benefit corporations

105, Jay Coen Gilbert, B Lab | Business as a Force for Good

What if we could utilize the power of business as a force for good? What would that make possible? Jay Coen Gilbert knows how to scale a business. As a cofounder of AND1, he grew the company from selling t-shirts out of the back of a car to a global basketball footwear and apparel brand worth over $250 million. When he sold the company in 2005, Jay took the time to think about his experience. He and his friends Bart Houlahan, and Andrew Kassoy met with purpose driven businesses to talk about the potential of business as a force for good. Based on these conversations, they recognized that, just because a company…

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069, Michael Pirron, Impact Makers | How to Scale a Social Enterprise

If you want to know how to scale a social enterprise, Michael Pirron of Impact Makers might be someone to ask. Not only is his company recognized as a “Best for the World” B Corporation, they are also on the Inc. list of Fastest Growing Companies for five years in a row. And, they have been listed as a Best Places to Work. That’s a combination that piques my interest. Impact Makers is a for-profit Virginia benefit corporation that is owned by two non-profits. In 2015, Impact Makers gifted ownership of the company to two organizations that support philanthropy and community development: Virginia Community Capital and The Community Foundation Serving…

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069, Michael Pirron, Impact Makers | How to Scale a Social Enterprise

042, Neetal Parekh, Innov8social | An Easy Button for Social Impact

Social impact expert Neetal Parekh wants to make an easy button for social entrepreneurs. Neetal was born in Oklahoma City. Her parents had immigrated from India. She and her family moved frequently, about 20 times in 20 years. When Neetal and her family visited their family in India, she observed the gap between wealth and abject poverty. Even as a child, she thought about how she could close that gap – to make an impact. Neetal trained as an attorney and, as part of her job, she wrote blogs about changes in law. In 2011, California proposed two pieces of legislation that allowed for-profit companies to pursue social impact while…

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042, Neetal Parekh, Innov8social | An Easy Button for Social Impact

Social Entrepreneurship: An Introduction

Social entrepreneurship is, in its simplest terms, the utilization of business practices to fundamentally change the most intractable issues of our time. Having said that, I feel like I should quickly add, “But wait! There’s more!” In recent years, entrepreneurs of all types have profoundly altered the marketplace. Companies like Dropbox, Airbnb and Red Hat have transformed their industries. What if we could utilize the incredible power of startups to permanently change the landscape of social and environmental issues such as climate change, food security and access to clean water? That’s what social entrepreneurship does. Definition of Social Entrepreneurship Bill Drayton, Ashoka founder and CEO seems to have coined the term social entrepreneur. According…

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Social Entrepreneurship: An Introduction

You Are a Changemaker

Do you have the feeling that you were put on the earth to do more than fill and empty your Netflix queue? When you think of the tens of thousands of hours in your lifetime that you’re going to spend at work, do you ache for your career to be more closely aligned to your calling? Is there a social cause that inspires you or a social injustice that stirs your emotions? If so, you are a changemaker, and you’re not alone. In a recent survey, more than 50% of millennials say they would take a pay cut to find work in alignment with their values, and 90% want to…

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You Are a Changemaker

030, Jeffrey Hollender, Sustain Natural | A Systems Thinking Approach to Greater Good

If Jeffrey Hollender’s name is familiar to you, it would not be surprising. As the cofounder of Seventh Generation, the author of a half dozen books, and a frequent speaker on using business to do good in the world, he’s a natural fit for a conversation with Social Entrepreneur. But he did not come on the podcast to talk about his past accomplishments. He’s busy taking a systemic approach to his latest business Sustain Natural. Through Sustain, Jeffrey is connecting the dots between condoms, hunger, health care, poverty, and climate change. Yes, that’s right. I said condoms…and lubricants and wipes. All of which are fair trade, organic and sustainably produced. And,…

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030, Jeffrey Hollender, Sustain Natural | A Systems Thinking Approach to Greater Good

025, David Reiling, Sunrise Banks | Empowering Underserved Communities

According to Sunrise Banks’ CEO David Reiling, “The culture of Sunrise Banks is all about mission and innovation.” If you pull his statement apart, you’ll notice three components: culture, mission and innovation. These are the magic ingredients that have allowed Sunrise Banks to be recognized as a “Best for the World” company. Sunrise Banks has been recognized on many levels for their purpose-driven innovation. They are a certified Benefit Corporation (BCorp). Their parent company was one of the first Minnesota Public Benefit Corporations. And, they are a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), one of only 100 banks in the US. They focus on underserved communities. More than 60% of…

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025, David Reiling, Sunrise Banks | Empowering Underserved Communities

My Journey

This is my journey. Care to join me? There is a lot in my story that would not predict success. I was born in Arkansas in fairly simple circumstances. In high school I graduated 250th of 259. I drove a truck and worked as a janitor. I did not obtain my college degree until my mid-thirties. There were some significant turns in my river of life. At the age of 15 I had a near drowning accident. It helped me to realize how short life is, and how important it is to make an impact while we may. I had an amazing corporate career as an executive with Fortune 500 companies…

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My Journey

003, Luni Libes, Fledge | The Conscious Company Accelerator

At 37 years-old, Michael “Luni” Libes had just completed his fifth successful tech startup. Looking for a way to support his fellow entrepreneurs, Luni became a mentor-in-residence for Pinchot University’s MBA of Sustainable Business program. After watching graduates struggle to launch their mission-driven businesses, Luni founded Fledge, the Conscious Company accelerator. Each year Fledge runs a program with seven mission-driven, for-profit companies. With six cohorts completed, Fledge has 39 graduates from ten countries, one-third of whom are in Africa. Each company is making an impact on some of the most pressing challenges of our times. In this episode, Luni shares: The story of how he started Fledge The difference between…

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003, Luni Libes, Fledge | The Conscious Company Accelerator

000, Introduction, Social Entrepreneur | Episode Zero, My Journey to Social Entrepreneurship

For several months, I have been behind closed doors, creating the first episodes of this podcast. Since I knew nothing about podcasting, I have learned everything from scratch. The results are not perfect but as Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn has been quoted as saying, [spp-tweet tweet=”If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.”] This is the “getting to know you” episode of the podcast Social Entrepreneur. In this initial episode, I tell the story of how a woman in Kenya, who simply wanted to get the best price for her chickens led to the founding of this podcast. I’ll describe what…

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000, Introduction, Social Entrepreneur | Episode Zero, My Journey to Social Entrepreneurship