Social Enterprise: Fulfilling Needs

d-light-design-pic-cA recent New York Times article covers the surge of sprouting mission-based businesses. But rather than focusing purely on the fact that our world is becoming more responsible-minded, writer Marci Alboher explores another trend… need.

D.Light founder Sam Goldman not only had a great solution to the kerosene problems he witnessed in developing countries, but also the passion to get it his technology into the most hands as soon as possible. We all know that money makes the world go round, even in these times of economic hardship. Money makes the wheels move and money keeps the gears oiled. Like many of the companies Investors’ Circle sees, Goldman’s decision to go the for-profit route was driven by immediate need. “We could have done it as a nonprofit over a hundred years, but if we wanted to do it in five or 10 years, then we believed it needed to be fueled by profit. That’s the way to grow.”

Those who have been involved in the social enterprise sector understand the benefit of harnessing the power of capitalism to achieve positive and rapid growth. Investors’ Circle member Kevin Jones, who recently hosted the memorable SoCap event, witnessed first-hand a larger public “flocking to what he calls a new asset class.”

Another IC Member, Jonathan Storper of Hanson Bridgett Law Firm, is quoted in the article as well. Storper explains that social and legal norms for mission-driven for-profit companies are adapting to this new landscape of social responsibility. “These lines have blurred and converged as the business world attempts to respond to the modern culture’s demand that businesses be good stewards of the environment and society.” With shareholders to consider, for-profit companies doing good work may soon be looking at tax exemptions, tax deductibility of donations, and other benefits that non-profit orgs require to keep afloat. This is fabulous news for innovative Investors’ Circle companies who are still trudging through this recession with the dream of radical change.

Be sure to check out Sam Goldman’s blog on Social Edge.


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