By Allen Proctor
Social entrepreneurs are the new generation of change agents in Columbus because they combine social impact with strong business sense. In 2015 we could count only 18 of them but now they number over 100. These are the entrepreneurs who last year created 253 new jobs for people who have been excluded from the mainstream economy. In all they accounted for over 2,398 jobs, $49 million in payroll, and $73 million in sales. SocialVentures is the organization in Columbus that works every day to empower these mission-driven businesses. Why? Because I believe they are the most significant force our city has to eliminate the social and economic divide that persists in Columbus.
Earlier this year SocialVentures co-hosted Philanthropitch from Austin, Texas to highlight to the public seven of these change agents. On August 6, 2019 SocialVentures’ annual community celebration, Positioned to Prosper, will highlight a dozen that have led the growth in this sector over the last five years. These leaders are transforming the lives of the formerly incarcerated, those recovering from substance abuse, survivors of human trafficking. They are bringing access to healthcare to the LBGTQ community and the minority population of King Lincoln. They are creating employment for veterans and the disabled. They are helping youth to thrive, the homeless to have homes, and the hungry to be fed. They are connecting companies to volunteer opportunities that make a difference. Many people know of Joe DeLoss of Hot Chicken Takeover or John Rush of Cleanturn. They should also get to know Amber Runyon, Kenny Sipes, Matt Goldstein, Merry Korn, Julie Smith, Lisa Hinkelman and the 94 other local social entrepreneurs that are making a difference. See them all in SocialVentures’ online Marketplace.
Social enterprise helps us all to do good by creating social impact from what we do every day: buying goods and services. Buy your coffee, your lunch, your muffins, your candles, and your t-shirts from a social enterprise. Get your apartment cleaned and painted or your yard mowed by a social enterprise. Get your company to buy from a social enterprise. Don’t know how? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will help you to make a difference.
Recognizing a need for a network dedicated to existing and emerging social entrepreneurs, Allen Proctor founded SocialVentures (formerly the Center for Social Enterprise Development and the Community Investment Network in Central Ohio) in 2014. Since that time, more than 100 local social enterprises, more than 380 individuals have been identified and supported through custom consultation, networking and learning opportunities, and more than 5,300 individuals have benefited from SocialVentures’ speaking, blog and social media outreach.