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Start Your Business Entrepreneurs

The Business of Good: For the Socially Minded Entrepreneur


Socially responsible business practices, including organic, fair trade, giving back and going green, are becoming the norm for for-profit, as well as nonprofit, businesses. We’re committed to covering this side of small business with our weekly wrap-up of news affecting businesses that have embraced this socially responsible model, combining a for-profit business with nonprofit sensibilities.

Changing the world
This month, Inc. Magazine pays homage to the social entrepreneur with an in-depth report detailing businesses being built around a social mission.  The spread includes profiles of some industry leaders, like Fred Keller, CEO and founder of a Michigan plastics manufacturer, as well as step-by-step guides to the various types of socially responsible businesses.

A little something extra
Socially conscious businesses looking to attract and retain top employees need to do more than just spread a positive message. A BusinessNewsDaily report this week details the results of a Harvard Business Review study that says comprehensive benefits package and other ways of offering employee fulfillment are the most important factors when attracting and keeping hold of the best workers.

Degree in good
For the first time in the school’s history, students at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., will graduate this month with a degree in social entrepreneurship. This week, Voice of America’s Mike Osbourne looked at the Belmont program and why universities across the country are quickly adding degrees with a socially responsible flair to their offerings.

It’s in the mail
Like nearly everyone, socially responsible business owners are being hit hard by increased shipping costs. BusinesNewsDaily provided some helpful tips this week to owners looking to cut down on this expense , including grouping shipments by neighborhood or area to get a bulk mail discount.

Not so important in Canada, eh?
While there appears to be a renewed interest by American companies in taking a socially responsible business approach, the same cannot be said for their Canadian counterparts. Joan Delaney of the Epoch Times reports that the majority of Canadian private companies have placed corporate social responsibility low on their priority list, with nearly 50 percent not having a corporate social responsibility plan in place.

How to get started
Companies looking to get into the business of good will have an opportunity to learn more about cause marketing, which encourages partnerships between small businesses and nonprofit organizations to help increase both visibility and a return on investment, during an upcoming webinar this month . BusinessNewsDaily reports that the entrepreneur-focused website Ventureneer is hosting an online presentation on May 18 to help both nonprofit leaders and small-business owners decide what kind of partner best suits their organization and how to make sure the partnership works for everyone.

Staying happy
Employees in jobs in the charity and volunteer sector are more satisfied than those in any other field in the U.K., according to a new survey.  Released this week by the online job site reed.co.uk, the study reported that 67 percent of charity workers said they were happy with their work situation, compared to the 51 percent national average.

We hear about a lot of new socially responsible businesses each week.  Here are this week’s favorites:

MoralEyes: A Brooklyn-based wholesaler and retailer of modern reading glasses and accessories. The company donates one pair of reading glasses to New Eyes for the Needy, a company dedicated to providing glasses for kids in need worldwide,  for every pair of glasses sold.
On Twitter @JoeSacks

Practically Green: An online service helping busy people make healthy, practical, green-living decisions for themselves and their families. Launched last July, the business was honored with the William James Foundation’s eighth annual social responsibility plan competition.
On Twitter @practicallygrn

Blue State Coffee: A New England-based coffee chain that donates 2 percent of its sales to local nonprofit organizations chosen by its customers. Since its inception in 2006, Blue State’s five stores have donated more than $250,000 to nonprofit organizations.
On Twitter @bluestatecoffee

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance writer who has nearly 15 years experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.