Social enterprises, businesses that exist to accomplish a social good, are rapidly gaining popularity in the U.S. Companies like Toms Shoes and Warby Parker are known for their outstanding social impact — as well as their enviable profit margins — and their influence is evident in the growing number of businesses directing profits toward the greater good.
Last year, FlyWheel Cincinnati
introduced the first-ever Social Enterprise Week as a response to that trend. The main focus of last year’s event was a showcase of local businesses with a social element to their business plan.
This year, the team behind the event has created a Social Enterprise Week with a broader national scope.
The week kicks Sept. 1 off with a Social Enterprise Summit
at the Cincinnati Museum Center, where keynote speaker Sebastian Fries, Chief Giving Officer at Toms Shoes, will be joined by several local movers and shakers in the social enterprise realm. Fries will discuss his efforts to scale Toms’ giving practices
to over 130 NGOs in 70 countries.
In addition to his input, the panel discussion welcomes Dan Meyer of Nehemiah Manufacturing
, Dr. Jason Singh of OneSight
, Joe Hansbauer of Findlay Market
, Allen Woods of Mortar
and Brett Smith of Miami University's Institute for Entrepreneurship
, who will touch on everything from job creation for disadvantaged workers and community involvement to entrepreneurship and sustainability.
The Social Enterprise Showcase will be held Sept. 2 on Fountain Square, a lunchtime learning session highlighting more than 30 local businesses that support a variety of causes across the region.
Another new element to this year’s event is a networking event called Cincy Celebrates Social, which takes place Sept. 3. The event will open with a tour of La Terza coffee roasterie
and a series of inspirational speeches from local entrepreneurs, followed by an hour of networking for those interested in becoming more involved in the social enterprise realm.
The week wraps up with Buy Social Saturday on Sept. 5. Several local companies will be offering special promotions on their products and services; the full list of the participating companies can be found here
Though many of the week’s events are free and open to the pubic, those who wish to attend the Social Enterprise Summit must purchase a ticket — they're available online
at $35 for general admission, $20 for students and $65 for VIP.