High-growth innovation companies are great because they promise to become major exporters and employers. That economic potential is wonderful. What’s even better is that so many of these company have a great social and/or environmental impact.

Last month, the editors at the Chronicle-Herald asked me for a look at a few Nova Scotian companies that are doing well and doing good. I came up with a list of eight social ventures, and it's worth noting five were founded by women. Here are a few of just a few of the social ventures worth our attention in Nova Scotia:

Health Outcomes Worldwide — Corrine McIsaac, New Waterford

HOW has developed desktop and mobile e-health platforms that help health-care providers improve the treatment of chronic wounds. The system, called how2trak, uses data to provide real-time, point-of-care tools to clinicians for treatment in institutions and after they’re released.

Why It Matters

The company is a pioneer in applying data analytics to health care, ensuring faster recovery and fewer relapses for patients, and saving money for health-care systems.

SeeMePly — Shawn Simamba and Stephanie Winter, St. Mary’s University

SeeMePly is developing an application system for private schools in Africa. A huge proportion of secondary school students in Africa are educated privately, but finding, applying to and paying schools are huge pains for families. The SeeMePly platform promises to simplify the process and improve education.

Why It Matters

A strong education system is essential to developing the middle class in Africa, and SeeMePly has the potential to improve the efficiency of private education.

Dadavan — Jennifer Hill, Waverley

Since 1998, Dadavan has been developing educational databases that track the progress of First Nations students. The company works with First Nations communities by providing databases that track students’ attendance and marks, as well as curriculum requirements and lesson plans.

Why It Matters

The graduation rate of First Nations youth living on-reserve was 35.5 per cent in 2011, according to one study. The Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey community of Nova Scotia has been using Dadavan for the past 10 years and now has an 87.7 per cent graduation rate, says the company.

Squiggle Park — Leah Skerry and Julia Rivard, Halifax

The educational technology company, formerly known as EyeRead, has developed online reading games for pre-kindergarten to Grade 1 teachers to use in the classroom. Some 580 teachers have enlisted to pilot the technology with strong take-up in such American states as New York, Texas and California. The company’s long-term goal is to bring out an eye-tracking system that can monitor how children perform in their reading.

Why It Matters

Once a range of students uses the product, Squiggle Park hopes to build up a library of data on how children learn to read and use it to help educators. The goal is to help more children read better.

LifeRaft — John Gallinaugh, Halifax

LifeRaft uses a digital platform to identify potential threats through social media posts. Launched in 2014, LifeRaft identifies threatening keywords, such as “kill” or “gun,” on social media sources like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. It filters the findings so only the most important information is communicated to the client, whether it’s a police department or educational institution.

Why It Matters

By identifying online threats, authorities can reach out to disturbed people before they commit a violent act. They can also identify and prevent online bullying or harassment.

Woodscamp — Will Martin and Alastair Jarvis, Mahone Bay

WoodsCamp uses open data available from the provincial government to quickly tell woodlot owners what is growing on their property. The online system ascribes a score to each lot to assess the value of its contents. That means owners selling their timber have an idea of the value, even if they live thousands of miles from the woodlot.

Why It Matters

Too many remote woodlot owners don’t know how to manage their assets so they don’t bother managing them. Some end up selling their lots, which often results in clear cutting. Woodscamp’s goal is to encourage the responsible management of forests.

Green Power Labs — Alexandre Pavlovski, Dartmouth

Founded in 2003, Green Power Labs has developed products that reduce energy consumption. Its predictive analytics product, SolarSatData for Utilities, helps power suppliers determine future patterns of energy supply based on expected change of solar radiation. And it has been developing a product that can optimize energy consumption in commercial buildings by analyzing a range of data.

Why It Matters

Commercial buildings are huge consumers of electricity, and making them more efficient can reduce carbon emissions.

Midgard Insect Farm — Joy Hillier, Windsor

Midgard Insect Farm is producing a cricket protein powder that will go into pet foods made by its investor Dane Creek Capital Corp. of Ontario. The business makes economic sense because cricket protein can be produced more inexpensively than the traditional source, beef. Hillier plans to expand across North America.

Why It Matters

Beef farming is known to produce high levels of greenhouse gases, so drawing protein from crickets is good for the environment.