Apolis is a socially motivated lifestyle brand that empowers communities worldwide. It’s based on the idea that people can live better when they have equal access to the global marketplace. Like fair trade only better.
I found an article from 2013 buried in Evernote about two brothers using co-design principles to help communities that help themselves. Shea and Raan Parton travel across borders, documenting how various products are collaboratively made. They invite people to get involved by telling their stories, and they help local tourism and learn new cultures and customs in the process. Their Middle East project is the result of befriending people like Shlomy Azolay, an Israeli leather craftsman they found online. (Btw, Apolis means “global citizen” in Greek.)
Here’s what gets me: they worked together online for five years before meeting in person. That’s the power of social; sometimes a signal is all you need. If these guys can use social tech to create a global marketplace from scratch, imagine what it can do for the mom and pop next door.