Talk Series: Social Entrepreneurship Stories from the U.S.
It is a no-brainer to claim that worldwide businesses can tremendously impact social and environmental issues. The ones who care about our planet and its people are infuriated when hearing news about negligent companies adding even more problems, whether it’s oil spills in the ocean, fast fashion, underpaid workers, or others. If only someone with the right attitude towards creating a socially responsible business could step into the game… Well, we have good news for you: it’s already happening!
Active Youth, with the collaboration with the U.S. Embassy in Vilnius, has implemented talk series on social entrepreneurship stories from the U.S. 5 events took place, with inspiring speakers from the U.S. sharing their success stories on establishing or supporting socially responsible enterprises.
The mission was to strengthen ties between the United States and Lithuania, highlight our shared values, and promote bilateral cooperation to pursue our common goals. All activities included an American cultural element or connections with American experts, organizations, or institutions that promote an increased understanding of U.S. policy and perspectives.
CROWDFUNDING AS A TOOL FOR SUPPORTING SOCIAL CHANGES
What is the cornerstone between having an idea and making it happen in business? Very frequently – funding. Patronicity, a civic and community crowdfunding platform built to inspire growth and change in placemaking throughout cities and towns, both urban and rural, helps open the door for people willing to do good.
Starting now!👇 Let's hear and discuss social entrepreneurship stories from the US🇺🇸
Posted by Active Youth Projects on Reede, 26. märts 2021
One of the projects that kicked off on “Patronicity” implemented collecting spare tires in one district of Detroit. As an additional gain, apart from recycling vast amounts of waste, the collected tires were put into children’s playgrounds, where they served a new purpose of being part of children’s games.
What the founders of “Patrionicity” have discovered during the process is that people are more inclined to financially support projects within their neighborhood and the local community. The matters close to your heart are seen as a worthy investment, especially when you can directly see the results.
When we talk about disputes relating to fast fashion and sustainability, we typically think of materials clothes are made from. Well, time for revelation; they haven’t really changed much over the years! It’s the times we wear our clothes that have decreased dramatically while the culture of consumerism grew exponentially. We buy more and more. Therefore, it is a crucial choice both retailers and us, buyers, can make – to go for materials that will fall apart in less than a few years or for long-lasting ones?
A clothing company headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa – RAYGUN, without any doubt, went for the second option. Who would have thought a retail store could be one of the most excellent examples of social enterprise? After listening to the Founder of RAYGUN – Mike Draper, this no longer comes as a surprise. The approach he is using while building his company is admirable.
So, what policies have been implemented in RAYGUN? Their rule number one – do not add to the problem, do what is in your control to ensure environmental sustainability. Everything they use is biodegradable: from shipping envelopes to paper bags at the store. Likewise, they are conscious about fossil fuels consumption used for traveling and opt not to use air shipping. Even better, 15–30 % of their net profits go to various organizations they support, prioritizing environmental, social justice organizations and public education. Pretty cool, right?
Mike says: “You can never eliminate the marketplace, as long as there were humans, there has been an exchange of goods and services, but what you can do is create a marketplace that encourages people to make correct decisions!”
Is it possible to make money & do good at the same time? Join us👇
Posted by Active Youth Projects on Neljapäev, 1. aprill 2021
Did you know that 1 out of 3 girls say that they are afraid to be a leader because they don’t want to be thought of as “bossy”? That 47 % of girls believe most girls their age are embarrassed to be smart? These and other gloomy statistics about young girls in the U.S. were found in L. Hinkelmans’ survey “The Girls’ Index” (2017)*.
The same research found that confidence was the top answer when girls were asked what they needed to succeed. Boosting young girls’ confidence is one of the Female Strong critical elements that this non-profit organization, committed to equipping young women with the skills they need early in life and empowering them to realize their full potential, focuses on.
Is it possible to make money & do good at the same time?
🇺🇸 Let’s hear answers to this question from the leading social entrepreneurs in the US.
The talk series cover what social enterprise is, why it matters & how to kick-start your social business idea💡. It’s a chance to hear social entrepreneurship stories from the leading voices in the field.
How have they started their own social enterprises?
What struggles have they faced?
What have they learned during their journey?
This time we will focus on the topic of empowering young women with the skills they need in the workplace today.
✅ Register yourself here: https://bit.ly/3DPXNhG
🗣 Get to know the speaker:
Lindsey Travers works as a Program Manager to grow and support the many programmatic elements and activities hosted by Female Strong each year to help empower girls to step into business and life with confidence and see what they can be.
She has an extensive background in event and volunteer management, marketing, and non-profit organization operations. Her passion is culture, and she strives to support, encourage, and collaborate with people from diverse backgrounds.
A native to the Midwest, Lindsey earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana and a non-profit management professional certificate from University of Illinois at Chicago.
She lived in Tallinn, Estonia for two years where she taught English and worked for the American Chamber of Commerce where she cooperated with university faculty, local citizens, and international diplomats while developing mutually beneficial economic relations between Europe and the U.S.
👉 About the topic: https://femalestrong.org/our-mission/
🤝 Funded: by The U.S. Embassy in Vilnius
Posted by Active Youth Projects on Reede, 17. detsember 2021
Female Strong offers programs exclusively for girls, one of them YEA! (Young Entrepreneurs Academy) teaches students how to come up with business ideas, develop and market them. The program has several unique features, firstly, the ‘CEO Roundtable’ during which successful businesswomen share their experience with young girls. Have a business idea already? Female Strong will set up an ‘Investors panel’ during which girls can practice pitching their ideas, and the winning idea actually gets real investments!
“They come in so shy”, – says Lindsey Travers, the project manager from “Female Strong”, – “and then we get to watch them grow and blossom, boost their confidence, and get inspired.” Seeing the impact they’re making and receiving positive feedback keeps the organization going.
A HOME FOR SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURS
With a mission to educate, accelerate, and invest in social entrepreneurs, SEED SPOT has served over 2,500 entrepreneurs since 2012, 77 % of whom have traditionally underrepresented backgrounds. The non-profit organization constantly launches new programs for entrepreneurs to develop their ideas or grow already existing businesses.
“We want to be like a runway for planes to help them take off, but also not to leave them alone when they’re already in the air!”, – this is how Lauren McDanell, Vice President of Strategy & Growth at SEED SPOT, describes supporting entrepreneurs that come to SEED SPOT, adding that even after ideas grow into businesses, entrepreneurs can always count on them when facing challenges.
🪐 Lauren McDanell, Vice President of Strategy & Growth at SEED SPOT, has deep respect and gratitude for the impact-driven entrepreneurs who take community problems head on with their innovative products, services, and technologies. Lauren leverages her experience supporting hundreds of early-stage startups (from Minnesota to Madagascar!) to set strategic vision for SEED SPOT and build the internal architecture of resources, partnerships, and world class support systems. Her fun, upbeat training style encourages experimentation, collaboration, and purposeful action that drives measurable results.
🪐 About SEED SPOT: With a mission to educate, accelerate, and invest in social entrepreneurs, SEED SPOT supports entrepreneurs building products, services, and technologies that improve lives or communities. SEED SPOT has served over 2,500 entrepreneurs since 2012, 77% of whom come from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds. These ventures have raised $92M in capital, generated $263M in revenue, and created 4,235 new jobs to positively impact our world: https://seedspot.org
👉 Short registration: https://bit.ly/3EUiolv
🤝 Funded by The U.S. Embassy in Vilnius
Posted by Active Youth Projects on Kolmapäev, 12. jaanuar 2022
Many people who come to SEED SPOT get business ideas from their daily life. Often they come across something that they feel could be done better. For example, one Seed Spot alumni, who worked as a nurse all her life, said there is part of a syringe that they always throw away, but there is no reason to do so because that part never touches the patient. For that reason, she wanted to invent a new syringe that could be less wasteful because a part of it would be saved. Let’s be honest, no one would ever know that, except for a nurse who does that every day. And while most people would just accept it and move on, it is the entrepreneurs that will take responsibility to share the idea and try to solve it.
And yet, how do we actually measure the social impact? For one thing, SEED SPOT annually sends out a survey to their alumni, which reveals the achievements made by the alumni after finishing SEED SPOT programs. According to the latest survey, with 228 respondents, 65% said they positively impacted someone, 57% served a customer, and 41% registered a new business.
Moreover, SEED SPOT has decided to implement the 17 official United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to measure and make sure that entrepreneurs they support have the right goals. Seed Spot has grouped 17 sustainable development goals into 5 categories: equality and economic opportunity (43% of alumni worked towards these goals), environmental sustainability (7%), education (12%), civic engagement (14%), health and wellness (23%). In this way, when an entrepreneur comes up with an idea, they are instantly asked, which one of the sustainable goals will your business touch upon? It turns out frequently people didn’t even know about such goals existing! SEED SPOT does a beautiful job helping entrepreneurs see how their business can have a positive social impact.
VIRAL CARPET REPAIR AND TIK TOK
The E.P.A. (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) estimates that about 5 billion pounds of carpeting go into landfills every year. That is 1 to 2 percent of the total U.S. landfill contribution. And there we have it, another major pollution problem getting swept under the rug (no pun intended). Yeah, yeah, we get it, we should recycle old carpets… We have a better suggestion. How about we bring them back to life once more!
A carpet superhero Josh Noland uses the skillset he got from working with his father installing carpets to prolong the lives of damaged carpets, whether it is pet damage, burns, bleach spots, permanent stains, re-stretching ripples, or loose carpet.
Even though the company is called “Carpet Repair Guys”, in his job, Josh wears all the different hats: he is a technician, entrepreneur, marketer, and, prepare for a surprise – a professional TikToker!
From the moment Josh’s carpet repair videos went viral as one of the oddly satisfying videos, the channel has been gaining followers. Today The Carpet Repair Guys are followed by 787,400 people and have 20,7 million likes on TikTok.
🪐 The way Josh Noland, Founder of Carpet Repair Guys, turned the communication of his services on social media was called a true TikTok phenomenon: 787,400 followers and 20,7 million likes. His oddly satisfying carpet videos reach hundreds of thousands of views each. How did he do that? What role does social media play in developing your business? Join us and get all answers!
👀 The Carpet Repair Guys is a mobile service company that specializes in top-quality carpet repair including sectioning pet damage, burns, bleach spots, and permanent stains as well as re-stretching ripples and loose carpet.
Started in 2003 and incorporated in 2014, CRG’s purpose is helping people save their carpets when replacing is either unnecessary or too expensive.
CRG is licensed, bonded, and insured by the state of California.
👉 Short registration: https://bit.ly/3GlCFSj
Funded by The U.S. Embassy in Vilnius
Posted by Active Youth Projects on Esmaspäev, 17. jaanuar 2022
Josh reveals that when he first got the business idea and started Googling “carpet repair,” the search engine only found services to install or clean carpets. Imagine how much awareness about carpets having multiple lives has been raised since the enterprise’s founding in 2003, especially now, with millions of views online!
Sometimes we instinctively judge profitable companies as if they are automatically destroying our planet. Profit does not always have to be wrong. Money can be earned by doing the right thing. And if it is making the planet and humanity a better place, so be it!
*Source: Hinkelman, L., “The Girls’ Index: New insights into the complex world of today’s girls” Columbus, OH: Ruling Our eXperiences, Inc., 2017