While social innovation isn’t exclusive to women business owners, many female entrepreneurs are leading the way by making giving back an important part of their business models. The emerging trend of 4th sector business, where the line between corporations and non-profits is becoming increasingly more blurred, has encouraged many entrepreneurs to consider how they can inspire change in the world. Add in the social media platforms that make each of our individual voices more important than ever before, and entrepreneurship is taking on an entirely new face – one that’s concerned with it’s impact on the world beyond just profit or innovation.
In fact, social change has become a hallmark of innovation in business.
One organization, The Center for Social Innovation (CSI), is particularly concerned with creating a better world. With four locations, three in Toronto and one in New York, it acts as “part coworking space, part community center, and part incubator for people and organizations that are changing the world.” Aiming to capitalize on the power of cross-pollinated ideas, the CSI gathers together a diverse mixture of non-profits, socially minded organizations, innovators and entrepreneurs to help transform ideas into action.
The Center for Social Innovation started in 2004 when a group of social entrepreneurs realized that changes needed to be made in the social mission sector. Mostly, the isolation and separation between different social organizations needed to be overcome in order for them to initiate real change. That’s why they created a shared space (initially with 14 founding members), where ideas between like-minded people in different industries could be pooled for the greater good.
Their focus on social innovation makes them the perfect host for Tuesday’s event in New York that honors the International Women’s Day theme of inspiring change, Social Impact Media 101: How Films Inspire Social Change.
Hosted by Greta Knutzen, documentary producer and impact strategist, the event boasts a panel of seven women who use storytelling to impact social change. Attendees will learn how to harness the power of stories to inspire people into social action and to truly impact some of the world’s most pressing problems. Having so many inspiring women, all experts in their industry and masters of social storytelling, is sure to make for a powerful event, and a great way to celebrate International Women’s Day.
It’s hard to think of a more fitting place for this event to take place. By march 2007, the CSI was already home to over 180 social mission groups in sectors including arts, environment, social justice and education. With their expansion into New York, they’re poised to reach even more organizations and individuals who need the collaborative environment to make their ideas a reality. The possibilities of so many social entrepreneurs working together are almost unimaginable. I, for one, am excited to see how many female entrepreneurs make social impact a big part of their businesses in 2014. For me, the CorePowered approach is about building a conscious business – one that honors your deepest desires and actively aims to contribute positively to the world. Let the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day and the mission of businesses like the CSI inspire us all to start businesses built on a foundation of social change.