17 Goals, 16 World-Changing Entrepreneurs, and the Global Partnerships to Support Them

What is Unreasonable Goals?

Unreasonable Goals represents the first program of its kind: a global, public-private partnership dedicated exclusively to scaling up ventures that are positioned to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). On September 25, 2015, leaders from 193 countries came together at the United Nations and adopted a set of 17 “Global Goals” that include ending hunger, conserving the oceans, ensuring gender equality, and providing access to clean energy for all – along with specific targets to reach by 2030.

In the past couple of decades alone, we as a global community spent trillions of dollars in development assistance and philanthropy, and yet 50 million more people live in poverty on the African continent today than did in 2000. This post shares more about what the world has tried to date. Clearly, our traditional approaches are falling short of achieving our goals as a global community. In short, something needs to shift.

Our traditional approaches are falling short of achieving our goals as a global community. Something needs to shift. Tweet This Quote

In close partnership with the U.S. Department of State, we co-founded our inaugural program this July 2017 just outside of Washington DC. Our team was also privileged to count Johnson & Johnson, Lowe’s, Thomson Reuters, Amazon Web Services, Bluescape and PeaceTech Lab as partners and supporters. Throughout the program, we aligned 16 ventures with world-class mentorship, strategic financing, and access to a global network of support.

Our goal is to support the most effective entrepreneurial solutions in the world towards each of the Global Goals. Thus, in the years to come, we will not only continue to work closely with each of the companies in this first cohort, but we will also host this program in a different country with new entrepreneurs and partners every year until 2030. After running this for 13 years, we will have worked with over 200 of the fastest growing entrepreneurs of our time, and we will have partnered with 13 national governments and dozens of multinational corporations and organizations. This collaborative and aligned global network is where the real impact comes into focus.

How Did We Select the Companies?

A lot of people ask us how we went about determining which companies should participate in the inaugural program. Unreasonable Goals scoured the globe for entrepreneurs we believe are best positioned to solve each of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. We were looking for ventures who are already providing a clear and direct benefit to hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people and who are eager to take their effective solutions to global scale. Below is the basic selection criteria that we used:

  • For-profit model: Every venture invited into the program is leveraging a for-profit business model.
  • Market traction: At minimum, we are working with companies that have raised or generated at least $1M to date. We are looking to scale already effective solutions. To this end, the average company participating in the program has already raised $22M USD.
  • Highly scalable: We are scaling what works. We only invited ventures that we believe are set up to scale internationally and eventually globally.
  • Commitment to a SDG: The CEO of each venture needed to demonstrate a clear commitment to solving one of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
  • Tracking impact: Each invited venture agreed to actively measure their impact on a specific global goal on a quarterly basis through 2030.
  • Local teams: We only invited ventures where the majority of their team members live and work in the countries where they operate.

We believe the best way to introduce you to the companies and how their work is positioned around achieving the SDGs is for them to tell you their own stories. Therefore, in the coming weeks, we will feature Q&A articles and four minute talks that showcase the solutions of each of the companies and how they will contribute to the United Nations’ ambitious agenda by 2030. Stay tuned.


This post is part of a series profiling ventures in the first accelerator program dedicated to leveraging market forces and public-private partnerships to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. For more information on the program, check out the Unreasonable Goals website.

About the author

Scott McElroy

Scott McElroy is the Video Production Manager at Unreasonable. He is passionate about creating media that inspires people to give a damn.