In a time when competition is high, social responsibility is a way for many companies to stand out and appeal to certain types of buyers. When Whole Foods founder John Mackey wrote a book with the same name, the idea of “Conscious Capitalism” became more well-known. You want to help people, but you don’t know where to start? Here are some ideas for social entrepreneurship and some tips on how to come up with your own idea:
Crowdfunding is a way for businesses to raise money for a good cause, usually for non-profits that care about fairness and helping people. Small businesses can start crowdfunding campaigns on their own, donate money after the fact, or join forces with other groups before starting a campaign.
- Baking for a good reason
The idea behind “baking for a cause” is pretty clear: it means selling baked goods to raise money for socially responsible causes.
This idea is not too hard to get into. You don’t have to be a good baker to do it; all you need to know is how to follow a recipe on the back of a box.
All you have to do is choose a cause, get in touch with an organization that can help, and start baking. Even if it doesn’t move mountains, it’s a fun way for young entrepreneurs to help others while having fun.
3. Goods that don’t cause wars or are traded fairly
Selling “conflict-free” or “fair-trade” goods is a much harder and more complicated business than the last one. At every step of the process, it helps to have a lot of business knowledge and connections to the right groups.
Still, all of that complexity usually has a much bigger effect than a lot of the other ideas on this list. If your business can make its product in an ethical and environmentally friendly way, you should at least think about trying this route.
- Travel for learning
Educational travel means getting hands-on experiences that help people learn more about the world and see things from different points of view. If you are a social entrepreneur, you should think about educational travel.
Understanding the different environmental, economic, and social situations in the countries that are important to your business lets you make real connections and set up your operations in an ethical way.
- Services for finding a job
Helping with employment services is a good way for people who want to be social entrepreneurs to give back. Helping people with their resumes, job training, mock interviews, or finding jobs is a great way to make a real difference in underprivileged or marginalized communities.
6. Making things for a good cause
Crafting for a cause is a lot like baking for a cause in that it involves doing creative do-it-yourself projects and selling the things you make.
It doesn’t take a lot of time or money, and it doesn’t have to be a huge effort. All you have to do is make unique crafts, sell them on websites like Etsy, and give the money you make to a charity of your choice.
- Small loans
Microlending is the practice of giving small loans to people or businesses that don’t have access to traditional lending sources. These people or businesses may not have the credit, background, or resources to get loans reliably.
This kind of social enterprise can bring about real systemic change by giving promising businesses and entrepreneurs the chance to grow their businesses, find their footing in their competitive markets, and eventually give back to the communities they come from.
- Housing that is sustainable and development
Sustainable housing and development depend on real estate developers who are able and willing to build eco-friendly buildings using environmentally friendly methods and materials.
This social entrepreneurship idea can have a bigger impact than most, but it’s also harder to do than almost all of the others on this list. You’ll probably need a strong industry footing, a lot of money, and a lot of experience to pull it off.
Still, if you work in housing or development, you should at least think about how to make your work more sustainable. You could do a lot of good by making this kind of commitment.
- Helping entrepreneurs in developing countries by giving them advice or money
Developing countries can make a lot of progress in their economies with the help of a good sales mentoring program. By working with aspiring entrepreneurs in parts of the world where they don’t have the resources and guidance they need to learn and grow, you can help them advance in their careers and be able to give back to their communities in the long run.
This idea for social entrepreneurship has a big impact because it improves both people’s lives and society as a whole.
- Projects in the classroom to promote diversity and inclusion
In the classroom, diversity and inclusion projects use materials that show all kinds of people. This helps students learn about people who are different from them. This is a socially responsible project because it helps people see each other for who they are and treat each other with respect.
- A Market where people work together
In order to avoid contributing to fast fashion, bad working conditions, or environmental issues, selling products made in a socially conscious and ethical way can be part of making a cooperative marketplace.
Even though this isn’t a complete list, you should think about the ideas above. If you don’t know what to choose, keep reading to learn how to choose the best business venture.
How to Choose an Idea for a Social Business
- Figure out what you love and what you’re interested in.
Do you think every child in the United States should have a pillow? On the weekends, do you help out at a food pantry? Are you involved with some local charities? Find out what you’re really interested in and move on to step two…
- Find the gaps in the existing market.
Once you know what you’re really interested in, you can figure out what products or services are missing and how you can fill them.
If the food pantry where you volunteer can’t give out fresh, donated fruits and vegetables before they go bad, think about how you could help underserved communities in your area get fresh produce more quickly and easily.
- Identify your key strengths and skills.
You might be a great writer or a great salesperson. Write down your skills and strengths and explain how they can help you reach your goal. This is also a great time to figure out where you need help, so you know who to call.
- Choose a way to run your business.
It’s not always the same thing to be a social entrepreneur as to start a nonprofit. Figure out if and how you’ll make money from your idea, and then come up with a good business model.
It’s important to know how your business will be set up, whether you want a cross-compensation model like TOMS and Warby Parker or full stewardship like Books to Prisoners.
Don’t worry if you still don’t know what to do. Starting a business is a long and difficult process, but you can get ideas from the many successful social entrepreneurs out there.
Social entrepreneurship isn’t going anywhere
Also, consumers are more likely than ever to trust brands that they think are going to do something. For example, customers are 80% more likely to trust a business that they think is trying to solve societal problems, especially when it comes to racial justice.
So, if you still want to start a social entrepreneurship business that helps people, now is the best time to do it. Make a plan right now to help make the world a better place.