Scott James, 37
Bainbridge Island, Wash.
A Microsoft (MSFT) veteran, James calls his 10-person Fair Trade Sports "a blatant rip-off of Newman's Own," the successful food company that he modeled his company after, including its model to donate 100% of after-tax profits to charity. The $300,000 company started in the fall of 2006, as a maker of fair trade soccer balls for the North American market. The balls are made in Pakistan using the labor of several hundred people who are paid fair wages and belong to an adult union. The rubber used in the balls is sourced from manufacturers whose workers are also paid fair wages in India and Sri Lanka. James expects sales to hit at least $500,000 in 2009, and says so far his company has already helped hundreds of families earn a decent living. "If parents are paid a fair wage, they don't have to force their kids to go to work," he says. "Paying adults fair wages hits at the root of child poverty." Although fair trade sports is not yet profitable, to date the venture has donated $2,000 a year since its inception to two children's charities: the Boys & Girls Club of America and Room to Read, says James. He plans to donate all profits to those charities and other children's organizations.