Be Social About Your Social Enterprise

There is a growing trend in business; social entrepreneurship.  Most people are now familiar with the term but may be unsure exactly what it means or how to implement it within their own small business or start-up.  Simply stated, social entrepreneurship encompasses the divesting of profits towards charitable causes that do good in the community.  This could include charities or non-profits that feed the hungry, house the homeless, clothe children, restore victims of human trafficking or any other cause in which the owner is passionate or has seen a need in their community.  Central Ohio alone already has more than 100 social enterprises with more being established nearly every day.  The fact is, central Ohio, and the entire state is evolving into a culture of diversity, caring and community.   

It is crucial that businesses get involved in charitable giving since the government cannot and should not be expected to perpetually provide resources for those in need.  As federal, state and local government budgets become more lean, there is less money to put towards social welfare programs.  As a result, individuals and businesses are finding that they would like to have a say in the causes they support and this translates into where they divest their profits.

Social enterprises should not be afraid to promote their positive impacts on the community.  It is not selfish to do so, frankly it is good business.  There are so many start-ups and small businesses all competing for the same customers so why not promote your social entrepreneurship as a competitive advantage?  Large corporations are increasing their investments into local communities and other socially conscious efforts and you had better believe they are promoting and marketing their efforts to customers.  Of course, larger companies have more resources to invest that a small business, however, do not let that deter or intimidate you.  

As you grow, the amount you can allocate will continue to grow and so will your social impact, just start small.  Many larger corporations originally used social consciousness as a way in which to differentiate themselves from competitors but now has become essentially an industry standard and a best practice.  It is reasonable to assume that small businesses will eventually experience the same expectation and customers will demand products and services from those companies involved in social efforts within the community.

SBCO encourages you to begin considering which causes would be a good fit for your business to develop partnerships with.  We also suggest that you familiarize yourself with current law surrounding this area of business, so that you are aware of the risks and rewards involved.  This will help you become fully equipped to make the transition to a benefit corporation or social enterprise.