A goal and a desire to change the world: this is what all social entrepreneurs have in common. A drive to make ideas a reality and a hunger for social change.
According to the Oxford Dictionary, the definition of a social entrepreneur is
“a person who establishes an enterprise with the aim of solving social problems or effecting social change”.
The concept however is not just solely focused on mission, but also on making a sustainable business out of social benefitting organisations. The rise of social entrepreneurship is the result of more and more people coming up with intuitive ideas that support a passion to change the world.
Social entrepreneurs are showing the way forward by using profit to support purpose whilst also allowing us access to new products. Here are a few companies that perfectly combine innovative ideas and classic social entrepreneurship.
2008, a time where over 900 million people did not have access to safe drinking water on a daily basis, even though the bottled water industry is worth approximately $600 million dollars per year.
It was under these circumstances that the idea for Thankyou, a bottled water company that funds water projects abroad, was born.
Co-founder Daniel Flynn gathered a few friends in Melbourne and decided to turn the idea into a reality. The brand has two other ranges: food and body care, with 40 products available in 5000 outlets within Australia. The recently launched new baby care range funds child and maternal health programs around the globe which will empower families in need.
Thankyou is owned by the Thankyou Charitable Trust, a certified charitable program. Because Thankyou’s costs are taken care of, the business can afford to give 100% of their profits to fund hygiene and sanitation, safe water and food services throughout the world.
A business with a simple mission to aid small-scale farmers from poverty. MyAgro allows farmers to take something that is commonly a large one time cost – for example, fertiliser or seed – and make it possible for them to pay for it upfront, in small and flexible layaway payments. Anyone in any position can participate in the company’s services. When a farmer invests in quality, harvests can be doubled and they can dependably produce enough food for their families every year.
The company helps farmers to contribute their own money in their fields and increase their harvest to take large steps from poverty to move past subsistence farming and on to growing for larger regional markets.
MyAgro aspires to have moved one million small-scale farmers from poverty by 2022.
Words With Heart
“Words are powerful, and they can have a pretty big impact if you read them enough”.
These are words from social entrepreneur and founder of Words With Heart, Lauren Shuttleworth. Combining environmentally responsible production with words that empower, the business funds women’s education projects. While most of us are given the opportunity to freely access education - particularly in the West - there are still 60 million girls around the world who aren't in school due to cultural and financial reasons. Two thirds of the world’s illiterate adults are women as well.
The brand partners with some of the world’s most eminent charities, advocating primary and high school education, financial literacy and small business training.
Words With Heart is a brand for those who want to create a better world with sustainable production, an opportunity for education and empowering words. In regards to production, no trees or forests are damaged when making the paper stationary as 100% recycled paper, vegetable based inks and solar power are used instead of harsh chemicals.
The carbon cost of transport is also reduced as the products are also made in Australia. Words with Heart is stationary with a positive impact and an empowering, motivating and uplifting message.
The Blue Ventures story begins over 10 years ago. The organisation searches for new ways to manifest that marine conservation can be in everyone’s best interests as well as the notion that “taking less from the ocean can give us much more”.
Working in places where the ocean is a crucial part of local cultures and economics, Blue Ventures is dedicated to conserving marine biodiversity in ways that benefit the coastal people. With all programmes such as fishery stock assessments, socio-economic surveys and much more, all of its conservation programmes are monitored and assessed to ensure maximum impact.
The program is aiming to reach at least three million people across the world’s tropical coastal regions by 2020.
Jaipur Rugs, a business built on the values of founder Nand Kishore Chaudhary which incorporates kindness, humility and compassion. Jaipur gives people who have creative capabilities but are unfortunately disadvantaged a chance to work with and explore their talent.
The business benefits the consumers and their families, the employees, the artisans and their families, the suppliers, the buyers and the channels they work with. Each rug captures the creativity, devotion and passion of the artisan. The rugs give each maker the ability to grow pride and a sense of self worth.
A combination of family values, high quality products and the amazing creative capabilities of the artisans really do make this business something special.
Jaipur Rugs Foundation (JFR) is also an essential part of the Jaipur Rugs group, known for its individual socioeconomic business model. JFR’s purpose is to create relationships with village communities, helping them to start creating rugs, benefitting their lives.
The world today still struggles with problems such as poverty, education inequality, negative environmental impact and violence. This is why social entrepreneurship is important. Because it turns capitalism on its head, instead using the market economy as a force for good.
Do you support any social enterprises or social entrepreneurs? We'd love to know so please leave a comment below. We think they deserve to be celebrated and their businesses promoted!