Social Media

A year ago, Sophie Gray was a very successful fitness influencer – her Instagram account @wayofgray was a plethora of selfies, abs and workouts which inspired many in the pursuit of the perfect body. Yet, in spite of all the praise and hundreds of thousands of followers, she felt she was not being honest with herself in promoting the unreachable idea of perfection. After a nervous breakdown, she decided to explore a new path – one that leads to self-acceptance. Today, Sophie advocates self-acceptance and aims to foster women empowerment on social media. In this interview, she talks about her inspirations, plans for the future and the responsibility of being a role model for the next generations.

Sophie Gray

Why did you decide to advocate self-love and acceptance?

We live in a world where we are at war internally. We have become so disconnected from ourselves and I experienced this personally. For me, I decided to advocate self-love and acceptance because I didn’t have any other choice. I needed it in my own world, and through my inner work, it flowed over to my professional work through my channels.

Was there a moment when you felt you could do something different from other health and fitness influencers?

I had a panic attack on an airplane that had me step back and evaluate my personal life. From there, I connected with how I truly felt and realized I didn’t want to show up through my accounts in the ways that I had been. From there I decided to completely step away from fitness and have refocused on inspiring others to connect with themselves through introspection.

How important is it for you to empower girls and women?

I struggled with self-harm in my youth, and this was before social media really took off. I couldn’t imagine going through what I went through with the added pressures brought on by social media. I actually am establishing a nonprofit that works with youth in school creating space for them to show up and dive into their relationship with themselves.

I believe women have such an important role in our society. Often, we are the ones who raise the next generations and when we have a mother who is strong, confident and feels at home within herself, we are able to teach the younger generations to feel the same.

This isn’t to say all women are going to have children. And regardless of whether they are or not, they are, in some way, a role model to those growing up. I know for myself personally, I want my self-acceptance to inspire others that they’re deserving of their own acceptance.

Sophie now advocates for self-acceptance

Tell us about the self-love challenge – when and why did you come up with the idea and what does it consist of?

I hosted a challenge from Jan 1st to 5th 2018. It was about having my followers commit to coming home to themselves. There is a stillness that exists within all of us – this stillness, rooted in love, also exists within everyone. I want those who follow me to make 2018 the year they come home to themselves by diving through what they go through. This involves sitting with themselves, working through their experiences and feeling at peace with themselves. This challenge was a fun way to start the new year committing to coming home to yourself.

What are your goals for 2018?

In 2018, I am launching an app that will help men and women start conversations with themselves that will lead to greater self-awareness, emotional resilience and help develop a better love and appreciation for yourself and others. This will be launching in April.

I also plan to have my new name changed account, @sophiegray (formly @wayofgray), focus more on my passion for writing – while focusing on encouraging others to take time to turn within.

Changemakers is an Horyou initiative which aims to highlight remarkable people & projects related to the Sustainable Development Goals. In this article, we shed a light over #SDG5 / Gender Equality.

The Light Challenge


Support the SDGs!
Take the #HoryouLightChallenge

This world is the one thing we all have in common! By working together, we can achieve great good things for the future of humanity. Change for social good, however, is an everyday endeavor and it starts with you and us to inspire others around us.

To put this idea into practice, Horyou has decided to set up the #HoryouLightChallenge for all changemakers, in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals!

As a proponent of the SDGs, our Horyou community believes in the power of positivity and is constantly spreading positive actions and ideas worldwide; and by ensuring international cooperation and inclu- sion, it directly promotes SDG#17.

Be a part of this global partnership and take our #HoryouLightChallenge. All you have to do is choose one SDG, support it with a positive action (see examples below), and share it on Horyou.

Together, we can show the world that every expression of positivity, no matter how big or small, has a great positive impact. Each one of us, in our own way, can be a light within our own community and be- yond. Share your light with the ones around you and the SDGs will be met.

To take the challenge and have a chance to win an all inclusive trip to Singapore and participate in SIGEF18 (or one of our many other prizes*), we invite you to use your creativity and share your social good actions with Horyou.

#HoryouLightChallenge Instructions

  • Create an account on
  • Create your Horyou Light Challenge post (photo, video or text) on the platform with the one SDG that you have selected among the 17 SDG examples. You can also create your own positive challenge and post it!
  • Share your Horyou post via Twitter, Facebook or any other Social Media with the #HoryouLightChallenge hashtag, along with the hashtag of the SDG that you have supported (ex: #SDG7)
  • Invite your friends to light (watch how lights work here) your post on Horyou
  • Try to get the largest number of lights and win a trip to SIGEF18 Singapore!

17 SDGs challenge examples

Make a contribution to a charity of your choice or directly to a person in need
Prepare your favorite dish for someone who can’t afford to have it
Share a healthy food recipe
Educate / share your educational sources on a topic you’re passionate about
Share an inspiring speech from someone defending gender equality
Share the ways in which you can reduce water waste in your community
Tell us about your favorite source of renewable energy and how it supports sustainable development
Share with us how your job or dream job contributes to sustainable economic growth
Tell us which innovative idea you would invest in
Tell us about the most inspiring action you’ve done to help others
Use your bike or public transport to go to work
Share tips on package free/ second hand/ fair trade and ethic shopping
Sort out your waste for recycling
Pick up the trash on your favorite beach/ lake/ river
Plant a tree
Tell us about your favorite figure promoting peace and justice and post one of his/her inspiring quotes
Share your challenge on the Horyou platform and light your favorite posts

Are you up to the challenge? Go ahead, pick your SDG, engage your friends and be a special guest on the Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum in Singapore.

Take the challenge!
Be the change, be Horyou


All Inclusive (flight + hotel) 3 days Trip to Singapore and a free ticket to participate in the Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum (SIGEF 2018) + T-shirt and Bag
A free ticket to participate in the SIGEF 2018 +100 Spotlights + Ambassador opportunity + T-shirt and Bag
…30 Horyou Bags and T-shirts for the 30 remaining most lighted posts
The challenge will be running until June 18th 2018


Horyou community is pleased to share an account of its major actions and events in 2017 while it is bracing for more in 2018!

Opening ceremony SIGEF 2017

The clock is ticking and it’s only a few hours before New Year’s Eve and our community is full of joy and excitement, both for the things it has fulfilled during the year that has just elapsed than for the ones it has got in store for 2018. We’ve lived so many things together, we’ve grown and learned from each other, we’ve made new friends and became stronger while welcoming new members and organizations! So, now is the time to remember and the time to look ahead!

Our ever-growing community is our first reason to rejoice! We have now broken the glass ceiling of 250,000 users and 1,500 organizations and attained a full global presence. Horyou is growing stronger in Asia, with a more effective presence in Japan, Philippines, Singapore and India. Yonathan Parienti, Horyou founder and CEO, has spent several months travelling through the region to share our community’s message of social good and to officially launch Spotlight, our global digital social currency for economic inclusion. This was achieved during the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, in India to highlight the fact that «Horyou values were more than welcome and that Spotlight can make a difference for many projects, organizations and change makers, in Asia and all over the world», as he put it.

Horyou at the GES!

It is in that context of expanding our community and extending our activities in Asia that SIGEF, the Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum, was organized by Horyou in Astana, Kazakhstan, during the EXPO 2017. A landmark really! Through its several panels, SIGEF fostered the debate on some of the most crucial subjects of interest of our time, including smart cities, future energy and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Horyou also led an international and diverse delegation through EXPO 2017, focusing on the importance of clean and efficient energy globally.

And on the 18th of December, Horyou has launched the #HoryouLightChallenge, which aims to call everyone to join efforts in view of a swift and effective implementation of the SDGs. The concept of the challenge is to use social media to spread positivity, as well as social good actions and projects, and create a buzz around the many ways we can act to help the SDGs come true. The challenge is still on; click here to know more about it and have a chance to win an all-inclusive trip to SIGEF 2018 in Singapore next September.

Join the #HoryouLightChallenge!


Looking ahead, there is a lot more to come, all of which will be shared with you in the next few weeks. But one thing that you should be already saving the date is SIGEF 2018 will be held in Singapore, one of the most innovative and fast-growing cities in the world. Stay tuned.

Happy New Year!

As a network organization, the Social Entrepreneurship Akademie aims to educate and support social entrepreneurs and innovators. Established in 2010, the institution is a joint initiative of four universities from Munich, Germany. By coaching startups and helping students and professionals to gain entrepreneurial skills to solve global challenges, the SE Akademie embeds the idea of social entrepreneurship in society. Horyou blog interviewed the team spokeswoman Kristina Notz about the network and the social innovation landscape.

SE Akademie is a result of the cooperation between  four German universities
SE Akademie is a result of the cooperation between four German universities

As a social entrepreneurship supporter and accelerator, what would you say are the biggest challenges for a social entrepreneur?

Every entrepreneur faces similar challenges and there are many. We observe that some social entrepreneurs have more difficulties to think and talk about profit, since they are impact-driven. At the same time they need more time to figure out their business model, to find funding, and to convince people and supporters. In the social sector, it is a challenge to find and retain talent, even though it seems to be an attractive working environment at first sight. The ability to stay motivated intrinsically is key.

Are you committed to the Sustainable Development Goals ? Do you address some of the SDGs with your projects?

Yes, we’re using the SDGs in most of our workshops as a starting point to raise people’s awareness and give impulses towards the field they could become active in as a social entrepreneur. Many of the social enterprises we support tackle one of the challenges addressed by the SDGs.

How do you see the future of social entrepreneurship?  

My vision is that all entrepreneurship is social and we can leave out the word “social” and herewith differentiate. The future is that every entrepreneurial activity respects the triple bottom line and bears in mind people, planet, and profit. And I strongly believe this is possible but requires a certain change in mind-set.

Many social entrepreneurs supported by the institution develop SDG-related projects
Many social entrepreneurs supported by the institution develop SDG-related projects

Horyou connects on its social platform thousands of social entrepreneurs, philanthropists and organizations around the world. In your opinion, what’s the importance of social networks for social entrepreneurship and, particularly, for your work?

Social networks offer powerful tools to raise awareness about social entrepreneurship and bring its idea and examples to a broader audience. Platforms like yours are very valuable to the sector since you showcase best practices and role models and inspire others, and ideally turn information into action.

In our work, Social media are our main tool to reach out to and stay in touch with our participants and alumni. We focus as well on offline networks, make people meet and experience the network face to face. They can learn from each other, be inspired by others and exchange ideas and best practices. The flux of ideas, learnings, dreams, and failures contributes a lot to the venture development and success.

Horyou is the Social Network for Social Good, which connects, supports and promotes social initiatives, entrepreneurs, and citizens who help the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals to build a more harmonious and inclusive world. We invite you to Be the Change, Be Horyou!

Launched by the United Nations Development Program, Foundation Center, and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors in 2014, the SDG Philanthropy Platform aims to raise awareness and build connections within the philanthropy sector. Focused on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the “SDG Funders” have developed partnerships to increase funding and create programs in order to reach the Global Development Agenda. Our Horyou community shares the same values, therefore we are happy to feature their interview in our blog!

Promoting SDGs in Brazil
Promoting SDGs in Brazil

What is the scope of SDG Funders work?

The goals of the SDG Philanthropy Platform (“the Platform”) is twofold: 1) To provide a greater understanding by the philanthropy sector of the Sustainable Development Goals (“SDG”) agenda and the process and 2) To provide a greater understanding by the UN system, governments, private sector and civil society of the role and potential of the philanthropy sector to contribute to sustainable development. After launching the Platform in Kenya, Ghana, Zambia, Colombia, Indonesia, India, Brazil, and the United States, we have recognized our role in creating partnerships that result in effective programs that help countries achieve the SDGs. The Platform is working to improve the philanthropic sector by providing country-specific information more easily, mapping the ecosystem, and sharing data so that giving is more transparent and less fragmented.

Teamwork in Ghana
Teamwork in Ghana

As a social entrepreneurship supporter and accelerator, what would you say are the biggest challenges to be a social entrepreneur?

I believe the biggest challenges for a social entrepreneur is access – access to funding, networks, resources, mentorship, etc. The SDGs is a classification system that is understood globally and is increasingly being used by all stakeholders. When social entrepreneurs frame their work using this taxonomy, it is an opportunity to leverage more resources. Through the open-source information we provide on our website, social entrepreneurs are able to better understand the ecosystem in which they operate and learn who are the top funders and recipients related to a specific SDG and country.

How do you see the future of social entrepreneurship?

In order to achieve the SDGs and their respective targets by 2030, neither the government nor philanthropy can do it alone. We will need the support of innovative thinkers, social entrepreneurs, and corporations to all work together to achieve the SDGs. In this, social entrepreneurs will continue to be valuable in scaling solutions and deepening their impact.

Event in Indonesia
Event in Indonesia

Horyou connects on its social platform thousands of social entrepreneurs, philanthropists and organizations around the world. In your opinion, what’s the importance of social networks for social entrepreneurship and, particularly, for your work?

Collaboration. Around the world, social entrepreneurs, philanthropists and organizations are creating solutions to tackle issues. By participating in social networks, stakeholders can learn from each other, share their approaches, and discuss how to create meaningful impact. Collaborative networks reduce duplicative efforts and help better utilize resources, both monetary and non-monetary. The Platform is a vehicle for catalyzing multi-stakeholder partnerships and collaboration to advance SDGs through building awareness and connections between those working in the philanthropy sector and beyond. The Platform has adopted a systemic approach to funding and policy work, shifting from fragmented individual projects to long-term collaborative efforts in line with national development priorities and the SDGs.

Horyou is the Social Network for Social Good, which connects, supports and promotes social initiatives, entrepreneurs, and citizens who help the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals to build a more harmonious and inclusive world. We invite you to Be the Change, Be Horyou!

As the social entrepreneurship landscape gets more promising, it also becomes more challenging and complex – there are many different types of ventures and business models to develop, while many youngsters crave for help and guidance through this process. The Social Venturer Anika Horn has been working for years supporting young social entrepreneurs, through advisory, acceleration programs and community building. Anika gave this interview to our blog about the biggest challenges and trends for social entrepreneurship.

Anika Horn and a team of social entrepreneurs
Anika Horn and a team of social entrepreneurs

What is the scope of your work?

I work with purpose-driven entrepreneurs from inception to established businesses through one-on-one advisory, programming and community building. I spend a lot of time supporting mission-driven entrepreneurs in building up their companies, and curating the community around certified B Corps, social entrepreneurs and socially responsible companies.

What are the biggest challenges for social entrepreneurs?

At first sight, the challenges that social entrepreneurs face are not that different from the ones that “regular” entrepreneurs face: Defining your niche, validating the market, building a financially sustainable business model, pricing, finding investment, marketing on a startup budget, building the model to scale. It’s the commitment to a double or even triple-bottom line that adds nuance to each of these challenges. Pricing is not just a question of willingness but ability to pay, any cost structure is likely to reflect not only financial expenses but the social or environmental impacts.

A second challenge I foresee for social entrepreneurs is standing out from the noise. Unfortunately, I see a lot of self-declared social entrepreneurs who might have a good story but lack substance in terms of real business stamina, actual outputs and success metrics. These so called social entrepreneurs muddy the waters of what real social entrepreneurship can do and achieve, and make it harder for those who are serious about creating lasting change through business to be taken seriously.

Anika assesses and helps to build social enterprises and communities
Anika assesses and helps to build social enterprises and communities

Can you share some social enterprise success stories you have assessed?

One challenge in the world of social entrepreneurship is how success is defined. Is it creating market access for a marginalized community? Is it lifting three individuals out of poverty, or three thousand? In that sense, defining success becomes a challenge in and of itself. Two entrepreneurs I have been impressed with over the last year are Rupa Singh of Love this RVA, and Jeff Beck and Adam Dreyfus of Answers Now.

Love This RVA is a platform for socially responsible shopping and conscious consumerism. Rupa started out with a co-founder with whom she ended up parting ways, is now running the online and airstream shop by herself, has growing number of speaking engagements, and is figuring out her financial model. She might never scale nationally, but she is successful in making a deep impact in the mindsets of the community she lives and operates in.

Jeff and Adam are developing a mobile app to support parents of children with autism. As first-time founders, I met them when they had little more than the idea. It is unimaginable for an outsider how much time the backend tech development takes, how many sprints and delays and iterations they have gone through. Adam and Jeff are successful because they are designing their service through constant conversations with their target customers. I celebrate their learning process in the lean startup sense over any potential revenue they currently generate and I see great potential in their ability to scale and expand the application to other underserved communities.

Anika Horn
Anika Horn

How do you see the future of social entrepreneurship?

I personally hope that we come to understand that social entrepreneurship is just that: entrepreneurship that leverages hard-to-crack opportunities in the market. With all the Ubers, Instagrams and nutrition bars in the world, real opportunities for disruption lie in areas of social and environmental injustice: lack of equal access to education and healthcare, large-scale upcycling of ocean plastic waste, reintegration of ex-convicts – these are the kinds of untapped opportunities that will impact millions of lives and therefore have a promising future. But they are nuts to crack.

Horyou is the social network for social good. How important are social networks for social entrepreneurs?

Launching and running a social enterprise can be a very isolating, frustrating, lonesome experience. Not every social entrepreneur qualifies as a Schwab or Ashoka Fellow. Social networks can provide accountability, connectedness and as trivial as it may sound: inspiration. Sometimes knowing that others are just as crazy trying to change the world around them is what it takes to get back on the horse. Besides, entrepreneurs have so much to learn from each other; why not use social networks to steepen that learning curve by creating a space for meaningful conversations and knowledge exchange?

What is your main lesson from working with social entrepreneurs?

Don’t be a heropreneur. I have met too many self-acclaimed social entrepreneurs who want to save the world in some way and would figure out what issue they were passionate about along the way. I understand that we as Millennials look for purpose in our careers but the answer isn’t always to become a social entrepreneur. In fact, most social entrepreneurs who are doing great work don’t refer themselves as such, and certainly didn’t start out by wanting to become one. While I commend everyone who knows they don’t want to work for the man but go change the world, there are a million and one ways – or at least five – to make a meaningful contribution that do not involve “become a social entrepreneur”.

I believe that real social entrepreneurs are in a position to redefine the impact of entrepreneurship by creating meaningful systemic change. Let’s not call everyone with good intentions a social entrepreneur and focus our resources on the founders who have the right intentions, the potential, and the tenacity to change the world.

Horyou is a supporter of social entrepreneurship and social ventures around the world

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