Entrepreneurship with a Heart: Social Innovation – A rewarding way of doing business while bettering society along the way
Is it possible to create a successful and satisfying career by listening to one’s heart and letting go of the security of a steady pay check or the traditional corporate way of doing business? Absolutely! Globally, inspiring projects are springing up, developed by passionate visionaries with a common goal: save the world.
With a burning drive to improve the lives of people, the environment or the animals that dwell upon it, leading entrepreneurs are looking within for inspiration and as a result, creating great wonders.
There are many definitions for social innovation, but what’s in common is extraordinary people with big ideas doing what they can to impact all of our lives in a positive way. Payment is not in terms of money, but in terms of lasting positive impact in society. The larger the magnitude of the reach, the better.
<span style=”color: #444444;”>It’s no longer business as usual. We are entering a new world order. More and more of us are tuning into our life calling as a way of giving back — and low and behold, there just might be money to be made there. Social innovation leaders and teams are committed to working hard for companies that support causes that are close to employees’ hearts. Consumers as well, increasingly will support companies who they believe are doing what is socially responsible.</span>
Venture Deli Management Services (VDMS), is a firm that builds and capitalizes ventures with positive impact in the world. “Venture Deli’s mission is to turn early-stage social businesses into industry-leading companies that set the bar higher for social & environmental impact,” said co-founder and partner at Venture Deli, Karim Harji. “Social businesses are assisted with business development, marketing and growth financing.” Mr. Harji spreads the message of social innovation further by teaching social entrepreneurship at the University of Toronto and University of Waterloo. He is also a regular blogger at socialfinance.ca, the leading blog on social finance and impact investing in Canada.
Similar to VDMS, Rishi Gerald, President of Rishi Vision, has built an entire company dedicated to coaching entrepreneurs build successful businesses. Award winning and recognized for his results, Rishi’s mission is to help construct socially conscious businesses.
“As a business coach and entrepreneur one important formula for success is listening to the heart and the brain equally. It is important to know your truest joyful purpose. I believe that we are born with purpose: some of us are meant to create, some are meant to dance, some are meant to sing, some write, others build,” Mr. Gerald said. He continued by commenting that it is important for everyone to know their truest joyful purpose. “We are each inherently unique beings and if we match this natural ability with the skills we are taught, we are naturally poised for success!” He added that his number one goal is to build businesses that create and give above and beyond taking.
Some businesses give back by creating a company model that not only supports, but develops social expansion.
ZOË (a Greek word for abundant and flourishing life) Alliance is an inspiring example of a business designed to expand the societies that need it most. The entire goal of the company is to use something people need anyway – promotional items, gifts, etc., as a means of transforming impoverished villages. Founder and CEO, Angela Draskovic, says …”The people I work with are no different than you or I. They want to have dignity in their work, to provide for their families and to invest in their communities. They truly have no desire to depend on charity for their livelihoods. The only difference between us is where they happened to be born. Our model not only solves a perennial problem for gift givers by offering a memorable and meaningful gift, it creates employment with dignity for people with little or no other opportunities.”
Janet Fry, a life coach dedicated to helping women move forward, left a flourishing corporate career to follow her dream of giving back. When offered a voluntary buyout package over a year ago, Ms. Fry said she asked herself a pivotal question: “Could I say, when I retire, that I made good career choices and was proud that I made a difference with the work I did?” The answer was a resounding “no” which led Ms. Fry to a heart fulfilling career as a coach, specifically for helping women going through the painful transition of divorce. “It aligns with my values of compassion and making a difference, giving me the opportunity to work with women going through such a difficult time. I serve them by helping them stop dwelling in the past and move forward with confidence, hope and vision towards the life they desire. It is incredibly rewarding to make such a positive impact during such a critical time!”
Other businesses are socially innovative by how they choose to give back to society. A prime example is Robert Arnott, Creative Director for R Design Creative, who for years has been helping the Oshawa Hospital Foundation through gift in kind service offers of marketing and branding. “As a business owner, it’s important to pick a cause that is close to your heart,” Mr. Arnott said. “Working towards something you believe in is extremely motivating. It drives me to work harder and be more creative in order to achieve the marketing impact I know will help raise awareness and funds for such a remarkable organization.”</span>
Working from the head can yield great results, but as we can see from the compassionate and passionate entrepreneurs above, working from the heart can yield wonders.