By Shadrack Frimpong
Shadrack is a CGI U alum and founder and CEO of Cocoa360, an organization that pioneered the ‘farm-for-impact’ model, using revenues from community cocoa farms to fund educational and health care services in rural Ghana. Shadrack is one of Forbes 30 Under 30 — Social Entrepreneurs 2019.
Being included in the 2019 edition of the Forbes “30 Under 30” is an honor, but it’s an honor that I don’t share alone. A lot of the credit goes to my team that I work with and the people who believe in our work like President Clinton, Chelsea Clinton, and the CGI U team. When I first came to the U.S. for college I knew I wanted to make an impact but wasn’t quite sure on how to go about it. I heard about CGI U and their message of “turning ideas into action” on my Fisk University campus and decided to get involved. My start with CGI U in 2012 as a commitment-maker served as a genesis in terms of my thinking about how to create social good and make tangible impacts. It helped me know what was possible. I committed to addressing a range of issues such as improving access to education for women and improving health care for children in Ghana.
I have participated in CGI U throughout the years — whether it was as a student, mentor, or speaker — because it has been such a valuable experience. I’ve been able to meet and learn from different people, access resources and support, and gain skills through workshops on a range of topics such as fundraising, which taught me that it’s not just about knowing how to apply for grants, but also building relationships. The exposure and new relationships gained through CGI U increased awareness of my work, and that awareness contributed to me receiving the $150,000 President’s Engagement Prize from the University of Pennsylvania, which allowed me to start my organization Cocoa360.
Cocoa360 leverages existing community resources to improve access to education and healthcare for Ghana’s 1.6 million cocoa farmers. In less than three years, we’re proud to say that our work reaches eight communities and provides health care for 3,000 patients and educates 120 girls with a 98 percent attendance rate. This year we have a goal to expand our model to three new communities by working with different partners and reaching more students.
Learn more about what Cocoa360 does here and check out the list below of my fellow CGI U alumni featured in the 2019 Forbes “30 Under 30” who are using their entrepreneurial spirit to pursue social good in smart and impactful ways.
Shadrack Frimpong; Cocoa360, Founder & CEO
Shadrack’s original 2012 CGI U commitment was “Save Futures: Reducing Alcohol and Drug Abuse at Fisk University to reduce the number of injured students and fatal accidents due to drug and alcohol abuse. Currently, Shadrack works through Cocoa360 using their pioneering ‘farm-for-impact’ model, which uses revenues from community cocoa farms to fund educational and healthcare services in Ghana.
Komal Ahmad; Copia, Founder
Komal’s original 2012 CGI U commitment was “BareAbundance: Enough for All” to improve nutrition and public health in Oakland, Calif. Currently, Komal has founded Copia and works to makes healthy food more accessible to people in the community by helping businesses redistribute high-quality excess food to feed people in need.
Amelia Friedman; Hatch Apps, Co-Founder
Amelia’s original 2013 CGI U commitment was the “Student Language Exchange” to introduce students to languages and cultures not offered in their school curriculum through a culture exchange. Currently, Amelia has launched Hatch Apps, a platform that automates software development aiming to make it possible for anybody to design and launch a mobile app without coding.
Gregory Rockson; mPharma, Co-Founder
Gregory’s original 2010 CGI U commitment was the “Rwandan Community Partnership” to build a health center in a town called Kibungo. Currently, Gregory works with mPharma, a social tech enterprise looking to change the way medicine is accessed and delivered in developing countries. The company ensures patients have access to quality medicine they can afford.
Abdullah Feroze; Neurosurgical resident, Seattle Children’s Hospital
Abdullah’s original 2010 CGI U commitment was the “New America School Mentoring Program” to create an internship/student teacher program in Albuquerque, NM. Currently, Abdullah Feroze wants to cure pediatric brain tumors around the world and at Stanford he has worked to pioneer the use of a monoclonal antibody vaccine (anti-CD47), designed to block the CD47 ‘don’t eat me’ signal that cancer cells are known to express. It’s currently in clinical trials for multiple subtypes of leukemias and brain tumors.
Trang Duong and Victor Wang; Penta Group, Co-Founders
Trang and Victor’s original 2017 CGI U commitment was “Penta” to collect and repurpose used prosthetics and offer them at an affordable price to low-income people with limb disabilities in Vietnam. Currently, Trang, and Victor, along with Henry Iseman, are continuing that work by formally founding Penta and they estimate helping 6,000 amputees over the next three years.
Joseph Alim and Tuan Ho; ScholarJet, Co-Founders
Joseph and Tuan Ho’s original 2017 CGI U commitment was “ScholarJet” to develop a program that will increase access to education and experiential learning by enabling students to win scholarships in the U.S. Currently, Joseph and Tuan are continuing that work through their start-up and have set up skills-based competitions and scholarships for 50,000 students with financial need and connects those students to employers looking for entry-level workers.
Learn about CGI U and student commitments to action on our website.