The Global Good Fund is a nonprofit organization that supports high-potential social entrepreneurs in more than 25 countries globally, collectively impacting the lives of over 8.5 million people.  Since its founding in 2012 by Carrie Rich, a faculty member at George Washington University in Washington, DC., the Fund has supported 105 Fellows from three continents with over 18,000 hours of mentoring and coaching. Entrepreneur.com has named The Global Good Fund one of its Top 30 Startups to Watch.

Here, meet The Global Good Fund’s seventh cohort of Fellows. This select group of ten social innovators, chosen from among thousands of applicants, come from around the globe. Yet each of them is striving to create a ripple effect of change around our world’s most pressing social issues, including health, education, and finance.

  • Michelle Arevalo-Carpenter, CEO and Cofounder of IMPAQTO

IMPAQTO has developed a network of social innovation spaces in emerging cities in Latin America, places that hold promise but are often overlooked. Currently, a new generation of change agents are seeking to build a new, sustainable economic model. However, the mortality rate for most startup businesses on the continent is exceptionally high due to lack of access to capital, high rents, low social mobility, and gender-based obstacles.

IMPAQTO assists Latin American entrepreneurs by providing co-working spaces, business acceleration programs, and social innovation consulting. In addition, IMPAQTO Network & Consulting serves leading public and private sector organizations, such as Nestlé and the City of Quito, thereby helping to sponsor scholarships for entrepreneurs in incubation programs.

Seven years ago, CEO and Cofounder Michelle Arevalo-Carpenter returned from a powerful job in Switzerland to her home country of Ecuador with the dream of starting an impact business around affordable housing. However, reality quickly set-in. “In a polarized society like Ecuador, the idea of a social enterprise was an oxymoron,” she says. “People questioned my enthusiasm and optimism.”

Nevertheless, she networked to discover a cofounder, and together they started hosting meetups for the change-maker community. Through this process, Arevalo-Carpenter found her life purpose: Empower an entire generation of Latin American changemakers in furthering the social innovation revolution.

To aspiring changemakers, Arevalo-Carpenter offers this advice: “Surround yourself with a community that inspires you and understands your mission. Your work as a changemaker will sooner or later put you to the test. When you run out of fuel, when the context seems too complex, when you doubt yourself, having a community to rely on is what will help you back on your feet.”

Read the rest of MeiMei Fox’s article at Forbes