Aspire is The Metropreneur’s annual celebration of all things related to social enterprises in Columbus and Central Ohio. Each year, we honor accomplishments with the Social Enterprise of the Year Awards, and the event includes guest speakers, presentations and networking.

Whether through donating profits, goods and services, or creating employment opportunities for underserved communities, social enterprises leverage their innovative business models to make an impact on the community. Now is your opportunity to show some love to those businesses that work tirelessly to tackle societal issues and create a better Central Ohio!

Celebrate social enterprises making an impact in Central Ohio and beyond at Aspire 2022. The eighth annual event will be held on Thursday, October 20 from 6 – 9 p.m. at COhatch Polaris, 1554 Polaris Pkwy Suite 325.

Network and connect with social enterprise founders and engaged community members from 6 – 7 p.m. Programming begins at 7 p.m. and will feature a keynote interview with Measurement Resources Founder & President Sheri Chaney Jones and and Executive Director Charly Bauer, moderated by The Metropreneur’s Susan Post.

Sheri Chaney Jones and Charly Bauer of Measurement Resources

2022 also marks the 10th year for the Social Enterprise of the Year Awards, presented in partnership with The Metropreneur and SocialVentures. For the past decade, the awards have recognized businesses that choose more than just profit, aligning themselves with missions that provide supportive employment, donate products or profits, and find other ways to give back and make an impact on the local community. The awards recognize the varying business models, stages and sizes of social enterprises operating in Central Ohio. Two honors will be awarded in 2022, including the Emerging Social Enterprise of the Year Award and the Social Enterprise of the Year Award. 

The Emerging Social Enterprise of the Year Award recognizes local for-profit businesses, independent nonprofits or businesses of an existing nonprofit with a socially-driven mission that are in the early stages of their business development or operations.

Finalists for this year’s award include:

  • Petals That Inspire
  • Rela
  • Service! – Cafe Overlook

The Social Enterprise of the Year Award recognizes social enterprises of any structure with a social mission and demonstrable impact that have also helped to give social enterprise a name as a way to do business in Central Ohio.

  • Deaf Initiatives, Inc. – Keepsake Theme Quilts
  • The Roosevelt Foundation, Coffeehouse & Roaster
  • Zora’s House

Additional details will be shared about this year’s six finalists in the coming days!

A panel of judges featuring past award winners and members of the business community will select the winners based on an application that evaluates the business’ mission and social impact, with the winners announced during the awards ceremony at Aspire 2022.

To honor 10 years of celebrating social enterprises, Aspire 2022 will also feature a look back at the success of some previous award winners that continue to make an impact.

Tickets for Aspire 2022 are $15 and include light bites from a local, food-based social enterprise. A cash bar will be available.

Aspire is made possible with support from SocialVentures.

Purchasing a ticket to Aspire 2022 not only supports local journalism and events like Aspire, but ticketing platform Humanitix donates 100% of the profits from its booking fees to fund education projects for the world’s most disadvantaged children.

For more information and to purchase your ticket for Aspire 2022, click here.

Meet the winners of the 2021 Social Enterprise of the Year Awards – What the Waffle and Franklinton Cycle Works – and learn more about Aspire here.