The name speaks for itself. YBI’s newest program, So Good Entrepreneurship, is really, really good. Social entrepreneurship is the new big thing, as it should be. Popularized by companies such as TOMS, Warby Parker and Patagonia, social entrepreneurs run for-profit businesses that place a strong focus on giving back. Whether through product, as seen in the aforementioned examples, time volunteering or money donated, these businesses make sure that they focus on the world around them that makes their business success possible.
‘Why am I just now hearing about this?’ you might ask. Social entrepreneurship has long been around, but hasn’t seen popularity levels quite like this. A social entrepreneur is someone who starts a for-profit company that has some sort of social benefit. A term you might be familiar with is the triple bottom line: people, planet and profit (or social, environmental and financial). People, especially millennials, are starting to care more about the origins and backgrounds of the products that they purchase. Whether farmers are paid fair wages, where exactly their food comes from, the diversity of a company’s employee base and safe working conditions are all concerns as of late, and companies that jump on board with social enterprise factors tend to see a more loyal customer base. Many companies now have corporate social responsibility in HR policies that require employees to spend a certain amount of time giving back to their community, and companies like TOMS and Warby Parker have been promoting social good for years.
The rise of certified B-corporations has also played a large role in the increase of inspiring social entrepreneurs. Over 1,700 B-corps have come to existence in the 10 years that this certification has existed – quite a fast rise. These are companies that have met a list of requirements set by B Lab, a non-profit organization, to place a focus on representing the interests of all non-shareholding stakeholders, which includes employees, the community and the environment, as detailed in this article on the Harvard Business Review. Social good enterprises are increasingly popular with consumers, too. Many people are willing to pay a few extra dollars for the feeling of giving back without having to do much of their own work at all.
In comes So Good Entrepreneurship. The first program of its kind in the northeast Ohio area, So Good exists to educate and inspire up-and-coming entrepreneurs to take a stance on being socially conscious. Events and programs are in the works for members of the community and business owners, so make sure to stay connected with us to find out more information.
Gianna Centofanti, our Entrepreneurship and Research Coordinator, has taken the lead initiative of So Good after noticing a lack of social entrepreneurship education accessibility in the region. She was looking to attend a conference and found that the closest one was in Boston, so she decided to take the opportunity to start something right here in Youngstown. This program seeks to serve the Cleveland-Youngstown-Pittsburgh corridor, primarily, but can be useful for entrepreneurs outside of the region as well. She noted that a lot of companies are starting to implement social good endeavors, but don’t yet market themselves as social enterprise companies, which is something that this program hopes to tackle.
For more information on So Good Entrepreneurship, click here.