Social Startup: Exploring the world. Investing in people.
OneSeed Expeditions operates on the idea that travel can accomplish real and meaningful good. Founded by a group of former teachers, researchers, and guides, OneSeed uses the power of exploration to fund creative solutions to poverty. Our model is pretty simple: you take an amazing trip and a local entrepreneur gets the capital needed to grow their business.
While studying at Yale University and SIT (The School of International Training), Chris Baker traveled to Nepal to conduct research in Kathmandu and the Khumbu region near Mt. Everest. He studied Nepali, lived with a local family, and spent time exploring the mountains. Chris returned to Nepal twice more with Kiva, a microcredit organization aimed at connecting lenders with borrowers around the globe. While working with Kiva, Chris partnered with microfinance institutions, visited borrowers in the field, and saw how effective microfinance can be to help people alleviate themselves from poverty.
OneSeed Expeditions was founded in 2010 when Chris met Bishnu Thapa and Tek Bahadur Dong. Bishnu’s passion stemmed from her background as trekking guide in Nepal, which led her to research the challenges and opportunities that women guides face. Tek also brought valuable knowledge about Nepali tourism and had been dedicated to the industry for over a decade. Conceived as a social enterprise with a sustainable revenue stream, OneSeed Expeditions grew directly out of the research and work experience of its founders. OneSeed’s founders bring a unique mix of mountain guiding, ethnographic fieldwork, and non-profit skills.
Currently, OneSeed operates in four countries: Nepal, Chile, Peru, and Argentina. They run expeditions to Everest Base Camp, Machu Picchu, and the Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia, among many other locations. OneSeed partners with local microfinance institutions and lends 10% of its revenue to local entrepreneurs. With a focus on sustainability and low-impact travel, the team chooses partner lodges carefully to try to reduce the impact of their travelers. The OneSeed team believes that the model is replicable and hopes to continue investing in people and exploring other parts of the world.