NASHVILLE, Tenn., Jan. 29 /CSRwire/ - As nonprofits struggle to stay afloat and businesses search for how to appeal to socially-conscious consumers, the social enterprise movement is growing. From a handcrafted jewelry company that employs impoverished women to a financial services business that views money as a way to strengthen the bonds of community, the primary purpose of these companies is the common good. They use the methods of business and the power of the marketplace to advance their social, environmental and human justice agendas.
“Social enterprise is the missing middle sector between the traditional worlds of government, nonprofits and business,” said Kevin Lynch, President and CEO of Social Enterprise Alliance. “As social needs continue to spike, this new way of doing businesses is emerging as a self-sustaining, market-based method of meeting social needs.”
SEA’s 14th Summit, to be held in Music City, will feature four days of panels, two dozen training sessions and more than 60 speakers including:
- Dr. Victoria Hale is Founder of Medicines 360 and Founder & Chair Emeritus of One World Health, the first nonprofit pharmaceutical company in the US. Her passion is the development of important new medicines for all of humanity, with the specific goal to reduce health inequities. Under Dr. Hale’s leadership, One World Health developed a new cure for visceral leishmaniasis, launched a novel approach to treat dehydrating diarrhea and developed a platform technology to reduce the cost of malaria drugs by more than 10-fold. Recent honors include: membership in the Institute of Medicine of the US National Academies (2007); MacArthur “Genius” Award (2006); and the President’s Award of Distinction from the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists.
- Seth Goldman is President and “TeaEO” of Honest Tea, the company he co-founded in 1998 with Professor Barry Nalebuff of the Yale School of Management. In March 2011, HONEST Tea was acquired by The Coca-Cola Company, helping to further the reach and impact of HONEST Tea's mission by becoming the first organic and Fair Trade brand in the world's largest beverage distribution system. Since Seth started HONEST Tea in his kitchen, the company has initiated community-based partnerships with suppliers in India, China and South Africa, and has created marketing partnerships with the Arbor Day Foundation, City Year and RecycleBank.
- Building an Economy on Love – Featuring Becca Stevens, an Episcopal priest and founder of Thistle Farms, which employs women who have survived prostitution, trafficking and addiction. She was named by the White House as one of 15 Champions of Change for violence against women in 2011. She will be joined by Tolulope Ilesanmi, a Nigerian immigrant to Montreal who started Zenith Cleaners as a spiritual practice. “Cleaning is the process of removing dirt from any space, surface, object or subject thereby exposing beauty, potential, truth and sacredness,” he says.
- Lessons From Across the Pond – Featuring Peter Holbrook, CEO of the Social Enterprise Coalition, the UK’s national body for social enterprise; and Gerry Higgins Chief Executive Officer of Community Enterprise in Scotland. The social enterprise economy is much more advanced in the UK than the US. They will offer observations and lessons on what the US can do to advance more quickly.
- Tours of Local Social Enterprises – Conference attendees will have the opportunity to tour Nashville’s own social enterprises, including: Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee, the poverty-alleviation group Soles4Souls, Thistle Farms and FashionABLE, which works with women to help them start small business cooperatives and requires manufacturers to employ women with fair wages & fair hiring practices.
- Business for Good Competition – Teams or solo social entrepreneurs from across the U.S. can apply to pitch their idea at the upcoming Summit 14 in front of leading entrepreneurs, funders, policy makers and educators. Over $50,000 in prizes will be awarded, including seed funding, incubation space, website/branding services, legal and technical assistance, and admission to Nashville's Entrepreneur Center social enterprise accelerator program. The contest application, rules and additional information are posted here. Applications are due by February 21, 2014.
There will also be intensives on: Jobs and work force development, Recycling and Deconstruction, Alternative Staffing and Faith-Based Social Enterprises. Plus a marketplace with over 50 social enterprises from around the globe displaying their wares.
ATTENTION REPORTERS: Press passes are available for the upcoming SEA summit in Nashville. Please contact Shayna Samuels at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
SOCIAL ENTERPRISE ALLIANCE (SEA) is the champion for social enterprise in the United States. Our aim is for social enterprise to reach its full potential as a force for positive social change, in service to the common good. To achieve this purpose, we provide social enterprises with the tools and resources they need to succeed, and work on building an optimal environment in which they can thrive.