Steve Jobs famously said to then-CEO of Pepsi, John Scully, "Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life or do you want to come with me and change the world?" Jobs wanted Scully to come run Apple, and the tactic worked. The transition from an industrial era mindset to a technological one proved too alien to Scully, and in the decade that he ran Apple, its share price increased at just a sixth of the pace of Pepsi’s.
Steve Jobs also famously said that he wanted to leave a “dent in the universe” before he passed on. Having turned Apple around to become the most financially valuable company on the planet shortly before he died, it’s hard to argue that he failed to make the impact he wanted. Jobs, through Apple, surely changed the world. But criticisms
of Apple’s environmental record, human rights violations, and unethical business practices have to make us wonder whether it’s possible to leave your mark without causing great collateral damage.
A true social enterprise, by most definitions, includes equal care for people, planet, and profit. Which means that it’s not acceptable to make transformative technologies for people living in one country, if it means exploiting workers in another, or harming the environment.
Social entrepreneurs never think to themselves “do the ends justify the means?” That’s because they are instead thinking about how to solve problems in a way that the ends are the means. When there is true alignment of people and planet, then profits tend to flow rather quickly. Take for example This Shirt Helps
, a for-profit t-shirt company that exceeded its Crowdfunder goal just 56 hours after opening a campaign:
But changing entrenched systems often requires a more complex business model that takes years to develop and prove out. WE’VE Artisans is a perfect example. Once you watch the video
, it’s clear why Peter Thiel and Joi Ito got involved early on. It’s equally clear once you scan WE’VE’s slide deck that these luminaries (and their money and influence) will not be what scales this enterprise.
What brings social enterprises to scale is communities coming together to barn raise, both online and offline. This is why Crowdfunder has teamed up with GOOD, TED Fellows, X PRIZE Foundation, Social Enterprise Alliance, and many other partner communities
to create the world’s largest online/offline live pitch event for social enterprise. You can participate right now and make a difference, from the comfort of your armchair.
Dozens of sustainable, for-profit social enterprises from around the globe are vying for a spot in the Finals where they will be pitching in front of over $100 million in capital
to scale their impact. The Judges
need your help in deciding who is worthy of a spot in the Finals, and ultimately which ones will get funded. Here’s how you can help:
- \nClick here to find the social enterprises you believe in and want to support.
- Click Follow Company on the top right of each company profile you support.
- Click Share Company to spread the word and scale your impact to your social network.
Go here to add supporting social enterprise business to your "To Do" list.