Documentary makers Erik Loots and Linda Vermaat follow each ‘Fix the World’ entrepreneur for 24 hours, offering a frank and intimate portrait of both their work and home lives. What they have in common is a belief that they can do business to change the world for the better. Rather than portraying capitalism as the root of evil, the series tells the stories of people coming up with solutions and making money at the same time – even if it’s sometimes a struggle. The makers spent two-and-a-half years crossing continents to produce the five 20-minute episodes.
House of Eléonore: guilt-free diamonds
Episode one, Bling without the sin, follows Amsterdam diamond company House of Eléonore. Instead of depending on diamonds with dubious origins produced by labourers in atrocious working conditions, the company set out to work with lab-created diamonds, which are indistinguishable from natural ones. Interviews with founder Bernd Damme reveal that making a success of an idealistic, maverick startup is a struggle. “Don’t think entrepreneurship is something you do two days a week, which is shiny and leads to perfect Instagram pictures,” he said. “That’s a fairy tale.”
Changing the world
An Indian entrepreneur concerned about disposable cutlery ending up as plastic soup has come up with a novel solution: spoons you can munch along with your meal when you’ve finished using them. Meanwhile, in Peru, a company is teaching women high-grade computer programming skills so they can escape life in the slums.
Feminist filmmaker Erika Lust says that although one in four internet searches are looking for porn, few people think about the exploitative and negative attitude to women associated with mainstream pornography. Her solution is to produce her own ethically made, women-friendly version of adult films. And, lastly, a pair of US soap entrepreneurs have built up a $100-million business by putting the welfare of their workers first. “This is not about selling soap, this is about changing the world,” they explained.
The series launches online on 25 September with the House of Eléonore episode and offline with an opening party including screenings of the highlights at the The National Maritime Museum in Amsterdam from 14:30 to 16:00. You can check out the episodes when they’re published every Tuesday on the website or YouTube channel.