Social entrepreneurs are an ingenious lot. They use their head, heart and creativity to come out with ideas that prop up the bottom-line that also have social and environmental impact. Triple bottom line maybe a nice buzzword, but achieving it can be very challenging, and sometimes downright impossible. Most social entrepreneurs are born innovators: they innovate on products, services, business models, supply chains, financial processes, marketing and finally on how they deploy the profit they generate.
At SocialStory, we come across a variety of social enterprises with different business models, and over time, some of them have caught our eye. We present 14 of those social enterprises from around the world. You maybe familiar with some of these like Toms Shoes and Kiva, but we hope to surprise you with some that you haven’t heard of before. Please note that we have consciously not mentioned any India-based social entrepreneurs.
1) Who gives a crap? (WGAC):
WGAC is trying to build toilets, by selling one toilet roll at a time. There are 2.5 billion people all over the developing world who can’t afford access to a toilet. This leads to time wasted, health problems, death and situations of potential embarrassment. Three guys from Australia decided to do something about this.
Instead of taking the problem head-on by raising funds and building toilets, they decided to take launch a non-profit and plough back 50 per cent of the profits into giving poor people access to proper sanitation. All their toilet paper is chemical-free and made from 100 percent recycled paper.
They kicked things off with a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo in July 2012, when Simon, one of the founders, sat on a toilet in the WGAC warehouse and refused to move until they had raised enough pre-orders to start production. By the end of the campaign they had generated a ton of publicity and raised $50,000, and a company was born.
Can the power of a tee shirt change the world for good? The folks at Sevenly certainly think so. To date they have donated $2.7 million to different charitable causes around the world.
Sevenly was founded in 2011, by Dale Partridge and Aaron Chavez, when they got together with the mission of leading a generation toward generosity. They began by creating weekly cause campaigns where they gave $7 to a weekly charity for every purchase made. Sevenly serves a dual purpose of crowd-funding for causes and driving massive social awareness at the same time.
Kiva’s online platform helps people lend money to those in need and deploys the capital through its field partners. Donors go through personal stories of individuals in need the loan and make a choice on who to lend. Kiva earns no interest on the loans being supported by its users, corporations, and national institutions.
Headquartered in San Francisco, Kiva enables individuals to lend as little as $25 to help alleviate poverty. Loan seekers, surprisingly repay their loan 99 percent of the time. Kiva lends more than $2.5 million every week, and gives out a loan every 8 seconds.
4) Rapanui Clothing (Rapanui):
It is an eco-fashion brand that make organic clothing for men and women natural fabrics in an ethical, wind powered factory. All of Rapanui can be traced from from seed to shop. From where exactly the products come from and how and where they are made: We’ve also developed a new, Sir David Attenborough describes Rapanui as “a most interesting and valuable project.” What’s more, last year the company spent £16000 helping young people get placements, jobs and start new companies.
Trabasack lap desk bag is an award winning British innovation. It was started after Clare and Duncan’s son Joe was born with Dravet Syndrome (a condition which causes severe epilepsy and learning disability), Clare (herself on a wheelchair) created the first Trabasack as a wheelchair lap tray designed to be safe and easy to use for Joe. They made the product commercial after receiving several inquiries.