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Entrepreneur Puts Human Trafficking In His Sights

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Joe Schmidt has had a lot of success in his life as an entrepreneur. At this stage of his career, he could be doing just about anything he wants, including nothing. That’s what makes Schmidt’s new venture so interesting.

Schmidt has launched a nonprofit crowdfunding platform called ENDcrowd for the express purpose of ending human trafficking around the world. As the founder of the successful internet business Canvas on Demand, Schmidt may be just the guy to catalyze the world to end slavery.

Schmidt says, “The prominence and magnitude of the problem is astounding: An estimated 35.8 million people are the powerless victims of human trafficking,” citing the Global Slavery Index for 2014.

“Human trafficking is estimated to be a $150 billion a year industry and is the world’s second largest criminal enterprise,” he adds, citing the International Labor Organization.

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Within the nonprofit community fighting trafficking a scary statistic is often cited, he says, “Nonprofits battling the issue operate on a comparatively minute budget of an estimated $100 million, combined – that’s a staggering 1 percent of the money generated yearly by the very industry they are fighting.”

On Tuesday, December 30, 2014 at 4:00 Eastern, Schmidt will join me for a live discussion of ENDcrowd’s efforts to fund an end to human trafficking. Tune in here then to watch the interview live.

More about ENDcrowd:

Endeavoring to put an end to human trafficking, both nationally and internationally, ENDcrowd.com is a nonprofit crowdfunding platform aiming to raise money and awareness for this hugely underserved cause. It partners with established charities around the world to host their specific targeted giving campaigns that will truly make a tangible and immediate impact in the fight against modern-day slavery. ENDcrowd’s parent organization, Audacity Factory, is a think-tank incubator based in Raleigh, North Carolina, that develops and drives initiatives to bring attention to underpublicized, underfunded – yet critical – domestic and global matters. Its mission is to positively impact the lives of 10 million people over the next 10 years. For more information, please visit www.ENDcrowd.com and www.audacityfactory.com.

Schmidt’s bio:

Joe received his undergraduate degree from Ball State University and his MBA from Boston College. He co-founded Canvas on Demand (a company that takes your personal photos and puts them on canvas) in 2003. Joe drove his company to become the leader in the marketplace, taking it from a startup company to the INC 500 list of fastest growing companies in America and earning him a spot as a finalist in the Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Awards.

Joe has appeared regularly on national television shopping channels such as HSN and QVC and is often invited to present to groups in the business and educational communities on topics of email marketing and PR. He has been quoted in Forbes and Inc. Magazines talking about entrepreneurship in the online marketing space.

Prior to Canvas on Demand, Joe was director of sales for Art.com and has been involved in numerous successful technology startups. In September of 2010, Joe sold his company to online custom products leader Cafepress.com and went on to continue his role on the executive leadership team as chief marketing officer until 2013. Joe decided to leave his role as chief marketing officer to chase the dream of Audacity Factory and changing the world.

Audacity Factory, is a think-tank incubator based in Raleigh, North Carolina, that develops and drives initiatives to bring attention to underpublicized, underfunded – yet critical – domestic and global matters. Its mission is to positively impact the lives of 10 million people over the next 10 years.

Joe now helps for-profit and nonprofit entrepreneurs achieve crazy and wild dreams. Twitter: @Joe_Schmidt

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