Barrels to Beethoven is an organization dedicated to preserving the steelpan instrument, the history of Afro-Caribbean music, and empowering black women in business. Through the dedication to equity and inclusion, Barrels to Beethoven has partnered with schools in the community to help promote the art form and build the steelpan exhibit in Pittsburgh. Leigh Solomon Pugliano has been able to help grow and curate support for this business through Tedx presentations and by using her other successful business’ to advertise Barrels to Beethoven. An example of this is the SCALE program which was developed by “Straight Forward Consulting”, and is now a program in the new “The Equity Impact Center.” The SCALE program has been part of Mrs. Puglianos’ business decisions as she has used this program to help Black musicians. This program receives support from donors like The Heinz Endowments and Bacardi USA to help her continue her mission of helping preserve the critical aspects of the Black community. One advantage of this organization is its dedicated social mission to preserving black culture establishes a lot of support. Due to recent events in our culture with protests and a calling for social change, people are more motivated to help the black community than ever before. Now, Mrs. Puglianos’ work may be more accessible for those who did not know how to support the black community in Pittsburgh. People now feel the need to help, and her business has more market security since she has given people a way to assist the black community. One disadvantage could be that people lose interest in the social mission of the black community. As sad as it is, people were not as invested in the black community before recent events. Now that people are invested, everyone must continue supporting social entrepreneurs and goals so that the mission is not forgotten.
TOMS is a company dedicated to investing in mental health services and sustainability. Since its inception, TOMS has been dedicated to helping the disenfranchised when they need the most help. When one shoe is bought, one shoe is donated to someone who cannot afford it or someone in a developing country who does not have shoes. TOMS have expanded past shoes and decided to invest ⅓ of their profits for “Grassroot Good.” These cash grants and partnerships are for sustainability and helping people with mental health problems. This is a social enterprise because the business model has been tailored to create a profit; however, the business has a defined social mission that all customers know. An advantage of a social enterprise is that the dedicated social mission will create support for its brand. Strong supporters of sustainability and preserving mental health will want to shop at TOMS rather than a business that does not care about these goals. This strategy will keep customers returning to buy more products, and these customers will become free “marketers” to their friends and families. A potential disadvantage is that a social enterprise must focus on its profit first. A social enterprise’s risks must be able to create a profit so it can continue to fund its overall goals. A social entrepreneur has more freedom to try new opportunities to bring about social change while making a profit. If a social enterprise takes too big of a risk, it may not be able to fund current objectives.
As someone interested in a career in Finance and Investments, the Social Enterprise approach appeals to me more than social entrepreneurship. I believe I could bring about more productive change by having a clear and concise social mission with a value-creating business model as the priority. Creating value and establishing donors would allow me to learn what change people want and the change I believe would be necessary. Over time, as the business would grow, I could take more risks and begin to focus more on the social mission aspect of the company. A social enterprise is an excellent place to start if one wants to bring social change with a business. Once name recognition and credibility are established, one can then transition to a social entrepreneur. This way, people will be more likely to support and understand new initiatives one may offer, rather than not trust or see the big picture. I believe that as the political culture continues to evolve, bringing about social change through social enterprise and then as a social entrepreneur will become easier.