Social entrepreneurship startup Impact Mart is one of many startups participating in the 2017 reSET Impact Accelerator. The program is designed for entrepreneurs in the early stages of business development.
Impact Mart Co-Founder Lanna Nawa told Innovation Destination Hartford about the startup’s mission to help solve world issues.
INNOVATION DESTINATION HARTFORD: Tell us about Impact Mart. Why did you start the company?
LANNA NAWA: Through our work over the years from building a school in Nepal, helping clean water projects, and fighting for the eradication of human trafficking in Connecticut, we learned two main things:
- Solving global scale problems is complex.
- Efficient change starts at the individual level.
We were motivated to create an easy way for people to make an impact in their everyday lives.
IDH: How did you develop the business concept?
LN: We believe doing good should be easier than doing harm. With this in mind, we designed a store to fit three main criteria: ethical, economical, and enjoyable. We want the average millennial with a limited budget (like us) to be able to purchase items they love while creating serious positive change.
IDH: Tell us about your startup.
LN: Impact Mart is your ultimate shop for loving people and the planet. Every purchase goes toward solving a current world issue from healthcare, to human trafficking, to homelessness.
IDH: What makes your company unique?
LN: Transparency. Ever wonder where your dollar goes when you are buying something “good”? We film and blog about our adventures as we verify the impact our products make. We don’t just say where your proceeds go, we actually go build the schools, volunteer in drives, pick up trash from the ocean, and much more. This is not only fun for us, but also some of our customers who take enjoyment in diving beneath the surface, and even volunteer for the causes!
IDH: Describe the ways your company is making a social impact.
LN: Our proceeds contribute toward building schools in rural Nepal. We just went back again in February 2017 to expand the school we built in 2016 and to collaborate with the country’s educational leaders on future projects. In addition, every product sold on our e-commerce store goes toward these causes:
- Animal welfare
- Human trafficking
- Patient care
- Public health
- World hunger
IDH: Why are you participating in the reSET accelerator?
LN: From day one, reSET has provided us with invaluable resources to help us make our dream a reality. The organization provides everything from lawyers, accountants, co-working space, and dedicated staff to help your business grow. We specifically chose to participate in reSET’s accelerator because it specializes in social entrepreneurship. The program not only offers guidance on how to take your startup to the next level, but also how to do so in an ethical manner.
IDH: Any advice for entrepreneurs or startup business owners?
LN: No one’s advice matters more than your customer’s advice. Experience is the best teacher. Go out and ask your customers what, why, and how they feel about what you are doing and take it from there.
IDH: Where do you see your company one year from now?
LN: Connecticut is our home, but the world is our family. We are planning to visit colleges across the United States with our pop-up store. We can’t wait to spread good vibes and teach our youth about social enterprise.
Learn about 2017 reSET Impact Accelerator participants:
- Hopewell Health Solutions – Social Impact Startup Provides Innovative Health Treatment Solutions
- Kulture Magazine — Social Impact Startup Fosters Innovative Youth Kulture
- Supply InSight, Inc. — Social Impact Startup Provides RFID Solutions
- WEWOOL — Social Impact Startup with a Mission to Help the Homeless