After working in South Africa in 2008 with the charitable footwear brand Toms, Sean Carasso travelled on to the Democratic Republic of Congo. There he encountered five child soldiers who had escaped from two rebel armies but were being held as war criminals. As he traded stories with them, they told him that boys too small to carry a gun were being sent to the front line armed only with a whistle.
On his return to America, Carasso co-founded Falling Whistles, which sells 10 types of whistle (from $50), including a recently launched rose-gold-plated version (from $70). All profits go to support peace in the Congo, with almost $1m invested in Congolese entrepreneurs in the past three years. Activist Sekombi, for example, was given $18,000 to set up an independent radio station, while another project involves bringing the internet to a remote Congolese island.