Monday, November 7, 2011

Models of Social Entrepreneurship in Ohio

All good things deserve some good publicity, right? Whenever you listen to spectacular concert or watch an Oscar winning movie, you can't help not to open your mouth and spread the word. And they deserve it, good things need good publicity to be heard and known. And this is what I'm doing with some social business or entrepreneurship here in Columbus, OH.

Try to google "social business in Columbus" and you will get a sparse result. Not enough publicity is given to all these great and noble businesses which put social benefits on top of profit, which value employee's welfare more than the company's reputation. So, this post is a short summary of some social businesses or social entrepreneurship that operate in Ohio, and some of the impacts that they have made in their community.

1. Passion works (Athens, OH)
This is a collaboration effort between artist with and without developmental abilities. They truly believe that every humans have the ability to create somethings valuable and people with disabilities are no exception. With this collaboration, they are able to create a beautiful piece of art, and even one of their artwork, Passion Flower, has become the official flower of Athens. I have the privilege to visit Passion Works last year and here is the link.

2. Freshbox Catering (Columbus, OH)
The tagline explains it all, "Feed your appetite, nourish your community". They are committed to provide a healthy great lunch, and to empower the community by its employment system. The workers that Freshbox hires are mainly homeless people who they hold to an extraordinary standard. The tiered level employment system is developed to filter the uncommitted and unwilling thus only allowing those who are motivated enough to go through the three training stages.

3. Pearl Interactive Network (Columbus, OH)
Often disabled veterans, military spouses and people with disabilities are workforce that are being overlooked for their potentials or even worse, being discriminated against. Luckily, Pearl Interactive Network see their potentials and based its business system on tapping into this unique workforce. Some of them are hired as home-based sales person, or customer service representative, or even as market researcher.

4. Eartha Limited (Columbus, OH)
One of the hallmarks of Eartha limited is its emphasis on eco friendly product or service. They help businesses to achieve sustainability by implementing waste control methods. For example, installing energy efficient lighting, recycling all aluminum or plastic bottles or cardboard from a restaurant, even to introducing a beer on tap system to eliminate bottle waste. Some creatives initiatives are also introduced, like converting football food waste into compost for garden, or gallons of used vegetable oil for bio-diesel. In addition to that, they also produce green products like cutlery, plates, to-go box from plant materials (corn, palm leaves, etc).

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