If you are in a job that you hate, you may spend a lot of your time thinking about your escape plan. What fabulous business will you start that will get you out of your dead end career? You may have even been thinking about the advantages of social entrepreneurship companies. These are for-profit businesses that take some of the values from the non-profit world and implement them into successful businesses. Your business can have a positive contribution to the community in which it interacts while still earning money and continuing to sustain itself. If this sounds like the type of business you would like to be involved with, the next question is what type of business will you open? If you have been mulling over possible business ideas, you know that the opportunity is endless.
Here are some profiles of successful social entrepreneurs from the past that may help inspire you to come up with new business ideas for the future.
• BlackGold Biofuels – This Philadelphia based business turns sewage grease into biodiesel, and is one of several in the country that is helping to revolutionize the energy market (see also, Piedmont Biofuels in North Carolina). If you are looking to start a social entrepreneur business in a big way, the emerging energy market is a good place to start. Entering the renewable energy field may take a lot of capital to break into, but it could be a very profitable business in the future. Also consider some of the supporting business platforms that go along with producing energy – such as engineering firms that specialize in solar farms. In the entire renewable energy field, there are a lot of options for new businesses to capitalize on the complexities of the market.
• Eleek – A Portland based company, Eleek collects scrap materials that would otherwise be landfill bound and uses it to aid in the manufacturing of new goods. With the new hyper focus on local everything, manufacturing is the only natural next step. They have developed a business that takes local scrap metal and retools it into home fixtures. Other manufacturing companies have also taken the local mantra to heart. TS Designs in North Carolina takes local North Carolina organic cotton and manufacturers it into t-shirts. This sustainable business model is in a state where the textile industry once ruled the landscape. Looking at your region’s traditional manufacturing power and reimagining it as a new sustainable business model is a good way to take advantage of the skills of a local labor force, but putting it toward a new successful business solution. Doing this can also mean that you could take advantage of existing buildings and equipment that might no longer be used by its original owner. Put those empty factories back into use!
Figuring out what the best business idea is for your new career means weighing several factors. How much capital do you have access to? What are your strengths and interests? Can you pull from a local, skilled workforce? Once you figure these things out, it really comes down to one question – What do you want to do every day?
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