Tuesday, August 6 marked the fifth annual Positioned to Prosper event, hosted by SocialVentures at Columbus Museum of Art, to celebrate the advancement and achievements of the social enterprise sector in Central Ohio over the past year, and more broadly, over the past five years.
Major sponsors Ernst & Young, Huntington and OhioHealth were in attendance, as was a record-breaking crowd of more than 300 social entrepreneurs, funders, business partners, investors, consumers and fans of the rapidly growing Columbus social enterprise community.
Social Enterprise = #EasyToUnderstand
In conjunction with the event, SocialVentures released its fifth annual ‘State of Social Enterprise in Central Ohio’ report, which unpacked the growth and transformation of the sector over the past 12 months. This year’s theme, #EasyToUnderstand, aimed to simplify social enterprise, typically seen as a complex business concept and confused with other business approaches (nonprofit organizations, corporate responsibility, benefit corporations, and more).
The 2019 annual report aimed to answer the questions, “What is a social enterprise? And how do you define it?” The answer, SocialVentures explained, is #EasyToUnderstand. Social enterprise is about people. Social enterprise is about serving people, helping people recover, and lifting people up to move around, through, and beyond barriers. This year’s report and event sought to help investors, venture capitalists, policymakers, and the public move beyond complex definitions and to cast a vision that puts the “social” in social enterprise.
The reality is, each of the 98 social enterprises included in SocialVentures’ online marketplace is about people, and at Tuesday’s event, SocialVentures encouraged attendees to share their #EasyToUnderstand stories on various whiteboards placed throughout the room.
11 Social Enterprises Honored for Their Role in Sector Leadership
During the event, Allen Proctor, SocialVentures CEO, shared a history of Positioned to Prosper over the past five years and the growth in the sector. Beginning of 2014, social enterprise was a relatively unknown concept with few supporters, limited consumer awareness, and a lack of capital funding in central Ohio. In the past five years, the sector has grown from 18 organizations to 98 innovative businesses that have one common denominator—people. Social enterprises have become engines of job creation for the formerly incarcerated, recovering addicts, survivors of trafficking, chronically homeless, and adults with disabilities. In 2018, social enterprises created 253 additional jobs for these individuals.
Meanwhile, Columbus has welcomed the sector’s growth with open arms. Social enterprises are now supported in central Ohio by 24 organizations and programs to engage the public, promote social enterprise, celebrate their accomplishments, publicize their impact, and provide training.
The highlight of the fifth annual Positioned to Prosper was honoring the work of 11 social entrepreneurs who have played a key role in the expansion and acceptance of social enterprise in central Ohio. Tackling the social problems in our community in different ways, each of the 11 entrepreneurs and organizations embody the notion of #EasyToUnderstand. Some through growth, some through innovation, some through popularizing mission-driven business, some through forming expansive partnerships, but all are making a difference every day. As a group, the 11 generated a 24% increase in revenue in 2018 and grew employment by 49% over the past three years. The 11 social enterprises honored were:
- Hot Chicken Takeover
- Eleventh Candle Co.
- Equitas Health
- Freedom a la Cart
- Furniture with a Heart/Downsize with a Heart
- Patriot Pride Painting
- Pearl Interactive Network
- Roosevelt Coffeehouse and Roosevelt Coffee Roasters
- Ruling Our eXperiences (ROX)
The Metropreneur Announces Finalists for Social Enterprise of the Year Awards
SocialVentures has again partnered with The Metropreneur to present the seventh annual Social Enterprise of the Year Awards at Aspire 2019 on September 18. At Positioned to Prosper, Susan Post, editor of The Metropreneur, announced this year’s finalists.
For the category of Emerging Social Enterprise of the Year, finalists are:
- Fortuity Calling
- Wild Tiger Tees
The honorees for the Nonprofit Sustainability Award are:
- Blue Bow Tie Catering
- Mod Squad
- Nature’s Touch Landscaping and Lawn Care
For the category of Social Enterprise of the Year, the finalists are:
- Freedom a la Cart
- Roosevelt Coffeehouse & Roosevelt Coffee Roasters
More information about the Social Enterprise of the Year Awards and Aspire 2019 is available on The Metropreneur.
For more information, visit socialventurescbus.com.
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.