“The Difference Maker” | Founder, Pangea Bottles | Lufkin, Texas
About your business: Pangea Bottles makes and sells eco-friendly, BPA free, stainless steel water bottles. For each bottle that is sold, Pangea gives a person in need clean water for four years by drilling water wells in developing countries.
Inspiration: I started Pangea Bottles because I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives without relying on charitable donations. Social entrepreneurship was just beginning to take root across the country, and I had heard that around one billion people did not have access to clean water, so I wanted to find a way to help.
How you got started: While I was getting my MBA at Baylor, I decided that there wasn’t any reason why I couldn’t start my own business before graduating. After setting up the website, contacting manufacturers and partnering with Living Water International (a nonprofit), we started shipping bottles from the living room in my apartment.
Best moment: Receiving that first email that said someone had purchased a bottle online. It was only about $20, but it felt like it was much more than that. It was the first time I thought this idea could really work.
Tackling social problems: Social entrepreneurship is something that I am very passionate about. I believe that as consumers become more aware of companies like Pangea Bottles or TOMS Shoes, whose products have a social mission tied to them, other companies and entrepreneurs will begin to consider social responsibility as not just an option for business, but as a requirement.
Words of wisdom: For college students: don’t wait until you graduate to start a business. Find something that you are passionate about, make it happen and give it a mission. The barriers to starting your own business have never been lower.