There’s no denying that we’re living in a completely different world than we were nearly two years ago when the COVID-19 pandemic first struck. I remember sitting on a Zoom call in May of 2020 with a group of friends, incredulous when someone mentioned that they had canceled an upcoming fall trip. I turned to my boyfriend and whispered, “This surely won’t still be an issue come the holidays, right?” Obviously, I hadn’t quite yet grasped the severity of the situation; but as infection rates and death tolls rose, it became clear that this wasn’t simply “an issue” that we’d “just get over.” 

In fact, we never will. Yes, we can recover. Yes, we can emerge from this stronger than before. But even if we manage to completely eradicate the virus worldwide, our society has already been reshaped at a fundamental level. The repercussions and revelations that were brought to light by COVID will be with us forever—and they should be. Out of the darkness and pain, we’ve seen a wave of light emerge. And while it would be impossible to recount all the kindness and humanity that has transpired since 2020, we must point out the radical progress we’ve seen from much of the business world, especially in the startup space. 


The truth of the matter is that conscious capitalism, i.e., stakeholder capitalism, is not a new philosophy, but it did seemingly take a global pandemic to make the world realize what truly matters most: people and purpose. Unlike traditional capitalism which solely focuses on creating profit for shareholders, people and purpose are at the heart of conscious capitalism, meaning that businesses take all stakeholders—from employees and clients to the environment and community—into account. And it pays off. According to Deloitte Insights, “purpose-driven companies witness higher market share gains and grow on average three times faster than their competitors, all the while achieving higher employee and customer satisfaction.”  

It’s honestly tragic and shameful that corporate America needed a worldwide public health crisis—on top of an alarming and dire UN climate change report and a long overdue reckoning around systemic racial injustice—to wake up. And while many major brands have overhauled their workplace cultures and/or pivoted to a more purposeful mission, it’s the startup sphere where we’re seeing some of the most significant impact. 

From 2010 to 2019, Worth was known for its annual Power 100 list, which tracked and ranked the most dominant and influential men and women in global finance. These leaders we honored were not necessarily good people—just extremely powerful in the financial world. Last year, we took a break to reevaluate what power means in a post-pandemic world and came to the conclusion that moving financial markets is not enough. We wanted to celebrate the entrepreneurs and companies actively working to make the world a better place; we couldn’t produce another list that featured moguls and politicians who often stood for values that went against Worth’s mission. 


Instead, this year, we’re bringing you the inaugural Worthy 100 Entrepreneurs list, featuring 100 incredible founders who are driving societal change with wide-scale impact, proving that purpose and profit are not in conflict but go hand-in-hand. Now, more than ever, we’re seeing companies take action—and it’s equally important that we keep this momentum going. At Worth, we’ll continue to keep track of and recognize the companies and leaders who are stepping up, taking a stand and leading us into a better and brighter future.