With a greater awareness of the impact our production and consumption have on the environment, an array of impactful and sustainable innovations have emerged from leaders who want to make a difference. It would appear then, that starting a business has become more about the meaning and purpose it can impart, rather than the immediate monetary profit.
As such, the ‘mission-driven’ brands that are inspired as a result of these developments are indicative of a new generation that is looking to leave the world a better place. One company that is dedicated to making a positive impact is Patagonia. While their purpose was found and implemented later on in the process, it now guides everything they do. As Vincent Stanley, Director of Philosophy at Patagonia explains, “I’m deeply convinced that no business will be able to operate within the next 10 years without addressing the harms it causes, without mitigating those, without trying to help solve social and environmental problems.” https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/602825340&color=%23f09933 And so, the emergence of ‘social impact’ entrepreneurialism has become a global trend. The concept aims to drive start-ups to success by making a difference in the lives of others.
How does one go about finding their place in this new realm of mission driven lifestyles? Various entrepreneurs around the world are making their own mark in the industry, finding solutions to problems that may not have even existed yet. Here are the OFX customers who are leading examples of how the world is moving to greater sustainability through mission-driven, or social impact, entrepreneurialism.
The entrepreneurs of the future want to make a difference
Social impact entrepreneurialism has become a global trend. The concept aims to drive start-ups to success by making a difference in the lives of others.
Flow Hive – saving the bees, one tap at-a-time
Flow Hive is a positive example of the way crowdfunding can be used to support projects that seek to make the world a better place. The genesis of Flow Hive was to create a way to harvest honey that was easier on the bee’s – and the beekeepers.
Flow Hive offers custom-built beehives that allow for honey to be harvested gently, given that the process previously took almost a week to do and would result in many stings and fewer bees. It uses ‘taps’ that release honey from specially designed Flow Frames, allowing extraction of the honey without even having to open the hives. Using the power of crowdfunding, the duo running FlowHive set up an Indiegogo campaign to garner financial support for the project. It was an unexpected hit, exceeding US$12 million in startup funds. The success showed that people were genuinely interested in supporting a project that was innovating in a field that hadn’t made any new developments in around 150 years.
As of February 2018, there are 51,000 Flow Hives in use spanning more than 130 countries. Boasting the innovative duo as not only a successful startup, but also advocates for the future the bee population.
Benjamin Siggers – sustainable menswear with a cause
Benjamin Siggers is a bespoke suiting company specialising in quality, handmade and sustainable menswear. After years spent in the fashion industry the founders, Matthew Benjamin and James Siggers, realised the enormous environmental cost of the industry. It can take more than 20,000 litres of water to produce one kilogram of cotton, which is only enough for one suit. This vision took the company on a journey through Italy. From there, Matthew and James have carefully handpicked partnerships with manufacturers and suppliers who use traditional methods of production before launching in 2017.
Along with this, the co-founders of Benjamin Siggers have committed to investing 2% of annual sales once a year to a water project in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Charity Water brings clean water to communities by forming water committees locally, partnering with local government, and training mechanics to perform repairs for a long-term solution to the water crisis.
There are 633 million people in the world living without clean water and many who live in rural areas spend hours walking to the nearest water supply. This keeps children out of schosinol and parents out of work, and a lot of this water supply can carry diseases that cause illness. By funding this initiative, Benjamin Siggers is helping families lead healthier, happier lives.
Who Gives a Crap – creating better sanitation through toilet humour
Not the most conventional of startups, but again, the trio who founded Who Gives A Crap funded their project with one of the creators sitting on a toilet and refusing to move until the funds had been raised – 50 hours later.
Despite the comical side of the company’s history, the trio are working to help build toilets in developing countries where there are 2.3 billion people without access to one.
The aim here is to reduce the number of deaths caused by poor water and sanitation. The toilet paper is made with environmentally-friendly materials like 100% recycled paper and bamboo and 50% of the profits are donated to a range of charity organisations.
To date, the company has donated 1.2 million dollars, which is helping organisations and NGOs around the world provide for people in need.
Social impact entrepreneurialism works to transform the market and create products that do more than make money, they also have purpose. Consumers can also contribute to a cause via methods such as crowdfunding. Which in-turn creates a culture that is becoming more aware of how a business can impart long-term impact, creating massive value for the world.
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