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Businesses With Impact: The Social Venture Network

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As I make my way through the world of entrepreneurialism and interact with clients, partners and vendors, I come across all types of business models. When weighing whether to work with them, I take my time and make sure that we are both working toward compatible goals and that each business I choose to work with is upholding social impact goals of its own. This series of blog posts is based on my research into companies and their leaders, in order to highlight some businesses I've been particularly impressed with.

My goal is to raise awareness of companies that are contributing to what is often referred to as the "Impact Economy." Weighing factors include operational awareness of corporate responsibility, social capital investments and philanthropy. While my research is not qualitative per se, I am confident about featuring companies that fit within what I consider to be a scope of significant impact.

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Image courtesy Erin Roach, Social Venture Network

Today, let's start with The Social Venture Network (SVN). This is a community of thousands of triple-bottom-line business leaders and investors who've been diligently building the infrastructure for sustainable business since 1987. One of the pioneers and leaders in this genre of business, SVN connects, supports and inspires business leaders and entrepreneurs that are working to build a just and social economy. They focus on building valuable peer-to-peer relationships among high-impact, innovative business leaders at semi-annual conferences held all over the country. Understanding that much of what holds entrepreneurs back from realizing their dreams is not only access to resources, like cash, but the support and guidance they need to maintain their vision. To this end, SVN organizes entrepreneurs into Peer Circles that meet monthly to break the isolation so commonly felt by social entrepreneurs. SVN also incubated other high impact organizations that define this space: including BSR, BALLE, Net Impact and ASBC. With a 25-year history, they are a network of the innovators of socially responsible business.

I recently met with Erin Roach, Director of Recruitment and Marketing for SVN. She told me, "the entrepreneurs and investors who founded SVN not only divined the imperative for changing the way the world does business, but seized the business opportunity. Billions of dollars have been invested by SVN members over the past 25 years in business that positively affect both society and the environment, which is why we call it the impact economy."

She went on to speak about companies founded by SVN members like Stonyfield Farm, Seventh Generation, Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream and other large companies that have had tremendous growth ground and impact. Many of which will be celebrated at the upcoming SVN Hall of Fame in November. The emphasis for the Hall of Fame is on uniting the past and future of the movement The pioneers will be sharing the spotlight with SVN's Innovation Award winners, and the event itself is a fundraiser for SVN's Bridge Project.

Please join me here in the weeks to come as I continue to focus in on one business or individual at a time, and help to spread the motives and ideas powering the revolutionary Impact Economy.