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Posts Tagged ‘Social Enterprise Greenhouse’

I like reading that the numbers of socially conscious companies are increasing. Recently, Naz Akyol at Social Enterprise Greenhouse in Providence wrote about one such business.

“Three years ago, active duty airman Michael Gnoato lost his life in a fatal car accident in Wyoming. Major Pettaway, a Marine who knew Mikey since high school, missed the funeral because he was deployed in Afghanistan at the time, but Navy Seabee Sadam Salas was there to speak at their best friend’s funeral. …

“The two young men are the co-founders (as well as CEO and CFO, respectively) of Mike’s Ice, a deliciously novel idea that pays tribute to their fallen friend, and also a social enterprise committed to fighting veteran homelessness and more.

“Sadam and Major [sell] Thai style ice cream rolls that come in seven fun flavors, … a commodity that only recently hit US markets with only a handful of stores in New York City. They also decided to give their venture four wheels and make Mike’s Ice a mobile truck. …

“Everything that is sold at Mike’s Ice is made from scratch, which means the truck needs to be equipped with special ice cream making machines as well as equipment for storing their ice cream bases and toppings. When asked about the greatest challenge they have faced so far, Sadam smiles and says: ‘You don’t sleep a lot.’ …

“Mike’s Ice received a SEG Hub Scholarship from Social Enterprise Greenhouse … [and] is partnered with Backpacks For Life, a nonprofit that provides homeless veterans with backpacks that contain essentials for survival.

‘We are both veterans, and now we are also entrepreneurs, and entrepreneurs exist to solve problems,’ Sadam says. ‘Veteran homelessness, suicide …. these problems shouldn’t exist. These are people who fought for their country.’

More here.

Photo: Social Enterprise Greenhouse

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Interested in doing well by doing good? Consider attending the April 29-April 30 Providence event hosted by the Social Enterprise Greenhouse and the Social Innovation Initiative at Brown University.

According to the nonprofit’s website, the 2016 SEEED (Social Enterprise Ecosystem for Economic Development) Summit “provides a comprehensive support system to inspire, start, grow, and sustain successful social enterprises. …

“This year’s conference theme is Growing Businesses with Impact. We will explore the unique challenges facing a social enterprise at three stages of growth, with half day modules devoted to launching, growing and transforming. 

“Whether you’re a social entrepreneur, student, academic, impact investor, policymaker, or plain ol’ fan of ‘do well, do good’ business, we hope you will join us. This year’s conference will include free coaching, a ‘Buy With Heart’ market, lunchtime roundtable discussions, and a pitch competition. …

“The conference is hosted jointly by Social Enterprise Greenhouse and The Social Innovation Initiative at Brown University, in collaboration with sponsors The City of Providence, The Rhode Island Commerce Corporation and Worldways Social Marketing, as well as knowledge partners Bridgespan and Neighborhood Economics/SOCAP.

“SEEED is the first impact conference in the US to adopt a ‘pay what you can’ ticket model so that the event is accessible to everyone. However, it costs us $200 per participant. Therefore, we ask all attendees to pay what they can to support our mission (the minimum payment to register is $1.00). … For any questions contact info@segreenhouse.org.” Register here.

The keynote speaker is Willy Foote of Root Capital. According to Sacha Pfeiffer in the Boston Globe, “This year, the Cambridge nonprofit Root Capital expects to have surpassed $1 billion in loans made to small businesses in the developing world, a sector neglected by large commercial banks. …

“Because many farmers in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America don’t have the traditional collateral needed to borrow money, such as property deeds, Root Capital relies on less conventional ways to judge creditworthiness. For example, it accepts future production of harvests — including cocoa, coffee, cotton, fruit, and nuts — as collateral for financing. That approach has been a success; Foote says Root Capital’s repayment rate is about 97 percent. …

“Root Capital doesn’t just loan money; it also offers financial training to rural entrepreneurs, helping them improve their business skills and strengthen their market connections.”

Read more about Foote and Root Capital in the Boston Globe article.

Photo: Heidi Gumula
The Social Enterprise Greenhouse has its headquarters at 10 Davol Square, Providence. 

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Photo: David Wells

A wonderful organization, the Providence Granola Project, has just received some well-deserved attention in the food magazine Edible Rhody. In fact the magazine has prepared a short video that says it all, here.

Nancy Kirsch writes, “Established in 2008, Providence Granola, now part of Beautiful Day (a nonprofit organization founded in 2012), has a three-fold mission, says Providence Granola co-founder Keith Cooper: Provide job training for immigrants in Rhode Island who are unlikely to otherwise find gainful employment, and educate community members about refugees and refugee resettlement, all by making and selling delicious artisanal granola.

“Cooper and his lean professional staff, including Anne Dombrofski, director of strategic partnerships, work out of the Social Enterprise Greenhouse, a co-working space in Davol Square in Providence. …

“Hand labor is done by a small team at Amos House, a soup kitchen and comprehensive social service agency in Providence. …

“The trainees are immigrants—often, but not always, refugees—who have come recently to the United States. They attend classes at the Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island (Dorcas) and, through its assessment process, have been identified as less likely to find employment within the next year, given their lack of first-language literacy and absence of English skills.

“ ‘If we can speed up someone’s entry into the job market from a year or more to between three and six months … there’s a huge benefit,’ says Cooper.”

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