Social Enterprise, Social Change

A couple weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend The Columbus Foundation Social Enterprise Workshop on Selling for the Small Business Owner representing Ohio Wildlife Center. Ohio Wildlife Center has a social enterprise branch called SCRAM! Wildlife Control. SCRAM! is a humane approach to human-animal conflict, an alternative to a traditional exterminator. If you notice a lack of goose poop on the Scioto Mile, thank the SCRAM! dogs, Quik and Blaze pictured below!

This week our learning session at The Columbus Foundation featured Claire Coder from Aunt Flow, a Columbus startup social enterprise. Claire discussed the challenges that come with the balance of business best practices and social responsibility.

SCRAM_03

Social enterprise is a fascinating intersection of entrepreneurship and social justice. Often there’s a stigma of greed, selfishness and exploitation associated with the private sector. While obviously that is a harsh and often untrue generalization, many of us struggle with the crux of entrepreneurial creativity and our passion for actively helping others. Wikipedia defines social enterprise as “an organization that applies commercial strategies to maximize improvements in human and environmental well-being—this may include maximizing social impact alongside profits for external shareholders.”

It’s no secret that small business management is not easy. The limited supply of resources and capital is similar to that of a small nonprofit with the increased pressure of a bottom line. Once again, I found myself surrounded by people excited by making change, encouraged by improving the world around them. The interesting aspect of this Summer Fellowship focused on nonprofits is I’m also learning more about the realm of social impact outside of the scope of nonprofits. All of these passionate people are working together, colluding to solve the issues. Columbus is cooperation is change. I am falling in love with this city and the energy of improvement.

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