Social Enterprises - What's The Deal?
More and more successful businesses are building their model on a relatively new idea -- that you don't have to choose between doing well and doing good. Social entrepreneurship means opening a business that is focused on doing something positive for a targeted group of people or cause, but also letting yourself be a successful venture in the mean time.
We've snagged a few examples of inspirational Australian social enterprises that are making a difference and making a profit.
Who Gives a Crap, Melbourne
Based in Melbourne, Victoria, Who Gives a Crap is a company that sells toilet paper (with a cheeky sense of humour on the side). Their products are all made from completely eco-friendly materials. The best part? 50% of the profits are donated to build toilets and sanitation infrastructure in the Global South. With nearly 40% of the world's population suffering from illness or death due to a lack of sanitation, Who Gives A Crap is trying to make a difference. Since 2013, they've donated almost $500,000 to help fund hygiene and sanitation projects.
Not a crappy idea.
Tsuno sanitary pads are made from bamboo and corn fibre, individually wrapped in biodegradable sleeves and packaged in recyclable cardboard boxes.
They're more than just a pad though - 50% of the net profits from Tsuno go toward helping educate young girls in Sierra Leone and Uganda through the charity One Girl, and they've also started an awesome feminine hygiene outreach program called Launch Pad
Read the full story here.
Definitely one of the bloody best ideas out there. Period.
One Night Stand, Melbourne
One Night Stand was born out of the founder, Jamie Green’s personal experience. His business failed and he ended up losing his living stability. After 12 months of couch surfing and rough sleeping, Green managed to turn his life around and made it his mission to help other people who were facing hard times.
One Night Stand is a sleepwear label that supports young people sleeping rough. His initial investment came from him standing inside a perspex box for 24 hours on a Melbourne laneway, allowing him to secure $27,000 in pre-orders. His label has grown and has recently formed a partnership with General Pants Co. for distribution.
One Night Stand supports young rough sleepers in two ways: first by providing a meal with every purchase through OzHarvest; and second by donating 50% of the profits toward projects that offer sheltar and employment for homeless youth.
One Night Stand has definitely earned a good nights' sleep.
Twoobs Shoes was started last year by sisters and besties, Jess and Stef Dadon, who were not content to learn that only 25% of startups are founded by women (and that number goes down when you get into women CEOs of Fortune 500 companies).
They started a shoe company that has a well-made product -- and $2 from every sale goes toward helping fund startups run by other #ladybosses. Lack of female representation in positions of power is what makes it harder to do things like close the pay gap and make political decisions that are good for everyone. Jess and Stef are taking a stab at the problem by supporting other women in getting to the top.
The two also travel around and blog as creatives and designers, with plenty of good stuff to read on their website, How Two Live.
Their business definitely has some sole.
Since 2013, Thankyou has been producing natural skincare and beauty products -- but it doesn't stop there. 100% of their profits go to funding water, sanitation and hygiene programs in low-income countries such as safe toilets, wells, rainwater capture systems, filtration and hygiene education.
As of February 2017, their funding has reached almost 550,000 individuals.
Find out more about why they do what they do here.
Starting A Business Is A Big Deal
And there are many different business models to look at. Social enterprise is a way to follow your passion, help support a cause in a meaningful and sustainable way, and be a successful entrepreneur at the same time.
If you're starting a business that sells online, Elkfox is here to help. We're Shopify Experts and can help you develop your online store into something impactful. Get in touch today to learn more.