An article in the New York Daily News today featured several young Wall Street “casualties” who’ve taken advantage of the recession to begin new socially conscious businesses. Stephen Chen and Iris Chau started GreenSoul Shoes, selling sandals made from recycled tires by artisans in Third World countries. Chau’s husband came up with the idea after seeing children playing barefoot in a Manila garbage dump. For ever pair sold, they donate another to a needy child in the artisans’ communities. GreenSoul isn’t only making a difference in underdeveloped countries. The company incorporates the social change aspect on the home front by using a facility that employs ex-cons, recovering addicts and formerly homeless to do their packing and shipping.
The article mentions other young social entrepreneurs including Tyler Gage and Dan MacCombie, two Brown grads who are bringing a tea called Guayusa to America as an energy drink. A highly caffeinated, sweet tea that keeps you alert without the jitters, Guayusa is grown in Ecuador and because it needs the shade of other trees to grow, it is helping to preserve the rain forest, and is supporting indigenous farmers.
These and many other aspiring entrepreneurs, are turning their recent job loss into an opportunity to create a new economic model that makes doing good in the community or the world a part of doing well financially. This recession is likely to birth some of the most successful and socially conscious entrepreneurs in history.
How can you turn a job loss or down economy into an opportunity to take a stand and make a difference while you’re making a living. Could this be the perfect time for you to, as Gandhi said, “be the change you wish to see in the world?”