In this episode we meet three different personalities, thanks to 2016-Sustainatopia. Sustainotopia is one of the leading events in the world for social, financial and environmental sustainability & impact. All three people whom we meet today, share a common goal – Social Responsibility!

We met Tom of Tom’s Maine, Sustainatopia’s John Rosser, and Prashant Mehta of ConsciousStep.

Listen to the Sustainatopia Podcast

Meet Tom

Tom

Tom Chappel of Tom’s

We met Tom of Tom’s of Maine—a leading natural products company focused on oral and personal care products. The company has a long-standing commitment to supporting people, communities and the living planet. For over 42 years, Tom’s has sponsored hundreds of nonprofit efforts by giving 10% of its profits back to organizations that support human and environmental goodness.

Tom’s of Maine was founded by Tom and Kate Chappell in 1970 with US$5,000. The Mission of Tom: to create products that were more healthful to use, and to produce those products in synergy with their community and environment.

Meet John Rosser

We met John Rosser, founder of Sustainatopia— one of the leading events in the world for social, financial and environmental sustainability & impact.

john-clinton-hands

John Rosser of Sustainatopia

As curator of Sustainatopia- a global conference which attracts many thousands of global thought leaders and participants from around the world- as well as publisher of Sustainatopia.com magazine, John remains closely connected to the entire global eco-system of social, financial and environmental sustainability.

The first company he founded, the worlds largest international MBA job fair, was sold to the Washington Post in 1996. Rosser has his Master in International Business Studies degree from the University of South Carolina, and is fluent in German, with moderate fluency in Spanish and French.

Meet Concious Step

conscious-step

Conscious Socks

Conscious step was founded by three friends that weren’t happy with the problems faced by the world today. They were deeply concerned with the gravity of these problems and the potential implications on all of us.

Conscious Step make socks that fight for causes that matter. Each pair is uniquely designed, ethically manufactured and partnered with a first class non-profit to fund quantified impact for the world’s biggest challenges. For example, the pink and blue argyle pattern provides six therapeutic food packs to malnourished children in Sub Saharan Africa, in partnership with our non-profit partner Action Against Hunger

Show Notes

Here are a few interesting articles about people and their companies we met in this episode.

In this episode we meet Graham Brewster, Managing Director of World Housingan impact enterprise that provides homes to families living in slums in the developing world, fostering communities where families can thrive with safety, security, and access to the resources that change lives.

Prior to this social enterprise, Graham was the development Manager at GNW trust a real estate firm which helped to convert a land parcel into a vibrant community of companies, artists and entrepreneurs. Prior to that, Graham was working as a Micro finance intern with Nobel prize winner Muhammed Yunus. They actively helped in micro lending to those stuck in poverty.

Listen to the Podcast Episode 

Meet Graham Brewster

” This was recorded back on day 26 of a 30 Day Podcast Project! ”  Today, you will meet Graham Brewster, Managing Graham BrewsterDirector at World Housing — where they believe homes are the key turning point where the momentum of community begins to have effects that radiate beyond individuals and into entire families, villages, and countries.

World Housing homes allow people to live safe, stable lives. Children who grow up in safe, stable homes have greater freedom to pursue education, and raise the standard of living for themselves, their families, and future generations to come.

Prior to this social enterprise, Graham graduated from University of British Columbia in Commerce, Real Estate. He had traveled to the middle east and worked as intern with Grameen bank. There he has worked with Nobel Prize winner Muhammed Yunus, in micro lending to those stuck in poverty, there by improving the dignity of the people.

Show Notes

Here are a few articles related to this episode.

More About World Housing

  • Website: http://worldhousing.ca/
  • Value Proposition: “World Housing believes that homes are the key turning point where the momentum of community begins to have effects that radiate beyond individuals and into entire families, villages, and countries.

Abridged excerpt from book “51 Questions on Social Entrepreneurship“.

Hybrid Legal Structure – Drawbacks

Though it is fascinating to have these new legal structures, they might not be the best fit for every company. An attorney’s job is to help startups find a structure that will be the best fit for their goals, objectives, and growth strategies.

The big thing with the new legal structures is that they haven’t been tested in court. That means there is no case law. To be honest, we don’t know how courts will react or uphold the impact objectives. You always need people to raise their hands and be the first, but some companies may not want to be in such an undefined area of law. Additionally, since each state has passed its own version of these legal structures, each state has different requirements. One side note that bears mention is that while there is no definitive case law on this subject yet, Chief Justice of the Delaware Supreme Court, Leo Strine, has written articles on the topic, including one titled “Making It Easier for Directors To ‘Do The Right Thing’?” in which he supports the idea that benefit corporation statutes have the potential to shift accountability and put actual power behind the idea that corporations should act responsibly.  

Another consideration is that some attorneys feel it isn’t necessary to opt for a new legal structure because there is enough protection within the system (i.e., Business Judgment Rule,  constituency statutes) and with the shift in consciousness of corporations towards CSR, there is a natural evolution of the corporation.  However, this “wait and see” mentality may not be a good fit for every company as it leaves a few important considerations undefined.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the transparency and accountability requirements of the new social enterprise legal structures may not be in line with the company’s policy for releasing information. Depending on the state of incorporation, incorporating as a benefit corporation may mean making information publicly available that a Board of Directors is not comfortable with.

 


image of "51 Questions on Social Entrepreneurship"

This is an abridged excerpt from the book, “51 Questions on Social Entrepreneurship” by Neetal Parekh. You can learn more and buy the entire book—which is told as a story of three aspiring social entrepreneurs and which dives into key aspects of social entrepreneurship including defining the space, legal structures, securing funding, and measuring impact at 51questions.com

Abridged excerpt from book “51 Questions on Social Entrepreneurship“.

Special Legal Structures for Social Enterprise

Companies based in the U.S. can choose between new legal structures or existing legal structures or combinations. They can also rely on established legal principles when deciding on how to move forward with forming their entities.

Off the bat, let’s go through a few terms. A hybrid structure is the term cool kids are using these days to describe these new legal structures that combine elements of for-profit and nonprofit legal structures. An example of this is the benefit corporation—it’s a single structure but formalizes aspects of nonprofit (i.e., commitment to impact) as well for-profit (i.e., generating revenue) organizations. Each of the structures does this a little differently, and in the U.S., each state recognizes its own version of these structures.  

The term tandem is a good one to describe the use of multiple legal structures to achieve the intended goals, such as impact and profit. So a social enterprise could be structured as a C corporation and have a non-profit organization associated as well. Think of it like a tandem bicycle: multiple riders (or in our case, legal structures) working together for the same goals.

The term hybrid, is used to describe a single legal structure combining elements of nonprofit and for-profit entities, and tandem to describe the situation when multiple legal structures are used to achieve a social enterprise’s goals. Some of the existing legal structure options for mission-driven companies include cooperatives, limited liability companies (LLCs), C corporations, and nonprofit organizations.

A few of the new legal structures for social enterprise include benefit corporations, social purpose corporations, and low-profit limited liability companies. Each structure, of course, has different advantages and drawbacks.

 


image of "51 Questions on Social Entrepreneurship"

This is an abridged excerpt from the book, “51 Questions on Social Entrepreneurship” by Neetal Parekh. You can learn more and buy the entire book—which is told as a story of three aspiring social entrepreneurs and which dives into key aspects of social entrepreneurship including defining the space, legal structures, securing funding, and measuring impact at 51questions.com

Abridged excerpt from book “51 Questions on Social Entrepreneurship“.

Social Innovation Fellowship Programs

There are literally dozens of social innovation fellowship programs, and new ones emerging regularly. Some are paid, while others are unpaid or for college credit. There are programs to meet individuals at whichever stage of life they find themselves in, whether they’re in school, in an established profession, transitioning between careers, or seeking to re-enter the workforce.

Here are few social innovation fellowship programs to research further:

You can also find a dynamic list of social innovation fellowship programs at Innov8social.com/tools and here:

Social Innovation Fellowship Programs

Social Innovation Fellowship Programs

 


image of "51 Questions on Social Entrepreneurship"

This is an abridged excerpt from the book, “51 Questions on Social Entrepreneurship” by Neetal Parekh. You can learn more and buy the entire book—which is told as a story of three aspiring social entrepreneurs and which dives into key aspects of social entrepreneurship including defining the space, legal structures, securing funding, and measuring impact at 51questions.com

Abridged excerpt from book “51 Questions on Social Entrepreneurship“. 

Business Models for Social Enterprise

In order to bake social impact into a new startup or business, social entrepreneurs have become more creative in thinking about business models. Here are a few business models for social enterprise that mission-driven founders are considering.

  • Buy one, give one. TOMS is an example of an impact company using this model. It has been a business model and in all of their marketing from the start. The nice thing about a business model like this is that it’s as easy to explain to your investors as it is to your customers and to your team. The simplicity can be a big plus when telling your story and mapping out impact goals.
  • Sliding scale / pay what you can. This model has been employed by a number of social enterprises. One notable one is the Aravind Eye Care System in India. It is a nonprofit social enterprise that performs sight-saving eye surgeries. Founded in 1976, Aravind has treated well over 32 million patients and performed more than 4 million surgeries. In fact, according to it’s 2014-2015 annual report, Aravind medical teams at the 67 affiliated locations see over 15,000 patients and perform 1,500 surgeries on a daily basis.  It utilizes a low-cost, high-volume business model for eye surgery services. About 70% of eye surgeries are performed for free or below cost, while 30% are performed for above cost without compromising quality of care on either side of the price range.
  • Percentage models. Salesforce popularized the 1-1-1 model. As a company that was not founded on impact, it is notable that this giving model has been implemented from its start. It means that the company gives away 1% of its product, employee time, and revenue to charitable causes and to the community. A social enterprise could use a percentage model such as Salesforce’s to effectuate a commitment to impact. Another firm, very nice design, based in Los Angeles, uses a “Give Half” model in which 50% of design projects are completed pro bono for nonprofit or community clients—the team at very nice designs has also created modelsofimpact.co featuring over a hundred social impact business models.

 


image of "51 Questions on Social Entrepreneurship"

This is an abridged excerpt from the book, “51 Questions on Social Entrepreneurship” by Neetal Parekh. You can learn more and buy the entire book—which is told as a story of three aspiring social entrepreneurs and which dives into key aspects of social entrepreneurship including defining the space, legal structures, securing funding, and measuring impact at 51questions.com

Abridged excerpt from book “51 Questions on Social Entrepreneurship“.

Donation-based crowdfunding is a way to source money for a project by asking a large number of contributors to donate a small amount to it. In return, backers may receive token rewards that increase in prestige as the size of the donation increases; for small sums, the contributor may receive nothing at all.

It’s the easiest form of crowdfunding to set up (i.e. no legal requirements).Let’s look at some of the key features, pros, and cons to understand it better.

Crowdfunding for Donation

Key Features:

  • Anyone can provide funding for a campaign
  • The contribution is a “donation,” often rewarded with perks or benefits—but not equity
  • There is no financial return for contributors

The Pros:

  • Anyone can contribute from anywhere
  • There is no limit to the number of funders or amount of funding requested
  • You can make a direct appeal to customers, friends, and family for small to mid-range amounts
  • Social entrepreneurs can deliver value through non-monetary perks (i.e. they can find ways to create value for the funder, without a prohibitive cost to the social enterprise)
  • You can build community, marketing, and branding in addition to raising funds
  • It can serve as a way to test out an idea, concept, features, or pricing by getting customer feedback through interaction with the campaign, comments, orders, etc.
  • You can validate the concept and attract other forms of funding (i.e., venture capital, impact investment, angel funding, friends and family, etc.)

 


image of "51 Questions on Social Entrepreneurship"

This is an abridged excerpt from the book, “51 Questions on Social Entrepreneurship” by Neetal Parekh. You can learn more and buy the entire book—which is told as a story of three aspiring social entrepreneurs and which dives into key aspects of social entrepreneurship including defining the space, legal structures, securing funding, and measuring impact at 51questions.com

Abridged excerpt from book “51 Questions on Social Entrepreneurship

Why does social impact matter ?

The world is changing, and everywhere we look there seems to be a call to action. 

Population Approaching 8 Billion People

On the horizon, we can see a world population that will reach eight billion people in the next decade—double what it was just fifty years prior.

Are We Ready?

Climate change, which has been recognized as a global concern by institutions ranging from the EPA to the Papacy, threatens with extreme weather patterns as well as a rise in sea level and impact on existing species.

Wealth inequity has a new definition as half of the world’s wealth is now owned by less than 1% of the global population, and we live in a time in which nearly 3 billion people struggle to survive on less than $2 a day and nearly 1 billion people don’t have enough food to eat. We live in a time in which girls globally are not afforded the same access to education, with 33 million fewer girls than boys attending middle school around the world.

The New Problem-Solvers

We also live in a moment, when we have ready problem solvers and incredible advances in technology that let us imagine impact not in magnitudes of hundreds of lives improved, but in magnitudes of billions. We are in a moment in which our workforce is changing, and so are their values.

Business and Law for Social Impact

As of the end of 2015, over 30 states or jurisdictions in the US have passed some form of social enterprise legal structure, with nearly 3,000 companies choosing to adopt these new legal structures.  Additionally, companies including Rally Software and Etsy that have aligned with the social enterprise movement through pursuing a “B corporation” certification have had an Initial Public Offering (IPO). Others, such as Laureate Education, have chosen to convert to a benefit corporation and also file an IPO.

Yin and Yang Forces

As we stand at the edge of how things have always been done and how they can be done, we can see divergent but complementary forces: the pressing issues that affect our generation and most definitely will affect future generations and the intelligent, engaged, motivated army of problem solvers ready to do something about it.

Redefining Business to Include Social Impact

While the evolution of social entrepreneurship to this point has seen the carving out of a new kind of business and a vocabulary to define terms in this emerging space, the urgent need for leadership and innovation has the potential to be met by the most driven, largest, and most cross-functional social innovators and social entrepreneurs the world has ever known.

There is the potential to work beyond subjects of entrepreneurship and focus on redefining the future of business as a whole and to consider impact as a norm. There is the possibility of broadening the reach of social entrepreneurship by absorbing its core attributes into the character of business itself. Instead of being “social entrepreneurship,” the values of measuring, reporting, and expanding impact could become part of the way we understand, assess, and measure the success of industries across the board—making it part of “business as usual.”

How Can We Reach Our Collective Impact Potential

This massive potential—this meeting of what we need and what we are capable of giving, of limitless possibility and urgent problems, of compounding concerns and creative and committed problem solvers—to me encapsulates the essence of why social entrepreneurship matters. I have no doubt that it has the ability to not only transform our lives individually, but to collectively change the world.


image of "51 Questions on Social Entrepreneurship"

This is an abridged excerpt from the book, “51 Questions on Social Entrepreneurship” by Neetal Parekh. You can learn more and buy the entire book—which is told as a story of three aspiring social entrepreneurs and which dives into key aspects of social entrepreneurship including defining the space, legal structures, securing funding, and measuring impact at 51questions.com

leaf changing color on pavement

Follow Your Passion

I remember watching an episode of Oprah, in which she interviewed successful film director, Tom Shadyac. He explained his story of owning a mansion and then, following a serious biking accident and by way of his own spiritual and personal realizations, downsizing to a 1,000 ft. space. He has given away most of his fortune and written extensively about the power and value of having less in his book, Life’s Operating Manual.

In his documentary, I Am, Shadyac explores concepts of happiness and fulfillment, and one of his key takeaways is that we must follow our passion. Following what we are passionate about, clarifies our path, enables compassion and collaboration, and creates fulfillment.

Discover Your Purpose

Taking passion one step further, we reach purpose. “The reason for” often helps define choices around our careers.

In the candid conversation between Shadyac and Oprah, Oprah repeated her famous phrase, “follow your passion, it will lead you to your purpose.”  She has gone so far to suggest that it is our job to discover our purpose.

And this is a ‘job’ I have dedicated much of my efforts to over the past few years. Through blogging, jumping into startups, writing a book, podcasting, founding and then re-building Innov8social, and meeting amazing, inspiring people focused on innovative means of realizing social impact—I can say I have followed my passion and discovered a core purpose:

To help people reach their impact potential.

It is simple, and focused enough to be actionable. It means inviting people into the social impact space by demystifying jargon and decluttering options. It means creating actionable resources that are multi-disciplinary and ‘agnostic’ as to source. It means creating and sharing content and delivering it to people in ways that are easy to digest.

And this process of following my passion and discovering purpose has provided me my own “ah-ha” moment.

It is simply this: Yes, find your passion, discover your purpose….and then find your tribe.

Find Your Tribe

From my experience, passion and purpose alone can create deep fulfillment in our work and lives; however, it’s when we meet and engage with those best suited to make the most of what we are building, that our work takes flight.

With today’s automation tools and increasing social media echoes, it is completely possible to build and create without getting to really know who you are serving and who share your passion and purpose.

From my reflection, our next step, then, is to find the people who are ecstatic about and aligned with our work. And oftentimes, no one can do this for us—it’s up to us to find our tribe.

Seth Godin, in his book Tribes, defines a tribe as “a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea…A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate.”

We each intrinsically lead our own tribe or tribes. These may be around our hobbies, families, or education. These may be large tribes, but more likely they are fairly intimate and engaged.

When we identify our passion and purpose, we cannot assume the tribe will find us—we have to find our tribe.

 

8 Things I Have Learned About Finding My Tribe

1. It can take some time and requires patience and perseverance.

2. It works best when you are authentic.

3. It may not always be comprised of people and organizations that you might have imagined.

4. Positive intent can help you be grateful v. grumpy about the tribe-finding process.

5. Today’s tribes operate with the law of two feet— members will come and go as the tribe relates to their growth and stage. That shuffle is good and will ensure evolution versus stagnation.

6. Tribes are about growing together.

7. We are each part of multiple tribes.

8. Tribes can accelerate your growth, bring you peace of mind, a sense of joy, and help you realize your visions.

 

What has been your experience with finding your tribe? What are your greatest takeaways?

Listen to the Interview with Nasir Qadree

Meet Nasir Qadree

 

Nasir QadreeThis episode of the Innov8social Podcast features an interview with Nasir Qadree, who serves as a Head of Education at VillageCapital, a venture capital firm that sources, trains and invests in seed-stage entrepreneurs with business solutions to major global problems.

Nasir, born in Atlanta Georgia and a graduate of Hampton University, began his career as an Analyst at Goldman Sachs, and later worked as an Associate to State Street Corporation before serving as Co Chairman of Innovation for Senator Cory Booker, during his special run for Senate in 2013.

Nasir was later was appointed and served as an Education Pioneer Fellow/Special Assistant at the Connecticut State Department of Education, leading the states digital learning and infrastructure initiative , and creating new strategies to empower teachers and school leaders to improve persistently low-performing schools.

I connected with Nasir in connection to Village Capital’s deep work in supporting global social entrepreneurship—and had the fortuitous chance to meet him just weeks later at the Pioneer Summit at GSVlabs. We also found another great connection—we are fellow alumni of the New Leaders Council Fellowship Program and both participated in 2012! Nasir, in the Boston chapter, and me in the Silicon Valley Chapter.

Another fascinating and inspiring factoid about Nasir is that he has committed to running 51 full marathons in each US state, including DC, in an effort to raise scholarship funding for first-generation college students. He has run 14 marathons towards his goal.

 

Find Out More

More About Nasir Qadree

  • Nasir’s bio, as listed on educationpioneers.org
  • Nasir’s fundraiser focused on supporting the career aspirations of highly ambitious first generation college students by providing Mentorship, Leadership, Training, and Career Development

 

More About Village Capital

  • Website: http://www.vilcap.com/
  • Value proposition: “Village Capital finds, trains, and funds early-stage entrepreneurs solving major global problems. Their peer-selected investment model has supported more than 450 entrepreneurs in 9 countries. Program graduates have created over 7,000 jobs and raised more than $110 million in follow-on capital, and 94% of their portfolio alumni are still in business.”
  • Village Capital’s Visiona video