Blog Post – Social Entrepreneurship/Social Enterprise (7/24/22)

Leigh Solomon Pugliano founded Straightforward Consulting in 2011 which is a social venture that focuses on strengthening productivity and the overall health of organizations. The services which Straightforward Consulting provides are strategic planning, growth strategies, leadership development, community outreach, collective impact, diversity and equity. Also, Straightforward Consulting bases its efforts of three tenets People, Place and Process. Straightforward Consulting strives to maximize organizational excellence while utilizing practices which are centered around community engagement and social responsibility. One advantage of this venture is that all the clients and partners of this venture share common values that are along the lines of equity, diversity and or sustainability. This allows for maximum productivity between Straightforward Consulting and its clients because they share common morals creating a more efficient environment because there will be less confusion. A possible disadvantage could be because Straightforward Consulting is so strongly passionate about what it stands for, there are a handful of companies that will having opposing stances or possibly not align with the values of the venture. This could make it more difficult for Straightforward Consulting to find clients who resonate with their values.

A Social Enterprise example is Warby Parker, a socially driven company which sells glasses unlike any other glasses company. Warby Parker was founded in 2010 and before the company was founded glasses could cost hundreds of dollars to buy. There were two founders: Neil Blumenthal and David Gilboa, and they created this company as a way to sell high quality glasses at a reasonable price. Warby Parker prides itself in following the line “buy a pair, give a pair”, which serves as its mission. There are two models which Warby Parker utilizes and that help classify it as a social enterprise. The first one being empowering adults with training to administer eye exams and sells glasses for extremely low prices. The second model is directly given vision care to kids in their classroom, when teachers spot an eye sight problem. Both models make a positive social difference and have contributed to what Warby Parker has become as a brand. One Pro if these socially motivated models, is that Warby Parker actually saw most of its sales come from empowering adults and providing young school kids with free eye support. A possible disadvantage is that Warby Parker has to compete with many glasses companies who make expensive glasses that some people want over the cheaper ones that Warby Parker sells. Some customers might feel that because of the lower prices that Warby Parker might sacrifice on the quality of their products.

Social enterprises are very interesting to me especially from a marketing and financial standpoint. Finding a balance between marketing the social stances your company stands for and actually acting upon your social mission and helping society in certain ways all while maximizing profits can be extremely difficult. It’s intriguing how some companies can actually generate more revenue down the line by having a social impact because so many people want to do their part and support ventures which have a social impacts. People are only going to become more passionate about social problems and companies can truly use this to their advantage in order to maximize their financial goals all while making a positive difference in society.