Much attention has been given to this New York Times article on entrepreneurs who start businesses to do good. That is, they have goals that you would ordinarily think of as the province of non-profits, but that the entrepreneurs believe are actually more effectively reached by in-business companies. Said one entrepreneur, who aims to provide safe and affordable kerosene lamps to the people of Benin, “We could have done it as a nonprofit over a hundred years, but if we wanted to do it in five or 10 years, then we believed it needed to be fueled by profit. That’s the way to grow.”
The only thing we have to add is that people should really take a look at the Website called Creative Capitalism, as well as the book it spawned. Spearheaded by Michael Kinsley--who founded our sister site Slate--it explores the implications of a speech Bill Gates gave to the effect that, to quote from the Website, "Many of the world's problems are too big for philanthropy--even on the scale of the Gates Foundation...the free-market capitalist system itself would have to solve them." "Creative capitalism," therefore, is capitalism towards a social end.
If the article is correct about current trends, the small-business community is going to start welcoming an increasing number of these sorts of entrepreneurs into the fold over the coming year. Best to get acquainted with them right away. Anyone know of any such companies? Leave your thoughts in the comments, or send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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