Three Criteria for the Ideal Socially Responsible Business Venture

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If you are a regular reader of Inspired Livelihood or Craft Biz Blog, you know that I have three criteria for the ideal business venture:

  • It is profitable
  • It improves lives
  • It utilizes a local workforce when possible

Frequently, when someone comes to me for help creating a socially responsible enterprise, they are initially thinking non-profit. They are surprised that they can create a business in the private sector that makes a difference and they think they have to  manufacture product oversees to make a profit. Of course they can have the item made more cheaply in sweatshops that do not pay fare wages but what good is building a business to help people and then taking jobs oversees that could be creating local income and helping unemployed Americans create a livelihood?

I try to encourage the use our own labor force whenever possible so I was absolutely thrilled to read about what I think is the perfect sustainable model.  Darr and Tom Aley founded Mojo, (short for Moms and Jobs), a hand made apparel company that hires and trains single mothers living near or under poverty level. They provide child care, health care and career training to help these women get off social services like food stamps and welfare and create sustainable livelihoods to improve the lives of their children.

If you know of other businesses that are profitable, improve lives and use local workers, please post in the comments below. I’d love to share them with our other readers. What can you think of that you can do to meet the above three criteria in your own business?

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