The William James Foundation: Expanding Social Enterprise One Entrepreneur at a Time
Social enterprise focuses on maximizing human and environmental well-being while tending to shareholder profits. Under this style of business, you can expand your bottom line into a triple bottom line (People, Planet, Profit).
For social entrepreneurs, this is a lifestyle more than a business plan.
These sustainability minded entrepreneurs, like any entrepreneur, do not lack idea-generation. The struggle comes when that great idea needs to actually become a great product or organization. Questions like, “how do I raise money?”, “how do I launch my product?”, “what is branding?” tend to slow down the process of starting a business.
To guide and assist budding social entrepreneurs, the William James Foundation, a mentor investment non-profit organization, holds an annual business plan competition. Throughout the world, early stage entrepreneurs (whose for-profit businesses focus on triple bottom line objectives) submit a business plan in a two-page summary that is judged by professional investors. Each finalist receives an extensive peer review from a pool of over seven hundred world-class experts in the field of sustainable business. Along with this feedback, the top finalists receive either cash or in-kind prizes (an offering of either products or professional services from a voluntary group of notorious and influential sustainable businesses).
This year, The Adventure Capitalists donated two in-kind prizes. The start-ups, Access Afya and Juabar, chose our prizes and we will be helping them with strategy and specialized media distribution.
Founded by Melissa Menke in Nairobi, Access Afya is a Kenyan focused healthcare support business, providing services and supplies to Kenyans who do not have the money, ability, or access to healthcare options. Access Afya uses the latest health technologies to deliver quality and affordable healthcare to some of Kenya’s most impoverished areas. The Access Afya “mini-clinic model” can be set up just about anywhere with a staff that is, in their own words, “committed to excellent healthcare.” (www.accessafya.com)
Juabar, founded by Olivia Nava, is a Tanzanian based business that focuses on entrepreneurial empowerment of rural Tanzanians through solar technology. Juabar is dedicated to developing economic growth and profitable businesses within Tanzanian villages through low-cost, solar powered cell phone charging stands. Although, by first appearance, the charging kiosks look like nothing more than an ice cream stand, these small mobile booths serve up much more for these communities in need. (www.juabar.com)
Each of these sustainable entrepreneurs are doing what they do best – finding specific ways to have a large, positive impact in our world. It’s our pleasure to be working with and supporting these visionaries.