Dallas Harris, founder of Unlock Hope, has built an incredible and sustainable business to fight the cycle of violence and poverty in Uganda, through education for the country’s young girls-read on for some practical insights on how to grow a business from the things you find yourself being the most drawn to and passionate about, and lessons Unlock Hope has learned on their journey of impacting Uganda! Our winner of the two conference tickets has been chosen! Thank you so much to all who entered! Please stay tuned for more opportunities to win conference tickets and more! Tell us a little about Unlock Hope-What’s the story? How did it start? What’s the mission? It all started when I watched the documentary “Invisible Children.” I was heartbroken by the situation in Uganda and wanted to do something about it. Before seeing the movie, I knew very little about Uganda so I started researching and found the lack of girls’ education was a key element in the issues the country is facing. On the surface our mission is to simply educate girls in Uganda. And while that’s true, it’s only one part of what it’s about. I am passionate about justice, equality and causing change and there happens to be a big opportunity to further that through educating girls in Uganda. Nelson Mandela described it perfectly when he said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Tell us about your partnership with Think Humanity… How have you seen this partnership succeed? How did you find Think Humanity, and decide to partner with them? I found Think Humanity through researching ways to make a difference in Uganda. I was immediately drawn to the fact that they were a small, efficient organization. It is run by a small group of volunteers and a shocking 99% of donations are used directly to fund their programs. They had just started a hostel program where they took in 30 refugee girls and provided them with a safe place to live, nutritious meals, health care and, most importantly, access to quality education. This is the same program that we now fully fund through the sale of our products. I do what I do best (marketing, sales, product design) and they do what they do best (taking great care of the girls in Uganda). The key to any successful partnership is to allow that to happen without getting in the way of the other. What are some stories of success for Unlock Hope and Think Humanity? While the obvious benefits such as access to fresh healthy food, shelter, safety, and healthcare can be seen on a daily basis, the greatest success hasn’t yet been realized. The impact of educating these girls will be felt for generations. There is an African proverb that says “When you educate a girl, you educate a nation.”What were some hurdles you overcame in building a do-good business? Early on the biggest hurdle was skepticism but lately the biggest hurdle is competition. Or at least the idea of it. There are so many great causes out there and it’s okay to support them all. At events people will often will say things like “this is amazing but I support this other organization” or “our church supports this mission so we give all of our money to that.” Just because you support one thing doesn’t mean you can’t support another if it’s a cause that you believe in. There’s no such thing as doing too much good. How did you decide to pursue building a social-good business? ** My absolute favorite quote is by Howard Thurman: “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” **(Side note from Yellow Co.: Hey! Ours too!)** I didn’t even set out to build a business at all. I just wanted to make a difference and I ended up finding a way to make it easy for other people to get involved and make a difference. Up until a year ago I had another business that I worked on in addition to doing this. If you feel truly passionate about something, then you don’t really have a choice but to pursue it and throw yourself into it. I couldn’t imagine putting this much effort into something that I wasn’t passionate about. Find something that makes you “come alive” and that in itself is “social-good.” Most of the problems in the world could be solved simply by people deciding to do what they are passionate about and were created to do. **Did you ever have a different dream or was it always to do what you are doing now? ** I’ve had a business of some sort ever since I was 14. I would have never guessed that I would be doing this 10 years ago and I don’t expect to be doing the same thing 10 years from now . My dream has always been to do something that I love and to make a difference. That has taken many different forms over the years. I have so many interests and passions and always have an idea in the works for the next thing.What does VALOR mean to you and how do you implement it into your business? ** Most people think of valor as courage but it really has more to do with worth. To me valor is simply having the audacity to be your true self. You don’t have to be “this” or “that”. You were created to be ”other.” Your uniqueness is where you will find your worth. I don’t see it as something to be implemented only in business but as something to be embodied in all aspects of life. Any advice for our readers? Vote with your dollars. You do this multiple times a day whether you realize it or not. It’s one of the best ways to truly create change. You have more power than you think. Support companies that align with your values and beliefs. I know it’s not always possible, but when the opportunity presents itself go ahead and spend the few extra dollars. Not only are you giving that money to something you believe in but you’re also taking it away from something that you don’t. People are so passionate about certain causes, but when faced with an opportunity to do something about it we often opt for saving a few bucks. Money drives the world and can be a powerful weapon when used for good. Gandhi said, “Action expresses priorities.” A lot of times people think awareness is enough but that means nothing without action. THANKS SO MUCH TO EVERYONE WHO ENTERED! We were so inspired by your entries! We have chosen a winner for this giveaway, but please stay tuned for future opportunities to win!