In recent weeks, Suzanne Smith, Social Impact Architects, and Rolfe Larson, Rolfe Larson & Associates, have published blogs that explore the divide between nonprofit and for-profit social enterprises. Both groups call themselves a social enterprises when using the marketplace to create social change; however, there is argument that for-profits are not “true” social enterprises since social impact is not their dominant purpose. In her “Social Trendspotter” post, Suzanne Smith’s headline called for social entrepreneurs to “Tear Down This Wall!”
In Cincinnati, we’ve torn down this wall and built a bridge. Nonprofits and for-profits have recognized that it takes everyone working together to maximize impact. It’s with that purpose in mind that Flywheel Social Enterprise Hub has led the way, merging best practices and resources in Cincinnati’s thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem with the social sector. This city does not define “true” social enterprise but rather welcomes any and all organizations, nonprofit or for-profit, that want to create positive social change.
Consider the bridge built by Thrive Impact Sourcing in partnership with the nonprofit Per Scholas. Two problems: a regional poverty rate that is twice the national average and a regional shortage of IT professionals. Together, these organizations bring high-quality technology education, job training, and career development to unemployed and underemployed individuals in an 8-week training program that provides graduates an opportunity for continued growth and development with full-time positions in Thrives’ Urban Outsourcing Center.
Just one example of how Cincinnati has torn down the wall of for-profits and nonprofits; now we’re building a bridge.