Check out any Facebook or Twitter feed in this new work-from-home era, and you’ll see all kinds of new groups dedicated to helping and supporting local small businesses. Everyone seems to be worried—but most want to turn that worry into something productive, something good. People want to help.
Enter SocialVentures. The nearly six-year-old nonprofit, whose mission is to champion social enterprise in Central Ohio, launched a Social Impact Box this week to support four social enterprises who have been hard hit by the restrictions in Ohio on movement and the operation of non-essential businesses.
“We’ve been in regular communication with many of our 98 social enterprise partners since this business and employment crisis began about two weeks ago,” said Allen Proctor, SocialVentures president and CEO. “And no matter how well-prepared and well-capitalized you are, no matter how much of a rainy day fund you’ve set aside, it’s extremely difficult for a small business to operate in an environment where revenue just stops entirely.”
And that’s where the Impact Box—or boxes—come in. The product is designed to help four Central Ohio small businesses, which all operate as social enterprises: Roosevelt Coffeehouse and Coffee Roasters, Eleventh Candle Co., Double Comfort Foods, and Growlers Dog Bones.
Three of the four small businesses—Roosevelt, Eleventh Candle, and Growlers—have either had to close their brick-and-mortar locations or have had their distribution channels dramatically reduced or eliminated.
According to Proctor, both Roosevelt locations, including its coffeehouse on Long Street Downtown and its recently-opened location at Gravity in Franklinton, are currently closed and Owner Kenny Sipes has temporarily laid off all his employees.
Eleventh Candle and Growlers find themselves in similar predicaments. Eleventh Candle sells its products in coffee shops, at Polaris Fashion Place, and other businesses in the area, but most are currently shuttered. Growlers finds itself in the same proverbial boat. Growlers’ product is made, in part, with the wheat from area breweries, and those same breweries—now closed—serve as distributors for the product. Both social enterprises employ particularly vulnerable employees—with Eleventh Candle employing human-trafficking survivors and Growlers employing individuals with disabilities, particularly those on the autism spectrum.
Double Comfort’s hot sauces sell for about $8 a bottle, and 100% of the profits are donated to a Central Ohio food bank, which is a high-need area, given rapidly growing unemployment.
“This is something we’ve been working on for a while,” said Proctor. “We actually tested this concept at Christmas and had plans to roll out the boxes later this year, but the economic uncertainty and the negative impact on so many of our partners prompted us to speed up the process and do something to try to help.”
Proctor understands there’s a lot of companies in need right now—and many employees who are out of work. Still, he says a box purchase has an impact that’s both deep and wide.
“Social enterprises are really the best of us,” he said. “They’re not just creating jobs, but they’re creating those jobs for the most vulnerable people in our society. They’re not just generating profits, they’re generating those profits and then giving them away to high-need organizations. These boxes help fund that work—and those workers—during this crisis.”
Plus, Proctor says, buying a box gives someone the opportunity to help without just donating money.
“It’s tangible,” he says. “It provides people something meaningful for their dollar, and it connects them to the business, its purpose and mission, and its employees. We hope, for those buyers who aren’t familiar with some of these social enterprises, that the purchase of a box will introduce a long-term consumer relationship.”
SocialVentures’ Impact Boxes can be purchased by visiting www.socialventurescbus.com/impactboxes. The boxes start at $50 and include free shipping.
100% of profits from your box purchase goes to support Central Ohio small businesses and the social enterprise community.
WHAT’S IN THE BOX?
“The Hot Box” includes a 5 oz. bottle of hot sauce from Double Comfort Foods, an 8 oz. candle from Eleventh Candle Co., and a 12 oz. bag of roasted coffee beans from Roosevelt Coffee Roasters. Price: $50 + FREE SHIPPING!
“The Box with a Bite” includes all products in “The Hot Box” + a 6 oz. pouch of dog bones from Growlers Dog Bones. Price: $60 + FREE SHIPPING!
Founded in 2014, SocialVentures is a non-profit organization that advances remarkably good businesses—businesses that intentionally integrate social impact as a non-negotiable component of their business model. To contact SocialVentures, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.