26 Essential Social Enterprise Books

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How to Generate Social Enterprise Ideas in 5 Steps

Coming up with a good social enterprise idea is one of the biggest hurdles new social entrepreneurs and nonprofit organizations face. We want to “do good,” but how do we actually develop those innovative and sustainable social enterprise ideas?

By the end of this post, you’ll have the five steps to finding your social enterprise idea. But before we dig in, download the Social Enterprise Sweet Spot workbook to keep track of your ideas as we brainstorm!

Let’s jump right in and talk about how to generate ideas for social enterprise at your nonprofit organization and social entrepreneurship ideas to create on your own.

The best social enterprise ideas are built off of four main components:

  1. Passion
  2. Talent
  3. Market
  4. Cause

I call this Intersection, the SOCIAL ENTERPRISE SWEET SPOT.

How to Generate Social Enterprise Ideas in 5 Steps - Use the Social Enterprise Sweet Spot method by Social Good Impact. Click through to learn more!

Whether you’re developing social entrepreneurship ideas for yourself or social enterprise ideas for your nonprofit, we’ll go through the steps to find the perfect idea.



How to Generate Social Enterprise Ideas in 5 Steps - Use the Social Enterprise Sweet Spot method by Social Good Impact. Click through to learn more!

What do you love to do?

What gets you so happy you talk about it all the time?

What are your hidden talents and hobbies?

What do you do in your spare time? What would you do if you didn’t need to work?

What is your team super excited about?

Maybe your nonprofit already has areas they are passionate about. If you’re looking to start a social enterprise with a team, be sure to write down all of the passions of the team members.


Don't worry about business ideas just yet - write down everything that you are passionate about in the Social Enterprise Sweet Spot workbook.



How to Generate Social Enterprise Ideas in 5 Steps - Use the Social Enterprise Sweet Spot method by Social Good Impact. Click through to learn more!

What are you good at?

What are your natural skills and abilities?

What are you formally trained in or have education in?

What did you go to school for? What do you have a certification in?

What does your organization know how to do really well?

Do you work for a nonprofit organization that is the best at preparing young adults for work? If you’re working on this with a team, write down all of the talents and skills for individual team members, as well as skills of the organization.

Write down all of your talents and skills in the Social Enterprise Sweet Spot workbook.



How to Generate Social Enterprise Ideas in 5 Steps - Use the Social Enterprise Sweet Spot method by Social Good Impact. Click through to learn more!

Now this section may take a little work, just a heads up. But this is SO WORTH IT. This is the part that creates the BUSINESS of your social enterprise idea. Because without someone to pay you, you just have a nonprofit program. And don’t get me wrong, there’s certainly a time and place for nonprofit programs. But, if you can find an ideal customer who will pay you for a product or service, well then you’ve got yourself a social enterprise.

What is there a market opportunity for?

What will customers pay you for?

What products or services could you charge a fee for?

What problems exist that a customer would pay you for?

Sometimes it’s easier to think about this question in terms of what do people complain about. What have you noticed or heard in your community as a problem?

Write down any potential market opportunities in the Social Enterprise Sweet Spot workbook.



How to Generate Social Enterprise Ideas in 5 Steps - Use the Social Enterprise Sweet Spot method by Social Good Impact. Click through to learn more!

This is probably going to be the easiest part of the whole process to identify, because just by finding and reading this post, you have an interest in solving a social or environmental issue.

What social or environmental issue are you trying to solve?

You probably already have an idea about what cause you are most passionate about, and maybe even listed it above already!

Perhaps you or someone you know has suffered because of a social or environmental issue. Perhaps you feel strongly about a particular cause from past volunteer experience. Nearly all social entrepreneurs I’ve met have some type of personal tie to the cause they are supporting through their social enterprise, and trust me - this personal drive really helps stay grounded and keep your social enterprise running when you want to throw in the towel. #socentrealtalk

If you’re not totally sure what cause to support, if you’re new to all of this, or need ideas, check out the Global Goals for Sustainable Development at www.globalgoals.org.

In September 2015, 193 world leaders agreed to 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development. If these Goals are completed, it would mean an end to extreme poverty, inequality and climate change by 2030.
— www.globalgoals.org

Write down the cause area you choose to support in the Social Enterprise Sweet Spot workbook.



How to Generate Social Enterprise Ideas in 5 Steps - Use the Social Enterprise Sweet Spot method by Social Good Impact. Click through to learn more!

Now comes the super fun part!


Review the first two pages of the Social Enterprise Sweet Spot workbook.

What themes do you recognize?

Do all of your ideas have to do with women’s empowerment and products for women? Do all of your ideas circle around recycling and diverting waste from the landfill?

What combinations of ideas go together?

Let’s say you’re passionate about cooking, and work for a nonprofit working with homeless youth. You’ve noticed that there’s a food desert (no/low access to healthy food) in the neighborhood. Could there be an opportunity to create a food truck that delivers healthy food to low income communities? See how those ideas fit together? Take some time in this section to really think and explore combinations. The combinations of ideas don’t necessarily have to be around a theme. Let your creativity go wild here!

What ideas stand out to you or get you most excited?

Trust me - you’re going to need that excitement. If you’re not bursting-at-the-seams excited about an idea, cross it off. For example, you may have cooking skills but don’t enjoy food prep or clean up, so you’re not going to be excited to start a new social enterprise in food service. See what I mean? Circle all of the ideas that get you really excited, and cross off anything that doesn’t.

Write down all of those combinations and intersections in the Social Enterprise Sweet Spot workbook.


Pick out the best idea from the intersections above in the Social Enterprise Sweet Spot workbook, and write that in the space provided. Draw some hearts and stars, exclamation points, or whatever you fancy. That's your Social Enterprise Sweet Spot!

You did it! CONGRATS!


This is just the first step in starting a social enterprise business.

If you're serious about actually launching a social enterprise business, you'll want to write a full business plan and make sure your idea is relevant, sustainable, and marketable. I probably gave you a mini heart attack - just reading the words "business plan" - but I'm here to help. I'm working on a social enterprise business plan template that will be coming out soon. I'm creating it just for you, as a resource for planning and launching your social enterprise.

If you're interested in being the first to know when the social enterprise business plan template is published, sign up below.

Be sure to download the Social Enterprise Sweet Spot workbook to keep track of your ideas. You may want to come back to this brainstorm at some point to add ideas, and launch another new social enterprise!

15 Businesses by Women, for Women - A Shopping Guide for #DayWithoutAWoman

What is the #DayWithoutAWoman about?

“On International Women's Day, March 8th, women and our allies will act together for equity, justice and the human rights of women, through a one-day demonstration of economic solidarity.

The Women's March supports the feminists of color and grassroots groups organizing the International Women’s Strike on International Women's Day, March 8th, 2017. In the same spirit of love and liberation that inspired the Women's March, together we will mark the day by recognizing the enormous value that women of all backgrounds add to our socio-economic system--while receiving lower wages and experiencing greater inequities, vulnerability to discrimination, sexual harassment, and job insecurity.  

Anyone, anywhere, can join by making March 8th A Day Without a Woman, in one or all of the following ways:

  1. Women take the day off, from paid and unpaid labor

  2. Avoid shopping for one day (with exceptions for small, women- and minority-owned businesses).

  3. Wear RED in solidarity with A Day Without A Woman” -womensmarch.com/womensday


On March 8, I will be wearing red, taking the day off from all my jobs, and avoiding shopping that day. But, I will always support shopping and supporting these amazing businesses that are woman-led/owned, and support women in the United States and around the world.

If you're looking to support women-owned businesses that also improve the lives of women through social enterprise work, please consider supporting the organizations below. 

We've created a handy guide to download, and reference anytime you need a reminder of where to shop and make a difference.



15 Businesses by Women, for Women

A Shopping Guide for #DayWithoutAWoman


1 | BAM Essentials

Organic Personal Care Products

BAM Essentials’ mission is to create organic personal care products, by training young women with the work and life skills to succeed.
— bamessentials.org
Creating sustainable opportunities for women to lift their families out of poverty by connecting people worldwide in a circle of exchange that enriches everyone.

We believe that in order to end poverty, we must empower women to transform their lives.We do this through business training and mentoring, and we’re good at it.

We have found that for women to successfully move out of poverty, what they need is confidence and business skills. Our model allows them to leave poverty behind...for good.
— beadforlife.org

Our pick: Shimmer Necklace


3 | Bird & Stone


Bird + Stone was founded on the principle that jewelry can do good and in fact, improve the world. We empower each consumer to be a “micro-philanthropist” - making meaningful change through the simple act of purchasing jewelry. Our mission is to inspire, educate, and most importantly help shape the dreams of deserving women who are aspiring to be independent, financially stable, and educated. By giving women opportunities in the developing world, we help them pull themselves out of poverty.
— birdandstone.com

Our pick: The Future is Female - Silver Cuff   Each bracelet gives $5 to Planned Parenthood of NYC!

4 | BRANDED Collective


The BRANDED Collective employs survivors of human trafficking from Nashville-based non-profit End Slavery Tennessee. BRANDED is an economic empowerment jobs program where the women collaborate with local artisans to design and handcraft the jewelry collection.
— brandedcollective.com

Our pick: Brass Layered Necklace


5 | Bright Endeavors  


Bright Endeavors transforms the lives of young moms by teaching these strong women to craft premium soy candles in a supportive, professional environment. Through our paid job training program, we provide the guidance and job skills young moms need to secure quality employment and begin on a path towards professional success.
— brightendeavors.org

Our pick: Lemon Tea candle


6 | Cora

Organic Tampons

We’re committed to giving all women access to safe and effective period products as well as valuable and trustworthy information to educate and empower. +pads given to girls in need.
— cora.life

Our pick: Free trial! Just pay for shipping.


7 | Fair Anita

Jewelry and Accessories

Fair Anita is a social enterprise that’s all about empowering women from around the world with dignified jobs and fair trade relationships. Our talented artisan partners carefully design and create all products by hand—gorgeous accessories you can be proud to wear!
— fairanita.com

Our pick: Fight for What’s Right bracelet


8 | FashionABLE

Leather goods, Jewelry, Scarves

FASHIONABLE is a socially conscious accessories brand dedicated to creating sustainable business that promotes economic change. We are committed to making beautiful, quality products while also supporting commerce and changing lives both locally and globally.
— livefashionable.com

Our pick: Menbere Foldover Bag


9 | Global Mamas  

Clothing and Accessories

Founded in 2003, the Global Mamas community is comprised of thousands of people from around the world working together with the mission of creating prosperity for African women and their families. Our Mamas define prosperity as going beyond financial well-being to include happiness and good health. They achieve prosperity by creating and selling unique, handcrafted products of the highest quality. Being able to do the work they love and being empowered by financial independence leads to greater happiness. Our Mamas realize their dreams of having the opportunity to support their families, send their children to school, improve their health, and save for the future.
— globalmamas.org

Our pick: Home Apron Gardening - Hanging Ferns: Navy


10 | MADE by DWC

Clothing, Accessories, Upcycled Gifts

MADE by DWC is a social enterprise created by the Downtown Women’s Center (DWC) to break the cycles of chronic homelessness and unemployment. By empowering women to discover talents and develop skills through vocational opportunities, MADE by DWC generates economic and social capital to support programs at DWC and create opportunities for women to overcome barriers to employment.
— madebydwc.org

Our pick: Repurposed Book Journal


11 | My Sister


My Sister is fighting sex trafficking, one shirt at a time.

My Sister’s mission is to prevent sex trafficking, educate communities, empower the population, provide after-care for survivors and offer growth opportunities to at-risk women through the sales of our statement-making, ethically-sourced apparel and accessories.
— mysister.org

Our pick: Feminist Black Sweatshirt


12 | Sseko Designs  

Footwear, Leather Bags, Accessories

Sseko Designs is an ethical fashion brand that hires high potential women in Uganda to make sandals to enable them to earn money through dignified employment that will go directly towards their college educations and ensure they will continue pursuing their dreams. To date, we’ve enabled 60 women to continue on to university. We currently employ 50 women in Uganda from all walks of life. We believe that every woman has a dream. When she is given the opportunity to pursue those dreams, we are collectively walking towards a brighter and more just and beautiful world.
— ssekodesigns.com
Starfish Project is an organization that cares for women escaping human trafficking and exploitation in Asia. We provide life-changing opportunities through our Holistic Care Programs and our innovative social enterprise where women create beautiful jewelry, but also become managers, accountants, graphic designers, and photographers.
— starfishproject.com

Our pickCarter-Blue; Crystal & Gold earrings


14 | Thistle Farms  

Personal care products and more

Thistle Farms is a powerful global community of women healing from prostitution, trafficking and addiction. We employ 50 survivors through our social enterprises: Thistle Farms Home & Body, Thistle Stop Cafe, and an artisan studio. Thistle Farms Global helps employ more than 1500 women.
— thistlefarms.org

Our pick: Bath salts


15 | Women’s Bean Project  

Bean Soup, Food and Jewelry

Women’s Bean Project believes all women have the power to transform their lives through employment. So we hire women who have been chronically unemployed and teach them to work by creating nourishing products. They learn to stand tall, find their purpose and end the cycle of poverty. Because when you change a mother’s life, you change her family’s life.
— womensbeanproject.com

Our pick: Three Soup Gift Bundle


Bonus: Ogunte

Check out this awesome map of women all over the world making a difference! #inspriring #womenruntheworld  

The ‘Impact Women’ map aims to build a network of 1 million women social entrepreneurs by 2020 and foster peer-to-peer support, to change people’s world.
— ogunte.com


Download this handy shopping guide, so you always remember where to shop when you want to support women and make a difference.


Bethany is the Founder of Social + Good + Impact, a community of social entrepreneurs. As a jack-of-all-trades nonprofiteer and recognized social enterprise expert, Bethany brings a decade of experience launching and managing social enterprises. 

Find Social + Good + Impact on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest.

The Ultimate Social Enterprise Job Search Guide

The social enterprise field is still emerging and it can be difficult to find social enterprise jobs. They are few and far between, and even when one opens, it can be hard to find before it’s filled. 

This social enterprise job search guide is tried and tested with job seekers looking for their dream job that makes an impact. Print out the job search resource guide and follow along with the steps below, and you'll be well on your way to finding the perfect social enterprise job.


1 | Find your Passion

What do you care most about? If you’re not sure, or can’t decide - because WHOA NELLY there’s a lot of stuff to care about right now - take this quiz via the Global Goals for Sustainable Development. It’s just 6 questions and only takes a few minutes. Your results will be your top 3 goals that align with your answers.

The Global Goals for Sustainable Development are:

2 | Volunteer for an Organization that Aligns with Your Passion

Find a local nonprofit organization that align with the global goal area you identified above. Visit their website and look for a link that says “Get Involved” or “Volunteer Opportunities” to see their volunteer openings. Job candidates that have recent and relevant volunteer experience in the same goal area are more likely to stand out to employers!

You can find these nonprofit organizations by visiting volunteer listings like:

3 | Network in the Social Enterprise Field

Eww, I know networking is not everyone’s favorite thing to do, but I’ve got news for you - it’s necessary and it works. Even if you hate going to networking events, or are super-introverted like me, you can still make this time totally worthwhile.

My approach to networking events: be a friend and be of service.

Meaning, don’t go into a networking event with the intent of selling or focusing on what you have to gain. Be a friend, be nice and respectful, and be of service to each person you meet. What can you offer to the person you meet, that THEY will find valuable?

What you’ll need BEFORE you go to a networking event:

Business Cards for Job Search

I recommend moo.com for super high quality business cards for YOURSELF. Include your name, personal email address, phone number and any other relevant information (Twitter handle, website URL, etc). Notice I said RELEVANT. Please don’t include your Twitter handle if don’t tweet about topics related to your passion area.

Job Search Elevator Pitch

An elevator pitch is a brief description of who you are and what you do - that takes 30 seconds to 2 minutes (the average ride in an elevator). Fill in the mad lib in the worksheet to create your elevator pitch.

When you have business cards and have practiced your elevator pitch, now you're ready to attend networking events. Find events through the Social Enterprise Alliance, your local Council of Nonprofits chapter, other associations, Net Impact, Social Venture Partners, local colleges and universities with a social impact major, social impact conferences and other public meetings.

4 | Apply for Social Enterprise Jobs

Now that you know what you’re passionate about, and you have volunteer experience in that passion area, and have met other people who are like-minded, you’re ready to apply for jobs.

Some of the best job board for finding social enterprise jobs are:

Social Enterprise Alliance: The Social Enterprise Alliance was one of the first associations for social enterprise and social entrepreneurs. Their job board features job openings across the United States, although the jobs tend to be in areas where there is also a Social Enterprise Alliance local chapter.

National Council of Nonprofits: Find your state affiliation and search their job board for nonprofit (and sometimes social enterprise) job openings.

Net Impact: Full variety of nonprofit, for-profit, foundation, and university jobs related to solving social and environmental issues.

B Corp: List of open jobs with certified B Corp companies. (What is a B Corp? Find out here.)

Set up an Indeed alert for “social enterprise”: Search for the term social enterprise on Indeed, add your zip code or geographic region, and email address - and voila! Indeed will send you a daily digest by email of your search results. So much easier than constantly checking job boards.

Google Group for Social Enterprise Jobs: Hit and miss resource for social enterprise job postings. 

Idealist: Variety of jobs related to nonprofit and social enterprise work.


Now go onward! Explore your passions, volunteer in the field, network with like-minded people, and apply for jobs. 

Make sure to download the free social enterprise job search guide to help you get organized.

Good luck job searching!


Bethany is the Founder of Social + Good + Impact, a community of social entrepreneurs. As a jack-of-all-trades nonprofiteer and recognized social enterprise expert, Bethany brings a decade of experience launching and managing social enterprises. 

Find Social + Good + Impact on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest

What's the Difference Between a B Corp and Benefit Corporation?

What's the difference between a B Corp and a Benefit Corporation?

First, yes, there's a difference between a B Corp and a Benefit Corporation. The two terms are often used interchangeably, but they are in fact, not the same thing.

What is a B Corp?

A B Corp is a certification - similar to a Fair Trade or No Animal Testing seal of approval - that is administered by B Lab.

"B Lab is a nonprofit organization that serves a global movement of people using business as a force for good. (TM)" - bcorporation.net

There are now over 2,000 B Corp certified companies. And yes, I said companies, because you must be a for-profit company to apply for B Corp certification.

Some well-known examples of B Corp companies are:

Get the full list of B Corp companies here.

How do you become B Corp certified?

To become B Corp certified:

1. Complete the B Impact Assessment and score at least 80/200 points. 

You can take the B Impact Assessment for FREE. You don't need to be the CEO or Founder of a socially-minded business to take this assessment, but it will prompt you for some specific financial and procedure information. If you don't have the answer, you can usually say "N/A" or skip and go on to the next question, then come back to answer later.

There are five key areas in the B Impact Assessment: Governance, Workers, Community, Environment, and Customers.

The Governance Impact Area evaluates a company's overall mission, ethics, accountability and transparency.
The Workers Impact Area assesses the company's relationship with its workforce. The section measures how the company treats its workers through compensation, benefits, training and ownership opportunities presented to workers. It also focuses on the overall work environment within the company through management/worker communication, job flexibility and corporate culture, and worker health and safety practices.
The Community Impact Area evaluates the company's community engagement and impact, including topics related to diversity, job creation, supplier relations, charitable giving/community service, and local involvement. In addition, this section also includes options for companies whose business model is designed to address specific community-oriented problems, such workforce development for underserved groups, poverty alleviation through fair trade supply chains, etc.
The Environment Impact Area evaluates a company's overall environmental stewardship including its facilities, resource use, emissions, and (when applicable) its supply chain and distribution channels.This section also includes options for companies whose product or service is designed to address a specific environmental problem, for instance by redesigning traditional manufacturing practices or by producing products that create renewable energy, reduce consumption or waste, conserve land or wildlife, or educate about environmental problems.
The Customers Impact Area evaluates companies whose products or services are designed to address a particular social problem for or through its customers, such as health or educational products. The section focuses on the impact of the product/service and the extent to which it benefits underserved communities. For many companies this section will not apply. - B Impact Assessment

For each question, there are helpful tips and links along the way, to provide guidance on how to answer the question.

Pro tip: When you're writing a business plan for your social enterprise idea, use the B Impact Assessment to double-check your assumptions, and make sure you've addressed the areas that are important to your mission via this tool. For example, as you're writing your business plan, you may not have considered supplier relations and specifically seeking suppliers who are women-owned or minority-owned. The B Impact Assessment asks these questions, so you can incorporate into your social enterprise business plan.

2. Meet the legal requirements for structure. A nonprofit cannot become a B Corp.

3. Make it official by signing the B Corp Declaration of Interdependence and Term Sheet. Certification lasts 2 years; to keep your certification active, you must renew after 2 years. Fees are on sliding scale, starting at $500 annually, for a company of less than $149,999 in gross revenue.

Why should a socially-minded business become B Corp certified? What are the benefits of becoming B Corp certified?

B Labs lists many reasons to become B Corp certified, but they boil down to a couple key reasons:

  • Accountability: Must maintain certification through B Impact Assessment, dedication to mission regardless of change in leadership, compare results to others and improve score.
  • Marketing: Find like-minded companies and ideal customers, attract media coverage.

So, if that's a B Corp, then...

What is a Benefit Corporation?

A Benefit Corporation is a for-profit legal structure that elects to additional accountability, transparency and corporate purpose, beyond traditional profit maximization.

According to BenefitCorp.net, a Benefit Corporation's purpose is "to create a solid foundation for long term mission alignment and value creation. It protects mission through capital raises and leadership changes, creates more flexibility when evaluating potential sale and liquidity options, and prepares businesses to lead a mission-driven life post-IPO."

Can a nonprofit organization be a Benefit Corporation?

A nonprofit cannot be a Benefit Corporation. But, if your organization is a nonprofit, you could start up and own a for-profit subsidiary, and that could be a Benefit Corporation. An example of that would be the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), which is the 501(c)(3) nonprofit, and their better known subsidiary Benefit Corporation: Peace Coffee. IATP started a for-profit company called Peace Coffee in 1996, and fast forward 19 years later - Peace Coffee became a Benefit Corporation when the Public Benefit Corporation law passed in Minnesota in January 2015.

What is required for annual reporting of a Benefit Corporation?

Although reporting requirements are different in each state where Benefit Corporation legislation has passed, some of the same reporting requirements are the same across the board: social/environmental performance to inform directors and key stakeholders. In all states except Delaware, a Benefit Corporation must have the report use a third party standard as an assessment tool, and release the report to the public. 

Examples of the Benefit Corporation annual report: 

As of the date this post was written, 31 states have passed Benefit Corporation legislation, and 7 states are working on it. 

Find more information about how to become a benefit corporation in your state here.

So the difference is... 

A B Corp is a certification. A Benefit Corporation is a legal structure.

Can you be both a Benefit Corporation and a certified B Corp?

Definitely! There are many examples of companies that have both 1) incorporated as a Benefit Corporation in their state, and 2) passed the B Impact Assessment and paid the certification fee to become a B Corp. A few of those examples are thedatabank, gbc and Sunrise Banks.

What effect does a Benefit Corporation or certified B Corp have on tax status? 

None. Your business would still be taxed according to the legal status - C Corp, S Corp, LLC, etc. 


Now that we have that cleared up...


Is your social enterprise B Corp certified, or a Benefit Corporation, or both? What are some of the benefits you've experienced? Let us know in the comments below!


Bethany is the Founder of Social + Good + Impact, a community of social entrepreneurs. As a jack-of-all-trades nonprofiteer and recognized social enterprise expert, Bethany brings a decade of experience launching and managing social enterprises. 

Find Social + Good + Impact on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest

Five Quotes by Martin Luther King, Jr. for Social Entrepreneurs

Five quotes by Martin Luther King, Jr. for Social Entrepreneurs

This is a big week for the United States, and the world. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, January 16, and Inauguration Day for the new President of the United States of America on Friday, January 20. 

I've delayed writing anything about the President-Elect, partly in hopes that the day would not come, and partly because I just don't know what to say. Even sitting here today writing this post, I'm still not sure exactly what to say.

But I do know that this is not the time for inaction. This is not the time to think that someone else will take care of it. This is not the time to watch discrimination happen and stay silent. Many of the things Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke of decades ago, ring just as true today as ever. 

With the timing of this monumental week, I'm drawing inspiration from Martin Luther King, Jr. that can help social entrepreneurs, and all of us, to stay grounded and motivated. These are five of my favorite Martin Luther King, Jr. quotes. 

Darkness cannot drive out darkness. - MLK, Jr.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. - Martin Luther King, Jr.
injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. -MLK, Jr.
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. - Martin Luther King, Jr.
Life's most persistent and urgent question is, "What are you doing for others?" -MLK, Jr.
Life's most persistent and urgent question is, "What are you doing for others?" - Martin Luther King, Jr.
The time is always right to do what is right. -MLK, Jr.
The time is always right to do what is right. - Martin Luther King, Jr.
We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools. -MLK, Jr.
We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

What are some of your favorite Martin Luther King, Jr. quotes? How do they relate to your work in social entrepreneurship? Let me know in the comments below.

#socentchat is coming back! Tune in January 2017!

Social enterprise #socentchat is coming back! January 16-20 2017

Remember #socentchat on Twitter?

Well, we do. And we miss it!

We're giving new life to this popular Twitter Chat, and bringing it back in January 2017. Mark your calendar for January 16-20, 2017!

Social enterprise #socentchat new year new hosts

New Hosts of #socentchat

Bethany Palm

@bampalm @bamessentials @socialgoodim

Bethany is the creator of Social Good Impact - equipping social entrepreneurs and changemakers with the tools to change the world. She has worked in social enterprises for 10+ years, including leadership of social enterprises, launching a new social enterprise, and consulting with social entrepreneurs to develop their ideas into action.


Andy Crowe

@criticalnz @andy_s_crowe

Andy has 8 years experience in community led development and using education as a framework for empowerment. Moving into the social enterprise space with Critical has given Andy the opportunity to dig deeper into the potential to scale social innovation initiatives. Critical is a design house for social innovation - taking commercial projects and hijacking for social good, leveraging the power of technology and digital fabrication to close the gap in expertise for those transitioning from traditional labour jobs to tech-based jobs.

How to participate in #socentchat

Because this is a world-wide Twitter Chat, we're following a "Slow Chat" model for #socentchat.

What does that mean? We'll tweet one question per day, for a week, each month. 5 questions, 5 days. No matter what time zone you're in, you can participate in this Twitter Chat. 

  1. Follow @socialgoodim and @criticalnz. Bonus: Follow other accounts you find from this Twitter Chat! 
  2. We'll tweet one question per day, for 5 days in a row. Each question will be noted with Q1, Q2, etc. Follow #socentchat to see the question for that day. Bonus: Keep the conversation going throughout the month by including #socentchat in your other tweets!
  3. Answer that day's question with your answer (A1, A2, etc) and include the hashtag #socentchat. Bonus: Include other relevant hashtags as well! 

Looking for an easy way to follow along with this Twitter Chat? Check out TweetChat for a streamlined view of the #socentchat Twitter Chat only.

#socentchat what is the #1 biggest challenge you're struggling with at your social enterprise?

What can you do right now to get involved? 

Comment below and let us know...

What is the #1 biggest challenge you're struggling with at your social enterprise?

We want to provide a #socentchat that includes the topics YOU want to talk about and learn about - so let us know what is most important to you! Comment below and let us know!

A Round-Up Guide To Ethical Holiday Gift Guides

Rather than creating our own Holiday Gift Guide, we've gathered a list of the best ethical and social enterprise holiday gift guides, making your holiday shopping easy-peasy. 


REDF has developed a comprehensive holiday gift guide again this year. It's jam-packed with workforce development social enterprise brands, including:

  • Greyston Bakery
  • BeeLove
  • The Village Cookie Shoppe
  • Homeboy Industries
  • Homeless Garden Project
  • Boston Handyworks
  • Central City Coffee
  • Mile High Workshop
  • The Giving Keys
  • Clean 360
  • BAM Essentials
  • Bright Endeavors
  • Thistle Farms
  • Women's Bean Project
  • Rebel Nell
  • MADE by DWC
  • Povertees
  • EPAMade
  • Creativity Explored
  • The Chocolate Spectrum
  • Infinitely Simple

Social Enterprise Alliance

The Social Enterprise Alliance (SEA) has a first-edition holiday gift guide, featuring their member organizations. Products are grouped by the type of person you're shopping for, so there are categories like "The Go-Getter", "The Trendsetter", and "The Giver." SEA says, "All of the products in this gift guide are ones you can feel good about buying – knowing that they are contributing to workforce development, ending human trafficking or fighting climate change, along with many other pressing social issues."

Life + Style + Justice

Life +Style + Justice has a list of practical ethical gifts - perfect for the person on your list who says, "Oh, I really don't need anything..." but you still want to get them something. Or put these items on your OWN list for Santa! 

There's also a list of ethical subscription and gift boxes for the holidays - the gift that keeps on giving!

The Good Trade

Ok - I could get lost in the Good Trade's gift guides - what a wormhole of great information! There is so much good content over there, but I pulled out a couple of go-to guides:

Gifts that Give Back Under $50 

Gifts that Give Back {for Men}

Gifts that Give Back {for Women}

Fair Trade Federation 

The Fair Trade Federation (FTF) just released their annual Fair Trade Holiday Guide. This guide features FTF members - "When you buy from FTF members, you support businesses that respect the planet, value unique cultural traditions, and empower small farmers and artisans around the world."


What are the best ethical and/or social enterprise gift guides you're finding? What ethical companies are you supporting this year? Comment below and let me know!


Bethany is the Founder of Social + Good + Impact, a community of social entrepreneurs. As a jack-of-all-trades nonprofiteer and recognized social enterprise expert, Bethany brings a decade of experience launching and managing social enterprises. 

Find Social + Good + Impact on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest

Bethany Palm Accepted to REDF's Inaugural Cohort of the Social Enterprise for Jobs Accelerator Program

Check out the full press release from REDF below!




Lori Warren, Director of Marketing & Communications, REDF, lwarren@redf.org (415) 561-6683

Nicole Villanueva, Account Executive, FleishmanHillard, Nicole.Villanueva@fleishman.com (415) 318-4049



SAN FRANCISCO (October 6, 2016) - Today REDF announced its inaugural Social Enterprise for Jobs (SE4Jobs) Accelerator cohort of emerging leaders. The selected 18 participants, recognized from among more than 50 applicants across the nation, run double-bottom line businesses that support people facing the greatest barriers to employment. Program participants will apply skills to grow their social enterprises so they can impact more lives.

“Our Accelerator program is the first of its kind created to develop the future leaders of the social enterprise field on a national scale,” says Carla Javits, REDF CEO and president. “We want to strengthen the ability of social enterprise leaders to scale up their efforts to create jobs and provide support to people overcoming serious employment barriers like homelessness, incarceration, substance use and mental health struggles so they can be job-ready and achieve long-term employment success.”

Program participants will receive expert guidance on core business competencies and employee support programs, as well as the opportunity to build peer networks. The SE4Jobs Accelerator is an extension of REDF’s national Social Enterprise for Jobs network that was created in 2011 and is aligned with REDF’s national expansion and commitment to developing regional social enterprise ecosystems. The SE4Jobs Accelerator will be delivered in partnership with the Points of Light Civic Accelerator (CivicX), a national startup boot camp and investment fund for for-profit and nonprofit “civic ventures” that engage people to solve critical social issues. Since 2012, the Civic Accelerator has supported over 250 social entrepreneurs from across the country to scale their solutions to pressing social issues. 

“We are excited to expand our impact and bring our curriculum and learning to the REDF SE4Jobs Accelerator, as we partner to train and support leading innovators building sustainable solutions to workforce development,” said Ayesha Khanna, founder of the Points of Light Civic Accelerator.

Below is the list of the 18 participants in our first Social Enterprise for Jobs Accelerator cohort:

East Coast

·         AltheaBates, The Kitchen, Hartford, CT

·         Holly Shook, CUPs Coffeehouse, Baltimore, MD

·         Rae Gallagher, Flying Fruit, Baltimore, MD



·         Jeremy                Haines, Reclaim Detroit, Detroit, MI

·         Bethany Palm, EmergeWORKS, Minneapolis, MN

·         Michelle Horovitz, Appetite For Change, Minneapolis, MN

·         Thomas Adams, Better Futures Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

·         Linda Kramer, Lindy and Company, Dayton, OH



·         Wesley Rose, T-Town Tacos, Tulsa, OK

·         Betty Kirkland, Project Return, Nashville, TN


West Coast

·         Sabrina Mutukisna, The Town Kitchen, Oakland, CA

·         Dana Frasz, Food Shift, Oakland, CA

·         Frank Ricceri, Growing Grounds, San Luis Obispo, CA

·         Hunter Tanous, Corners Cafe and YU Green, Oakland, CA

·         Kevin Rodin, LA Towel & Linen Service, Los Angeles, CA

·         Chrissy Padilla Birkey, Good Soil Industries, Los Angeles, CA

·         Shana Lancaster, Mamacitas Café, Oakland, CA

·         Ricardo Moreno, Verde Landscape, Portland, OR


“Participating in the REDF SE4Jobs Accelerator means access to mentors, entrepreneurs and content experts who truly understand our business model and will propel us to the next stage of growth,” said Sabrina Mutukisna, founder and CEO of Town Kitchen. “The heft and experience of REDF and particularly of SE4Jobs represents, for us, a huge repository of experience and expertise, as well as a ready-made pool of peers,” added Bettie Kirkland, Executive Director of Project Return.


In addition to supporting growth and providing valuable peer assistance for participants, the program will help those most in need of another chance in life. "Being part of the REDF SE4Jobs Accelerator cohort is going to be a game changer for Good Soil Industries,” said Chrissy Padilla Birkey, Executive Director, Good Soil Industries. “In the last year we have seen the need for second chance jobs increase in our community, and need all the help we can get to meet the demand.”

The SE4Jobs Accelerator program will be offered annually with the next application period opening in mid-2017.

About REDF

REDF creates jobs and employment opportunities for people facing the greatest barriers to work – like young people who are disconnected from school or work, people who’ve been homeless or incarcerated, and those with mental health or substance use challenges. Founded in 1997 by George R. Roberts (KKR), REDF provides funding and business expertise to mission-driven organizations around the country to launch and grow social enterprises, which are businesses with a “double bottom line” that make money and reinvest their revenue to employ and support more people. For more information, follow REDF on Twitter at @REDFworks or visit http://redf.org/redf-se4jobs-accelerator/.


Bethany is the Founder of Social + Good + Impact, a community of social entrepreneurs. As a jack-of-all-trades nonprofiteer and recognized social enterprise expert, Bethany brings a decade of experience launching and managing social enterprises. 

Find Social + Good + Impact on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest

Minnesota Social Enterprise Round Up!

It can be hard to find businesses with a social purpose - so I'm on a quest to make it super super easy. Lots of activity is happening in Minnesota in social enterprise, so let's start with that! 

There are a few listed here, but I need your help! If a social enterprise is missing, please let me know, using the form below, and I'll add them to the list. Easy peasy. 


Pin that!

Name *




Bethany is the Founder of Social + Good + Impact, a community of social entrepreneurs. As a jack-of-all-trades nonprofiteer and recognized social enterprise expert, Bethany brings a decade of experience launching and managing social enterprises. 

Find Social + Good + Impact on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest

Spring 2016 Round Up! Favorite Social Enterprise Products and Services of the Season

Ah, Spring. It's muddy, rainy, sunny, and if you're in Minnesota, snowy. It's a great time for spring cleaning, of course, and stocking up on other products needed for the season. I pulled together a list of some of my favorite Minnesota-based social enterprises - making it easy for you to do good this Spring. 


Pin that! 



Here's the low-down on a few of my favorites


Do some much needed spring cleaning of something you might not expect: ELECTRONICS! Seriously, I've got a graveyard of old cell phones, miscellaneous cords and electronics with broken buttons... just begging to be donated to TechDump

This social enterprise provides "job training and practical experience for adults facing barriers to employment that prepares them to be more valuable employees with an expanding future." They are open every Saturday in April (9am-1pm) for simple spring cleaning. Check out their list of accepted items before you #TakeATechDump. <-- My favorite hashtag.


Not in Minnesota? Don't worry. TechDump is part of a national association of Impact Recyclersfind the location nearest you


Keep the awesomeness of spring cleaning a-rockin' and donate your non-electronics to Arc's Value Village. This social enterprise helps "make life better for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families." You can donate gently used items, then shop at the store and support their great mission. And, if you volunteer with them during the month of April, you can earn Rewards coupons, to be used on future purchases! Boom! 

Make sure you check the list of items they accept and do not accept before you donate! Bonus - You can donate your car to their Autos for Arc program.

Nowhere near an Arc's Value Village? Check out your local Goodwill thrift store - they are a social enterprise too, supporting people with barriers to employment!


For a small fee ($15), you can donate your mattress to Emerge (formerly known as Momentum Enterprises) through their Second Chance Recycling business and training program. Mattresses and box springs that would have ended up in landfills are accepted at their Minneapolis location. Be sure to make an appointment so their staff can help with the unloading. The mattresses and box springs are dismantled and recycled - employing individuals with barriers in a transitional employment environment. 


Doing some MAJOR spring cleaning or remodeling? Donate your old building materials to Better Futures Minnesota. At their Reuse Warehouse, they accept lumber, windows, cabinets, sinks, countertops, doors, lighting, flooring, and more. When you shop at their warehouse or donate to Better Futures, you help support the men they serve, the community, and the environment. Make sure you check the Accept/Do Not Accept list before you show up with a truckload of stuff!


Elpis Enterprises is a Saint Paul-based social enterprise "that provides job training, work experience and job placement for homeless or precariously-housed young people ages 16-23." Through several social enterprises, youth build skills, build experience and build relationships in the community.

Elpis has some super cool wood products, made from recycled cedar fencing - like this bird feeder or this little wren house! Oh, so cute!

They also have a full-service custom screen printing shop and online design studio, perfect for custom t-shirts for Spring volunteer clean up events, reunions or company picnics.


BAM Essentials supports young women from disadvantaged backgrounds, to learn work and life skills. The company sells organic and natural personal care products online through an Etsy shop - but the MUST HAVE for Spring and Summer is the bug spray.

This year, the bug spray is amped up with extra essential oils to repel ticks - and still has the other essential oils to repel mosquitos, flies, gnats, spiders, and other little pests. {Full disclosure: This is the social enterprise I launched in 2015!}  


Breaking Bread Cafe & Catering has catering services! Start thinking about graduation parties, family events or any catering event with a minimum of 10 people! Breaking Bread Cafe & Catering is owned by Appetite for Change. They use "food as a tool building health, wealth, and social change in North Minneapolis. AFC is a community-led organization that strengthens families, creates economic prosperity, and encourages healthy living." Plus - they've got a ton of FREE recipes on their website! Mmmm, Strawberry & Spinach Salad... {salivating}


Speaking of salivating... Put a little spring in your step with Cookie Cart's Spring cookies! Each sugar cookie is hand decorated by a member of their youth staff, giving them the opportunity to learn the skills needed to prepare for their futures.

How are you celebrating social enterprises this Spring? Let me know in the comments!

Digging this list? Click here to tweet it!

Want even more?


Bethany is the Founder of Social + Good + Impact, a community of social entrepreneurs. As a jack-of-all-trades nonprofiteer and recognized social enterprise expert, Bethany brings a decade of experience launching and managing social enterprises. 

Find Social + Good + Impact on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest

What is a social enterprise?

One of the questions I get most often is:

So, what is a social enterprise?
— everybody

Usually followed by: 

"How do you know what one is?"

"Is my organization a social enterprise?!" 

So let's talk a little about what a social enterprise is - and what it is not.


As defined in partnership with the Social Enterprise Alliance - Twin Cities board of directors: 

A social enterprise is an organization that sells products or services in order to achieve its social purpose.

Break it down!  Ok, let's take a couple of those terms in the definition and make sure we understand and agree on what they mean. 

Sells products or services = sells a tangible good or delivers a service for a fee. 

Social purpose = nonprofit with tax-exempt status for social purpose OR business with social purpose declared in Articles of Incorporation, in directors decision-making, and included in regular reporting.

Whoa, what? How do you know if an organization has a social purpose? 

A social enterprise can be social by:

Sharing: Organizations that exist to share some or all of their profits with charitable organizations or causes.

Selling: Organizations that make their impact through what they sell or to whom they sell it.

Sourcing: Organizations that develop their programs by how they make their products or services, typically using environmentally sustainable methods and employing the underserved.

So, what do we call these social enterprises?

In the nonprofit sector, we call it a COMMERCIAL NONPROFIT.

In the business sector, we call it a SOCIAL BUSINESS.


Confused? It's ok. Don't worry. We'll get through this. 

I went ahead and created a nice little one-page guide for you. Share it, talk about it with coworkers, make it into a shirt. Whatever. Click on the button below to get your free "What is Social Enterprise?" guide. 

Let me know your thoughts on this guide! 

p.s. If you think this free guide is helpful, click here to share it with your friends on Twitter! I went ahead and wrote the tweet for you, but you're welcome to give your own thoughts and feedback.

Ok, now that we know what a social enterprise IS, let's talk about what a social enterprise is not. 


A social enterprise is not a CONTRIBUTION NONPROFIT (a nonprofit organization that exclusively relies on philanthropic contributions; a charity in the traditional sense). These organizations are not a social enterprise because they don't sell a product or service. Remember that part of the definition? Oh yeah. 

A social enterprise is not a TRADITIONAL BUSINESS (a business that exists for the sole purpose of making profit). These companies are not a social enterprise because they don't have a social purpose. There are lots of businesses that have nice things they do for the community, but they are not social enterprises because the social purpose is not part of the structure, goals, reporting and decision-making.

Make sense? Agree? Disagree? Let's discuss in the comments section below! 



Bethany is the Founder of Social + Good + Impact, a community of social entrepreneurs. As a jack-of-all-trades nonprofiteer and recognized social enterprise expert, Bethany brings a decade of experience launching and managing social enterprises. 

Find Social + Good + Impact on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest