The 5th Annual Social Enterprise Symposium: “Here and Now”
Friday, March 1, 2013, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Stamp Student Union, University of Maryland
Traditional business models are focused on generating profits--the more, the better. But those models are being challenged by young, business-savvy, socially-conscious professionals who believe that business has the potential to drive social change. They are creating new ways and new spaces in which to do business.
The 2013 Social Enterprise Symposium brought together executives from several such companies in a panel titled “The Right Fit: Three Models for Social Impact,” to show students different kinds of structures for social enterprises.
Whole Foods is a profit-making corporation, but conducts itself as a "purpose-driven corporation," balancing strategy that grows the company and strategy that supports its mission. "We feel like we can only grow our impact when all of our stakeholders are happy," said Scott Allshouse, President, Mid-Atlantic Region. "We exchange money, we make profits, but we really believe that our growth and our ability to impact the world is through an even exchange, where everyone feels like it's a win."
Far at the other end of the business model spectrum is Nick Vilelle's CAUSE Philanthropub. It serves food and beer, just like any other neighborhood watering hole, but 100 percent of the profits are donated to a rotating collection of charities. VIlelle, his co-owners and staff receive salaries and hope to eventually give about $100,000 to charities each year.
Carbon War Room, which invests in technologies and businesses that create solutions to climate change, represented yet another type of social enterprise. "We are driving investment and finance into a space that is long overdue. Keep money moving--that is our mantra," said Ginna Newton, the company's CFO.
“The Right Fit: Three Models for Social Impact” panel was moderated by Curt Grimm, Charles A. Taff Chair of Economics and Strategy at the Smith School. Panelists included Scott Allshouse, President Mid-Atlantic region of Whole Foods; Nick Vilelle, Founder of CAUSE Philanthropub; Ginna Newton, CFO of Carbon War Room.