3 Social Enterprises with Lessons on How to Turn a Profit and Make Impact.
Social Impact businesses are currently experiencing tremendous growth and there is potential for them to grow even further. It is estimated that in the UK alone, over 77,000 social enterprises exist. For the many innovative ideas out there to be implemented successfully, there has to be a balance between sustainability and financial assistance through funding. How does a social enterprise turn a profit and have impact at the same time? Let’s take a look at how some of the most effective social enterprises we have come to know and love did it.
TOMS is a remarkable enterprise. What started on a journey to India after seeing the plight of children who couldn’t afford shoes has led to impact endeavors such as ending gun violence, funding sight restorations in the developing world, building safe water systems as well as shoe-giving. TOMS adopted a one-for-one business model. For each pair of shoes sold, the company gives one pair back to kids in developing countries and they have given 93 million+ pairs of shoes to date. Founder Blake Mycoskie saw a problem, helped to solve it and today the company has managed to diversify as well as record sales of over $336 million in 2018 alone. The mission of making a difference remains the same!
Moringa Connect was born from the plight of farmers in West Africa. Co-founders Kwami Williams and Emily Cunningham provide farmers with tools and training, buy their moringa produce at a fair price. The enterprise uses the Moringa oil for their natural skincare brand True Moringa and the seeds as a pre-packaged snack for their brand Minga foods. MoringaConnect has planted over 2 million trees and provided over $500,000 of income to 2,300 farming families in Ghana.
Muhammad Yunus is often credited as the pioneer of microfinance and microcredit through the Grameen Bank. In 1976, Yunus began loaning very small sums of money to people whom traditional banks wouldn’t offer loans or lines of credit to people without collateral. The Grameen Bank has managed to bring in a net income of $10 million and a 97% loan payback rate.
Tough global challenges are tremendous opportunities for many. Opportunities for ordinary citizens to take action and hold governments accountable not only through speaking up but by also coming up with solutions and implementing them. Opportunities for larger companies to take their corporate social responsibility efforts to a different levels through assisting social impact startups with funding and other resources. There really is a lot to be done in the social businesses sector and we certainly commend those who have successfully built their social enterprises.