Social Enterprises are taking over Fort Worth. As more consumers decide to make conscientious purchases, entrepreneurs are creating companies with their values in mind. So what is social enterprise? Well, it is kind of hard to define. According to www.socialenterprise.us, a social enterprise is “Organizations that address a basic unmet need or solve a social or environmental problem through a market-driven approach.”
Fort Worth has many local social entrepreneurs who are building companies to solve our most pressing issues. Whether it is striving to reduce waste, providing meaningful employment, or leading a wave of innovators and changemakers, read how local entrepreneurs are solving some of our toughest social challenges:
Miguel Harth-Bedoya loves music and hates waste. The former Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra conductor was so discouraged by how much compostable food waste goes into our landfills that he followed a garbage truck one day to see where it went. Soon he launched Cowboy Compost, an innovative business that helps residents, businesses and event venues reduce their environmental impact.
How do you translate a language that has never been written? Or help corporations make better decisions for the planet and their consumers? Could technology be used as a force for good to help improve people’s lives? Sheryle Gilihan is the CEO of CauseLabs, a social enterprise that works with leading changemakers to grow positive impact.
“People need people more than stuff,” says Melissa Ice, founder of two local non-profits, The Net and The Worthy Co. She lives by these words as she serves those experiencing homelessness and women and children who have been exploited. She empowers people by employing those who cannot find work to provide a stable income for themselves and their families. Relationships are the key to her work that makes a difference in our community.
Growing up, Jakayla Dixon saw her aunt struggle with picking out her clothes, due to her visual impairment. So she started her own company in high school to change the way the visually impaired put fashionable outfits together. Dixon, the founder of Feel the Color, is helping those with visual impairments “see” color through fabric tags to help people feel confident and fashionable.
Meet the innovative minds that are repurposing surplus materials to “fill a classroom, not a landfill.” Vanessa and Taylor are life-long best friends that started a non-profit called The Welman Project. Through creativity, they find ways to take the waste output from corporations and adapt it for use in the classroom. The Welman Project were also past winners of the United Way’s KERNEL competition for programs fostering ideas to solve community issues.
This local entrepreneur leveraged a career in fashion and big pharma into a startup that is tackling an unmet medical need with a big potential market – earwax impaction. Their first product, EarWax MD, is relieving the symptoms of earwax buildup for kids, adults and pets. Elyse Dickerson, co-founder and CEO, has also built the company as a practitioner of Conscious Capitalism, setting out to do more for their customers, investors and the environment than just maximize profits.
When Dr. Vanessa Bouche was challenged to provide meaningful employment for survivors of sexual explotation and sex trafficking in Delhi, India, she started an essential oils company to put women with few skills to work. Dr. Bouche discusses the challenges she faced in starting Savhera, the challenges she faced in applying for B Corp certification and how to “Live Well, Do Good” for her customers and employees.
About the Author
Kendel Rogers is the Outreach Specialist for the Next department at The University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth and Marketing Guru for Sparkyard. She produces podcasts for Innovate Fort Worth and is also involved in Global Entrepreneurship Week Fort Worth. All thoughts, views, and comments are her own and do not reflect the thoughts, views, or comments of The University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth or Sparkyard.