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Reality star's "One-for-One" business model inspires mtvU to seek out "Movers & Shakers"

Julia Clancy

Issue date: 9/25/09 Section: News
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[Click to enlarge]
Blake Mycoskie is trying to save the world with his shoes. Thirty-two year old Mycoskie founded and operates TOMS shoes on a very unique and exquisitely simple business paradigm: "With every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need. One for One."  

Mycoskie also operates on a refreshing kind of simplicity in his own life. Despite what you might call his "celebrity status," Mycoskie, who competed in the second season of "The Amazing Race", maintains an unbroken focus on doing one thing he was raised to do: give back.

Mycoskie grew up in a community minded family. "I always wanted to incorporate giving in what I did, but it was just a matter of finding the right way to do so." 

Vacationing in Argentina, he discovered how something as simple as a pair of shoes could make a huge difference in the lives of children.  He described a group of boys that showed him their rocky, glass-strewn soccer fields. 

"They'd been playing there barefoot for years. When they got the shoes, they were so excited that playing soccer would be easier, they'd finally have some speed. Seeing the children in these villages has taught me a lot about life," said Mycoskie.

He'd started five successful businesses such as an outdoor advertising company, and a laundry service, and an eco-friendly driving school. 

"To be truthful, in the five businesses that I've started, I have no background or experience in any of those areas," he said. His shoe line is no exception. "I knew a lot about business and how to start one, but had no experience in fashion or making shoes before starting TOMS."

It's this kind of creative capitalistic spirit that mtvU Vice President of Affiliate Relations Carlo DeMarco says its new contest "Movers & Changers," is looking for. A winner of this competition is someone "with big ideas, someone we think that can make it work, that can hit it out of the park and bring a unique philanthropic business idea into fruition," said DeMarco.

"Movers & Changers" is looking for 16 to 22-year-old social entrepreneurs like Mycoskie with business plans that will positively influence a community, the country, or the world, but will also be profitable and sustainable.  Three finalists will be flown to New York City to participate in Global Entrepreneurship Week where they'll get feedback from experts on what's right and what's wrong, what will make their business successful and who to know to make it happen. A panel of seven, including Mycoskie, will decide who is best cut out to turn $25,000 into something great.
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In This Issue


  • A conversation with Brad Hughes
  • Can you name this place?
  • Click it or Kick it event explores the potential price of pornography use
  • CWRU alumni and students' new website CorkShare ready to run on Nov. 2
  • CWRU nominated for PETA's most vegetarian-friendly college contest
  • CWRU, CIM, and CIA students rock out thanks to John Lennon bus tour
  • Homecoming at a glance
  • Swine flu 2009: Vaccine update
  • USG Briefs


  • A winning strategy
  • Class of 2010 wins second straight
  • Football Gameday: Case vs. University of Chicago
  • For one hockey player, lots of adjustments
  • Homecoming theme for Spartans: lots of scoring
  • Spartan Spotlight: Mike Pelyak
  • Top teams come to CWRU for UAAs

Fun Page

  • Combo Scramble Solution
  • Crossword Solution
  • Maze Solution
  • Sudoku Solutions


  • A potential roadblock to heaven
  • Editorial: Alumni weekend and Homecoming continue to improve, but school spirit skill lacking
  • Global warming talk cools down
  • Health care reform should not be brushed aside
  • It's time for the percolator
  • Leutner focus groups represented student opinion
  • State your case: What are you going to be for Halloween?


  • Eight student dance groups prep for Case's Best Dance CWRU competition
  • Footlighters bring West Side to south side with challenging production
  • Frankenstein is let loose in Cleveland's Playhouse Square, but the only thing to fear is mediocrity
  • Hitting the Spot: Hot Cha Cha
  • Making the most of your weekends
  • Scientist provides insight for those entering fields of research
  • The Buzz
  • The ultimate accessible luxury: handbags

Cross Country

  • 2009 UAA championship preview capsules

Sex and Dating

  • The morning after


  • Spartans one win away from winning season

Worst Case Scenario

  • Trick or treat
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