Readers know I’m a fan of the Providence Granola Project, a social enterprise that, by training refugees to make a product, acclimates them to US employment norms and aids their transition to self-sufficiency.
Recently, the organization produced an annual report that explained how it developed a different sort of model for small business, a model they hope others will use or adapt.
Founder Keith Cooper says, “The Providence Granola Project started as an experiment to explore what might help refugees enter the job market. Building a small business seemed like a logical place to start. But what a revelation it has been to discover how nearly every aspect of a small business—from capital to product—can serve a higher purpose.”
The organization’s Big Idea tweaks all the traditional elements of a business.
New hires: workers who are the least prepared, workers the training could really help.
Customers: frequently people who not only like granola but share the mission.
Investors: people whose desired return on investment is the ability to benefit immigrants on their path to becoming contributing members of their new nation.
Work: “repurposed as hands-on education. Making granola is transformed into an experiential classroom.”
Products: delicious foods that are simultaneously tools for raising awareness.
Check out the remarkable variety of granola flavors, granola bars and snacking nuts at the website. You can also sign up for a Granola of the Month package here if you’re up for giving this worthy cause a bit more predictability about resources.
Infographic: Providence Granola Project