3 Open Platforms for Combining Business Profit and Social Impact

This Post Originally Appeared on the Inter-American Development Bank

In Latin America and the Caribbean, companies like Salauno, Geekie or Raymisa have put social impact at the core of their business, while not losing sight of profit. This approach uniquely allows businesses to make contributions to their communities and the causes they believe in while growing their business at the same time.  It is about creating a more just and sustainable world while generating profit.

To begin with this approach you combine your business aims (what are you trying to achieve with your core product or service? What markets do you want to reach? What are your expansion goals?) with your impact aims (what changes would you like to see in the world? In your community? What issues resonate deeply with you?) Then, start to look for possible connections!

If you’d like to start combining your business goals with social impact, here are a few open platforms to begin with:

1

openIDEO

OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. They partner with leading organizations to drivecollaboration, innovation and impact around the world’s toughest problems.  OpenIDEO launches challenges, programs and other tailored experiences to promote exchange between the platform’s community. The current challenge is: How might we dramatically reduce waste by transforming our relationship with food?

For example, meet Carol Lue, an openIDEO fellow from Jamaica who is turning organic waste into cash with CaribShareBiogas. Carol’s company is transforming hotel and manure waste into clean energy and organic fertilizers to support rural farmers.

In 2012, Carol won the Inter-American Development Bank’s IDEAS contest in which she was granted $200,000USD to begin her business. Today, over 50% of CaribShare surplus from biogas and fertilizer sales is exchanged with farmers for their supplying of waste. For more openIDEO business stories, you can go here.

2

GatherWell

Gatherwell is a hub for social innovators, impact investors and purpose-driven entrepreneurs. Our free and open directory allows you to find and offer aligned resources including on fellowships, accelerators, competitions and impact investing. You can also submit your own needs or services. To access the directory tools, you just have to create a free account.

Fledge, for example, is one of the accelerators in GatherWell’s directory. It helps impactful entrepreneurs take their ideas and prototype-stage companies into reality, via an intense, 10-week program of guidance, education, and mentorship, plus a large and growing network of support from past fledglings and hundreds of mentors. Their goal is to help foster a wave of companies that make not just a measurable impact in the world, but a noticeable improvement in the lives of everyone on the planet.

3

ImpactSpace

ImpactSpace is an open data initiative for companies, entrepreneurs and investors delivering social and environmental impact along with financial returns to connect with each other andshare stories and data with market participants.

By opening financial data, ImpactSpace aims to promote investments with purpose by encouraging exchange among investors to gain insights and find solutions as well as to attract new investors by showing a growing market. ImpactSpace counts with a database of over 6,000 impact companies and 2,000 impact investors that can share their funding sources, their team members, the areas where they work and impact reports. It also allows to contact over 4,000 impact people who are involved in businesses with a social impact.

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