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The Socialpreneur - Marketing With Social Consciousness

Updated on December 1, 2012

Social Consciousness + Entrepreneur = Socialpreneur

The Socialpreneur - - Social Consciousness in Action

When you were a kid, you were probably a socialpreneur. To help your school or church or youth group, you may have sold chocolate bars door-to-door. People bought them, even if they didn't like chocolate; because they knew the money would go to support a worthy cause. Both seller and purchaser are examples of social consciousness in action.

Today's socially conscious entrepreneurs, socialpreneurs, are elevating that door-to-door fund raising spirit into full time businesses. Some of their businesses are created specifically to put unemployed, disadvantaged and underemployed individuals to work. Some sell merchandise designating disadvantaged groups as beneficiaries of their profits. Others market goods to supplement the budgets of existing social service programs.

Sarah Center

Twice annually Sarah Center hosts a gift boutique. The center displays the complete stock of jewelry. Some students set up individual displays of their jewelry, quilts and other craft work created outside of center programs.
Twice annually Sarah Center hosts a gift boutique. The center displays the complete stock of jewelry. Some students set up individual displays of their jewelry, quilts and other craft work created outside of center programs.

Sarah Center - Inner City Women Earning Income

When Catholic nuns, Sister Jeanette and Sister Evelyn, came to Cincinnati's inner city in 1989, they weren't planning to become socialpreneurs. Sister Jeanette just wanted to create a place for inner city women to get away from every day hardships.

A Cup of Coffee and More

When she opened non profit Sarah Center as part of the Saint Francis Seraph Outreach Ministries, she began offering inner city women a cup of coffee, snacks, a safe place to talk and sometimes a shoulder to cry on. She added an enrichment program with monthly outings to plays, museums and the opera; and she began a crafts program with crochet, quilting and jewelry making.

When someone suggested they sell their jewelry creations at a local outdoor market, it sparked a full fledged business.

A Simple Business

The Sarah Center jewelry program is simple. The center supplies the materials, tools, instructions and arranges sales opportunities. The women make jewelry and receive 60% of the price when their items sell.

Sarah Center jewelry sells at Cincinnati arts and craft shows, special events and gift shops, including the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.

Many of the Sarah Center women have learned enough to teach classes themselves. To encourage individual entrepreneurs, the center also offers a 10 week businesses program.

Women's Bean Project Products on Amazon

The Women's Bean Project

In 1989 Jossy Eyre, a volunteer with homeless women, decided the women needed more than temporary help. She purchased 500 dollars worth of beans, put two women to work repackaging them and began growing a thriving business.

Since then, the Women's Bean Project has helped break the cycle of poverty and unemployment by providing "stepping stones to self-sufficiency" for Denver, Colorado women.

Today the Women's Bean Project is more than just beans. They've added jewelry; and they've also expanded their online food product offering to include salsa mixes, spice rubs, coffee beans, soups, jelly beans and more. The women also sell their products in grocery stores and the business operating budget has grown from $6100 to 1.5 million.

Emily Hill Local Socialpreneur

Full Circle Threads - "Building Families Through Shirts"

Full Circle Thread displays their line of children-inspired shirts at a Cincinnati Street Fair.
Full Circle Thread displays their line of children-inspired shirts at a Cincinnati Street Fair.

Not Always a Non Profit

Individuals are creating businesses with that same sense of social consciousness. While they are not non profits, some support causes by selling items that benefit disadvantaged groups.

Stop Traffick Fashion

Emily Hill's Stop Traffick Fashion is a socially conscious business that helps fight human trafficking. Emily sell bags and jewelry purchased through Night, International, a company that sells goods created by sex trade escapees in Calcutta, India and Bangkok. She also sells soaps and lotions from Not For Sale, a group that supports modern day abolitionists.

Full Circle Threads

This company creates tee shirts with designs provided by poor and orphaned children. A portion of the proceeds go to help these disadvantaged children. The current line is based on designs from children in India.

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    • Dee aka Nonna profile image

      Dee aka Nonna 

      6 years ago

      The hub is chalked full of great information. As you said socialpreneurs have been around for a long time, we just didn't recognize it as that. I have been involved with various organizations that did just what you are talking about for about 30 years....7 or so years was spent in Ohio (small world). I am very happy I came across your hub. Voted up, useful and interesting.

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