a year. Meanwhile, Ackermann runs another business, called BACA Jewellery, which sources pearls from cooperatives that teach survivors of human trafficking how to make a living through jewelry making; it donates some of its profits to them.
Aha Design made the GEW 50, a list of the most promising start-ups competing in the Startup Open, a contest that is part of Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW). Winners will be announced Nov. 18 as the celebration kicks off in 139 countries.