What category do you belong in?

Lately, I’ve been filling out a lot of sign ups that ask “what is your industry?” It’s a funny yet simple question. Usually the industry categories are something like: ‘Marketing’, ’Retail’, ‘Health Care’, ‘Financial Services’, ‘Non-profit’, etc. While I’m sure these make sense for 99% of people, I feel like I fall in the 1% that struggle not to put ‘Other’ down.

You may ask, “Brittany, why put ‘Other’ down? Couldn’t you put ‘Non-profit’? Well, first, thank you for asking. And second, the honest answer is no. The industry I can’t wait to see on that drop down list is ‘Social Enterprise’. Ahhh just the words make me think of strategic social impact delivered through a sustainable business model. Okay, I’ll stop with that…but keep reading…

Social Enterprises are businesses that are focused on making a profit AND making a positive difference. One of the easiest and best examples would be TOMS Shoes. Their business model is for every pair of TOMS shoes you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of shoes to a child in need. Simple, yet brilliant. They can make money and have an impact at the same time.

Another example is local here in Chicago. GiveForward is online fundraising for medical expenses and other key fundraisers. Again, the concept is simple. Give people the tools to easily ask friends and family for support when unexpected medical expenses occur. To date, folks have raised almost $4 million dollars to support their medical crisis through GiveForward’s site. And the founders, Desiree and Ethan, are pretty cool too. Keep it up guys!

So basically what I am saying is, industry categories and drop downs across the world, add ‘Social Enterprise’! I promise you won’t be sorry!

For good measure a few of my other favorite social enterprises:

Brittany Martin Graunke is the founder of Zealous Good, an in-kind donations marketplace in Chicago. You can find Brittany on Google+ or on Twitter at @ZealousBrittany. You can find Zealous Good on Facebook and Zealous Good on Twitter at @ZealousGood.

One Comment

  1. ethan austin said:

    We love TOMS Shoes too! Thanks for the kind words. We think you’re pretty cool too!

    March 25, 2011

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