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5 Small Business Ideas That Incorporate Giving Back

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small business ideas - TomsMore companies than ever are basing their business model on giving back. This model gives consumers the opportunity to do something good when they make a purchase, and this unique selling point can also do wonders for new companies. There are many small business ideas based around giving back, and inspiration can be drawn from companies that have succeeded in this field.

TOMS Pioneers One-for-One Shoe Program

TOMS is the perfect example. This shoe company caters to the alternative market, and for every pair of shoes that are bought, a brand new pair of shoes are donated to a deserving child. They look for communities that will benefit most from the shoes, and then provide as many children as possible with them.

The Buzz Around Burt’s Bees

small business ideas - Burt's BeesBurt’s Bees may not be the best-known business in the world, but it’s certainly doing well. This bath and beauty business offers eco-friendly, honey-based personal care products. The company established their Burt’s Bees Greater Good Foundation in 2007 which is funded by a percentage of the money they get from sales. The goal is for the foundation to empower other non-profit initiatives whose efforts resonate with their own mission at Burt’s Bees. This small business idea – producing healthier, eco-friendly personal care products – is one that many social entrepreneurs are using to create change and earn a living.

One Laptop Per Child Builds Low Cost Laptops

small business ideas - one laptopOne Laptop Per Child is better known as OLPC. This is a non-profit group that is innovating to create the lowest cost laptop possible, that also functions well in harsh conditions like the desert or in a monsoon or when used by a rambunctious child. The laptop was funded through people who donate in their give-one-get-one scheme through which consumers offer $399 for which they will receive their own laptop and have one sent to a child in need.

Proof Eyewear’s Ethical Sunglasses that Give Back

small business ideas - proof eyewearBrooks Dame created his ethical sunglasses company, Proof Eyewear, to produce outdoor eye fashion that’s not only good for the planet, but also great for those living with eye health problems. All sunglasses produced by the company are made from wood taken from sustainably managed forests, and none are made from wood of endangered tree species. Since they’re constructed of wood, the sunglasses are also biodegradable, which gives them a leg up compared to plastic ones. This small business idea involves giving back through profit-generated donations which are sent to nonprofits working toward eye health around the world. He donates funds to an eye clinic in India, a country in which more than 25% of all blind people in the world live.

One World Futbol Project is the Willy Wonka of Sports

small business ideas - one_world_futbol_one_size_again_for_badgeJust like the never-ending gobstopper, One World Futbol Project offers a football that never goes flat and never needs air. This football, even when punctured, stays round and works just as it should. The company states that for every football that is purchased, another is sent to organizations that helps the poorest people all over the world. This promotes healthy lifestyles and sports, and gives deprived children a little bit of joy in their lives.

These are great examples of different ways that small business ideas can be turned into great social change. Let them be inspirational to you as you come up with your own small business idea that gives back. If you know of more inspirational concepts, share them here!

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Chief Evolutionary Officer at Entrepreneurs for a Change
Lorna Li is a business coach, entrepreneur and Amazon rainforest crusader, with a passion for green business, social enterprise, and indigenous wisdom. She helps changemaking entrepreneurs harness the power of the Internet to reach more people and make a bigger impact, while designing the lifestyle of their dreams. She is an Internet marketing consultant to changemakers, and works with innovative tech startups, sustainable brands, social enterprises & B-Corporations on SEO, SEM & Social Media marketing.
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