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America’s Most Promising Social Entrepreneurs: 2012 Winners

The Paradigm Project sells clean-burning stoves throughout Kenya and Guatemala.
The Paradigm Project sells clean-burning stoves throughout Kenya and Guatemala.Photograph by Austin Mann

For our fourth annual roundup of promising social entrepreneurs, we asked readers to submit suggestions, narrowed them to 25 for-profit social enterprises, then asked readers to vote for their favorite. Over the past month, more than 7,500 readers cast their votes. Their top five picks follow:

1. The Paradigm Project, which sells clean-burning wood or charcoal cookstoves in Kenya and Guatemala, received the most votes, 15.8 percent. Co-founder Gregory Spencer says the Colorado Springs company hopes to sell 5 million by 2020. U.N.-sanctioned auditors document how much emissions the stoves save; Paradigm sells the carbon offsets the auditors award it.