Our #OliveSavvy series on our blog focuses on entrepreneurship, innovation, and startups. This week, we wanted to look at one major, inspirational trend in the startup world.
Everyone wants to change the world, right? In some way, big or small, we all want to leave a mark on this planet. All of us here at the #OliveFamily do, which is part of the reason we’re at this company.
There are typically two ways an entrepreneur usually feeds their passion. One, they start their own company. These entrepreneurs usually come up with innovative ideas that solve a problem with a current solution, satisfy customer demand, or create something in a new way, with different features. Two, entrepreneurs focus their passion on charitable causes. These are what we call “Social Entrepreneurs”.
According to the Social Enterprise Alliance “A social enterprise is an organization or initiative that marries the social mission of a non-profit or government program with the market-driven approach of a business.” This means an organization can cause the same positive social impacts as a nonprofit, but without the need to rely on outside funding.
A great example of a successful social enterprise is Sanergy. The founders David Auerbach, Lindsay Stradley, and Ani Vallabhaneni started the company to solve a major problem in the world: basic sanitation. Which according to Sanergy is the number two cause of sickness in the world. This is especially an issue in lower-income developing areas. Sanergy tackled this by designing prefabricated, low-cost toilet facilities. They provide these toilets to locals who maintain and market the facilities as a franchise operator. The waste is then collected each day and converted into fertilizer, renewable energy, and other products. The beauty of the Sanergy model is that they tackle many social issues while still being financially sustainable.
Probably the best part of this trend is just how widespread it’s becoming. We’ve already featured several companies that could be considered social enterprises on our blog, such as ROAR for Good and Solar Ear. The Social Enterprise Alliance has 924 members across 41 states. Just imagine all the other social enterprises that exist both here in the U.S., as well as across the world!
It’s clear that for entrepreneurs today it’s not business as usual anymore. People don’t want to start companies just to make money anymore, people want to make a difference, and that’s really empowering.
Want to learn more about companies creating Social Impact or Impact investing? Try listening to some podcasts like Social Entrepreneur by Tony Loyd, or take a look at the company that created Social Impact Design - IDEO.