Feb 21, 201712:53 PMMosaic Marketplace
with Deborah Biddle — A blog for diverse business enterprises in and around Madison.
Madison’s social entrepreneurs are being the change they want to see
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Madison is filled with small businesses, many with one thing in common: a cause about which they are passionate. I’m not referring to the more than 5,400 nonprofit organizations in Dane County, but rather the rising number of small businesses that share a desire to change some aspect of society or culture for profit in Madison, nationally, or globally. Over the past six months I’ve met a diverse cross section of social entrepreneurs — or socialpreneurs — who are changing our community’s heartbeat and overcoming business challenges in the process.
As nontraditional and culturally diverse businesses, many of Madison’s socialpreneurs are in for a lot of hard work and will need to dig deep into their well of perseverance to be successful.
Having a clear mission and a solid long-term strategy helps them maintain focus, especially when the inevitable crises come. Successful social leaders lean into their mission, evaluate their strategy, and concentrate on fine tuning their societal impact during these times. Typical challenges are a high need for funding and having more work than one or two staffers — as well as the owner — can handle. Add to that the requirement to deliver the social benefit about which they are so impassioned. This is where mentors, collaborators, and partners play a key role in ensuring socialpreneurs gain the business acumen and social capital to effectively communicate their unique value proposition.
For Brandie de la Rosa, her relationships with a local tech company, attorneys specializing in domestic law, a local Latina co-working space owner who serves as her mentor, and the support of the Latino Chamber of Commerce of Dane County have been lifelines for moving her company forward.
E3Inspire is Brandie’s social business with the mission to educate, empower, and engage the public about ways to overcome or escape domestic violence. As a domestic violence survivor, Brandie is determined to provide resources and options for people dealing with domestic abuse. One way she accomplishes this is through her app, PEVO (Purple Evolution). Purple is the color that represents domestic violence and evolution represents her desire for victims to evolve to deliverance from emotionally, mentally, and physically defeating and depressing situations.
PEVO is a national domestic violence one-stop app with information and resources for domestic violence victims, including state laws and policies by state. Brandie is also a workplace consultant collaborating with companies to supply cost-effective domestic violence prevention and intervention proactive resources, training, employee awareness campaigns, and policies and procedures.
Like E3Inspire, Mindfulness for the People is a social business lifting the status of our community through education and behavior change. Angela Rose Black and her for-profit social impact startup of clinicians, research scientists, and practitioners of color aim to design and implement culturally relevant and oppression-sensitive mindfulness trainings that engage racial battle fatigue among people of color and white fragility among white people. Dr. Black is a calming presence and a mighty force for disrupting “systemic whiteness by fostering awareness of implicit and explicit racial bias in the mindfulness movement.” She and her colleagues believe “this shift in consciousness cultivates revolutionary space for developing radically inclusive mindfulness initiatives that actually meet the needs of our racialized world.” In the case of Mindfulness for the People, they have a built-in cohort of mentors and support in one another.
They have a growing following of mindfulness devotees who are grappling with cultural misunderstandings and finding clarity about the terms “mindfulness” and “white fragility.” What works well for Mindfulness for the People is their intentional care in crafting consistent messaging about their brand through no-cost or low-cost methods, which include social media, radio, and seminars, an essential practice for socialpreneurs.