Erin Zaikis is an entrepreneur who is making a big difference in the world with a simple idea. Her company, Sundara, recycles soap from hotels and distributes it to people in need, helping to prevent diseases and save lives.
The idea for Sundara came to Zaikis while she was volunteering in India. She noticed that many people were getting sick because they didn’t have access to basic hygiene products like soap. At the same time, she noticed that hotels were throwing away huge amounts of partially used soap bars.
Zaikis realized that there was an opportunity to collect and recycle these discarded soap bars, and use them to help people in need. She founded Sundara in 2013, and since then the company has recycled over 300,000 bars of soap and distributed them to communities in need in India, Myanmar, Uganda, and Haiti.
But Sundara isn’t just about distributing soap. The company also employs local women to run soap-making workshops in the communities they serve. This creates jobs and empowers women to become leaders in their communities.
Zaikis has faced many challenges along the way. One of the biggest was figuring out how to scale up the business while maintaining the quality of the soap. Sundara has developed a process for testing the soap to make sure it meets quality standards, and the company is now able to produce thousands of bars of soap per week.
Another challenge has been raising funds to support the work of Sundara. Zaikis has used a combination of crowdfunding, grants, and partnerships with businesses and hotels to raise money for the company. Sundara has also received support from organizations like the Clinton Foundation and the United Nations.
Despite these challenges, Zaikis remains focused on her mission to help people in need. She believes that anyone can make a difference, no matter how small their idea may seem. Her advice to other entrepreneurs is to stay focused on their mission and not be afraid to ask for help.
Zaikis has received numerous awards and recognition for her work with Sundara, including being named a Forbes 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneur and a TED Fellow. But for her, the real reward is knowing that she is making a difference in people’s lives.
Erin Zaikis is proof that a simple idea can have a big impact. By recycling soap and empowering women, she is improving the health and well-being of communities around the world.