We're helping to create thousands of new social businesses in communities around the world!
  Meet our Entrepreneurs! Join E4C as a Sponsor!

The E4C Blog - News & Updates from the E4C staff.
The Social Enterprise - What is a social profit company?

Main Menu


E4C Entrepreneurs


Developed by: Tina Hovsepian
Have a question? Want to see the full business plan? Request Info.



There are 51,000 homeless people in Los Angeles who have been stripped of their dignity; they are not being treated like human beings anymore because they live on the streets. Only 38% of these people have access to shelter. Do you want to contribute to the dehumanization of our neighbors or do you want to be a part of the solution? We provide designer compassion in the form of a temporary, portable and recyclable shelter for homeless and disaster victims while helping to get them placed into permanent housing.

The outreach program we are funding involves more than simply handing out the Cardborigami units to those in need. The plan is to partner up with other homeless aid organizations that have facilities where people could safely use our shelters overnight. Cardborigami staff and volunteers will be able to engage the homeless population by teaching participants how to build and use their own Cardborigami unit. We will work to establish better trust between our clients and the aid organizations that they need. In addition, a recycling program will be integrated into the Cardborigami distribution system that will encourage the homeless to collect cardboard and turn it in for recycling at the same centers where they can construct and pick up their own portable unit.

In its secondary role as an alternative to current disaster relief solutions such as the tent structures that are being distributed by FEMA, the Cardborigami shelter can provide inexpensive, sturdy protection with superior insulation against the elements which can easily be folded and shipped en masse to stricken areas.

There will be two main sources of funding for the Cardborigami project besides sales to disaster relief organizations. The first would be through donations, corporate sponsorships, and grants. This obviously involves fund raising which is represented through a permanent staff member (Grant Writer) in the business plan to follow. Due to the design aesthetic, disaster relief use, and innovation of the product, there are many relative grants that can be obtained.

The second source of income and growth would be a for-profit application of the product. When Cardborigami is constructed at different scales and with different materials, there are many commercial applications such as a camping tent with no assembly required, a children’s toy, a shelter for a car, a portable airplane hanger for the military. The possibilities are endless with enough seed funding. These commercial units would be marketed and sold for a profit while raising awareness of the homeless situation in the USA. A large percentage of the proceeds will go towards the Cardborigami non-profit project.

The end vision is for Cardborigami to collaborate with other organizations, foundations and trusts with similar missions in order to end homelessness in America. All users of the shelter will be placed into more permanent housing after receiving medical attention, psychotherapy, and all other necessary aid.

In its role as a transitional shelter, it will fulfill our mission of sheltering the marginalized members of our Society.  In its role as a symbol of the countless individuals who still lack a permanent place to dwell; it will fulfill our vision of raising people’s awareness of how vast the current homeless situation is.  On a practical and symbolic level, we envision that Cardborigami will eventually help to end the problem of homelessness, first locally and then internationally.

During the summer of 2007 I studied abroad in Southeast Asia and witnessed extreme poverty in third world countries such as Vietnam and Cambodia. All I could think was how is it possible that these people survive and are happy with so little while in America we have exponentially more and the majority of people are depressed or struggling to survive. It was clear to me that, on a global scale, there are too many financial and social imbalances. With that in mind, I came back to LA with an appreciation for my circumstances and a new goal to focus my career. The following semester, I decided to direct my talents and skills as a designer toward my true passion, to reveal social injustice. My main goal became helping the homeless by providing a solution that included design intelligence for a population that was generally ignored.

As a young professional architect, I am expected to go out and find the ideal job at a large design firm and make a decent living for myself in order to be considered successful in society. This sounds like a satisfying task, however I do not see the rewarding aspect of a career path where my work would produce minimal social change. I find much more satisfaction and happiness comes from the time I spend using my skills and talents to help others while making a clear public statement that social injustices can no longer be ignored. I see myself as an example of a successful female, Armenian, Architect and social entrepreneur who has been able to apply my Bachelors of Architecture degree in a different way in order to help individuals who need the most care and attention while giving back to society and being environmentally conscious.

The success of Cardborigami would result in many adjacent opportunities both for myself but more importantly for society as a whole. A major adjacent opportunity would be to partner with other organizations to raise awareness of how vast the current homeless situation is and what other social injustices are contributing to our economic disparity. Eventually I would like to be involved in designing and building social housing in LA. A personal adjacent opportunity would be to repay my student loans and repay my debt of gratitude to my parents and family who have supported me throughout my life. I believe that design fundamentally impacts the daily life of our society. Architects are armed with aggressively creative ideas and new approaches to old problems. With more designers focusing their talent on socially responsible design, the world would be a better place.



E4C focuses on three primary populations of entrepreneurs: Veterans, Green and Social Businesses, and those who find themselves operating within marginalized communities.

If you are interested and can find a way to contribute to their success, we would love for you to contact us directly and we will connect you to them.

These are an amazing group of dedicated and hardworking entrepreneurs, and we think each and every one of them is certain to succeed, especially with your help.

Tina Hovsepian


Home | Programs | Help | Entrepreneurs | Sponsor | Partners | Testimonials | Blog | Contact E4C