November 20th, 2017

Business Beat: Social entrepreneurship a dream startup model for do-gooders


By Medicine Hat News on March 8, 2017.

Solving the world’s biggest social problems is what motivates social entrepreneurs to build a business. This practice has become an interesting new trend among startups and established companies, alike.

Social entrepreneurs use business to generate financial profits, while building solutions to puzzling societal social problems. In taking a triple bottom line (social, environmental and financial) approach, social entrepreneurs know what they want to do and why. Literally, the social mission they hope to address drives the company’s business activities.

It can be a tricky undertaking, to generate positive impacts in society through business, and it really does require a passion for the mission, to make it work. Typically, profits are smaller and large-scale competition can make market access difficult.

Yet, the payoff of creating social change is extremely rewarding and can be seen by customers as a competitive advantage, over traditional corporate offerings.

Social enterprises can be large or small, and economies of scale seem to matter less, with customers lining up to support companies that do-good.

There are some really great models of successful social entrepreneurs to be found online. Here’s a few examples I found, to get you inspired and informed.

Kickstarter, is a well-known global funding platform whose mission is to bring creative projects to life for artists, musicians, filmmakers, designers and creators by connecting them with the funding and resources they need.

Road 22, is a niche American luxury T-shirt brand that hires women who have served time in prison to box, trim and package its products, assisting them to get back on their feet and build new lives.

Good Eggs, is an online grocer that brings the farmers market to your home, supports local food production and global health by connecting local people and food producers.

Locally, we too, have some visionary companies working on a triple bottom line model.

Stella Sehn, of Pure Sweet Honey provides fair trade products at affordable prices, connecting more people with access to sustainable agriculture food and products.

Chris Humphries, of Red Rock Union creates physical activity events in Southern Alberta designed to get people more active and healthy while engaging the business community.

Many entrepreneurs dream about combining their passion with business and it seems that the prospect to create a business that helps people live better lives is a very real opportunity for startups of today.

At Medicine Hat College’s EDC, you’ll find a slate of programs and services to support social entrepreneurship. With a new Social Entrepreneurship Fund for student led projects and the Social Enterprise Lunch & Learn sessions planned for March, we’re poised to help even more entrepreneurs Start Up.

Questions? Call me at 403-502-8433 or email edc@mhc.ab.ca.

Christie Dick is EDC project officer at Medicine Hat College.


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