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Social entrepreneurs: a new force for good

Future-thinking businesses are coming up with innovative new models to support causes and embed “doing good” in their company’s DNA.

john HeadshotsTRY sq John Berry 3 minute read

Moving on from the 1980s “greed is good” mantra, many realise business is about more than just short-term profit. A business has to consider staff, suppliers, the natural environment and its own long-term viability. Businesses should also support communities they’re part of.

It’s not just about “doing the right thing”, enhancing brand and customer loyalty is good business.

Giving a percentage of profits or (even better) a percentage of revenue to support charities and causes is awesome, but there are businesses that go even further. Future-thinking businesses are coming up with innovative new models to support causes and embed “doing good” in their company’s DNA.

We should applaud the entrepreneurs who want to use business as a force for good. They think innovatively, work passionately and want to make our world a better place.

A great example is The Good Registry, which is on a mission to simplify giving and reduce waste. Founder Christine Langdon’s idea was that rather than giving unwanted gifts for Christmas or birthdays we should have the opportunity to give to charity instead.

The recipient of a Good Registry voucher donates the gifted amount to their choice of 65 charities; they have donated $650,000 so far. Many businesses have started using The Good Registry as an alternative to giving wine or other client gifts this Christmas.

Next up is Supergenerous and its innovative approach to giving. Founder Guillaume Dehan noticed that worldwide, billions of dollars of tax rebates on donations aren’t claimed back. Supergenerous reclaims the tax rebate on donations for you, which you can then re-gift to charity. And it works – it is already processing close to $2 million of donation tax claims.

This year has seen the launch of innovative online marketplaces growing social generosity. The Good Sell set up by Scott Bell and Joe Youssef allows the seller to give 25 per cent, 50 per cent, 75 per cent or 100 per cent of sale proceeds to charity. Chooza, founded by Stephen Moon, donates sale proceeds to a charity selected by the buyer or seller, with a full donation receipt for the seller.

Other purposeful businesses work with retailers. For example CommUnity, founded by John Parker, has signed up cafes, retailers and online businesses who give a percentage of purchases from CommUnity members to charities. RewardHubset up by Mike Fuyala, provides donations to charities for online purchases offered by a surprisingly large number of retailers including Countdown and Specsavers.

Some businesses make it simple to “pay it forward” such as Kete Kai, founded by Lisa Booth. Their “Give a Christmas Dinner” allows individuals and corporates to “pay it forward” to families selected by partners working in a community. Kete Kai is more than a meal-kit company; their giving and drive to end hunger in Aotearoa New Zealand by 2030 are front and centre.

A similar “pay it forward” approach by software business GoGenerosity makes “daily generosity” possible. Founded by Rohan McCloskey and Aidan Lett, customers of supporting businesses can fund goods and services to those in need. Food, clothing, haircuts or fuel – it can be anything that helps people survive and thrive.

These are businesses aiming to cover costs and be financially sustainable through administration fees, subscriptions or advertising.

If being a social entrepreneur is a path you want to go down, you’ll see three key ingredients behind these ventures – passionate leadership, clear purpose and smart use of technology.

They’re led by a new breed of social entrepreneur who can see innovative in often unconventional ways of doing things. They are driven to create a business with purpose to support the work of charities. They are smart around their use of technology to leverage and scale the opportunity.

There should be no more “greed is good”. Instead, we need to be spreading the new mantra of “business as a force for good”.

-John Berry is chief executive of ethical fund manager and KiwiSaver provider Pathfinder Asset Management, which is part of Alvarium Wealth. Pathfinder donates 20 per cent of its KiwiSaver management fee to 18 charities.

(This article was originally published by Stuff November 18, 2021) (Picture Source: Katt Yukawa)

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