I was recently invited to participate in the inaugural Intersection Event: Where Innovation Meets Social Change this coming January at Pixar’s headquarters where a cast of leading business innovators and social change agents will discuss ways in which they can work together to positively affect their businesses and the world around them. The invitation got me thinking about some of my favorite social enterprises, particularly at this time of year when our attention turns to giving back and the products that encourage us to do so. I have compiled a collection of some of my favorite social enterprises for you here and look forward to hearing about a few of your favorites below:
• Global Cycle Solutions: Leveraging a worldwide market of over 1 billion bicycles as a driver of innovation and affordable energy, Global Cycle Solutions hopes to enable micro-entrepreneurs to bring the service of pedal-powered devices to their communities to meet an extensive range of needs from agricultural food processing, to home appliances, to battery charging.
• FEED Projects: FEED Projects employs the sale of reusable bags to fight hunger and eliminate malnutrition throughout the world. To date, FEED has been able to raise enough money through the sale of products to provide over 60 million school meals to children around the world through the United Nations World Food Program.
• The Paradigm Project: The Paradigm Project is a social enterprise working to create sustainable social, economic, and environmental value within developing world communities. Their current project is a clean-fuel cookstove project in Kenya, and they are currently in the process of expanding into South America and East Africa.
• Made for Good: Made for Good is a consortium of like-minded brands assembled into one global community, sharing common goals, purpose, and passion. Each Made for Good brand aligns with a non-profit partner and uses embedded generosity to raise money through the sale of its products.
• Mission Measurement: Mission Measurement is a social impact consulting firm that works with leading corporations, non-profits, and government agencies to measure and improve the results of their social initiatives.
• The Glue Network: The Glue Network connects people and their favorite brands together to fund life-changing non-profit projects around the world.
• AlterNetRides: AlterNetRides is a website that encourages all forms of alternative transportation: carpooling, vanpooling, biking, walking, public transportation, and more.
• Treasure & Bond: The New York City-based concept store from Nordstrom has developed a retail model where 100% of all their after-cost profits go directly to programs that benefit people in need.
• Source 44: Source 44 discovers the origins of their clients’ products—their Sustainability DNA (sDNA™)—and transforms the findings into innovative supply chain savings. They also partner with their clients to help prioritize their energy, water, carbon, and waste reduction initiatives, helping to ensure they meet sustainability targets while eliminating unnecessary costs and identifying new revenue-generating opportunities.
• Plant With Purpose: By reversing deforestation, Plant With Purpose helps the poor restore productivity to their land to create economic opportunity through environmental restoration efforts.
• PatientSafe Solutions: PatientSafe Solutions is a healthcare information technology company delivering real-time mobile clinical solutions to hospitals to improve patient safety, quality, and satisfaction while decreasing costs at the point of care.
• The Honest Kitchen: The Honest Kitchen makes dehydrated, human-grade, all natural whole foods for dogs and cats. Their recipes are made in a human food facility (not in a pet food plant) for the highest possible quality standards. They adamantly protest puppy mills and give back to a range of animal-focused charities through their pawlanthropy program.
What are some other social enterprises you would add to this list?