I've finally realized I'm a "social entrepreneur". My major interested include:
* Social investment-capitalized nonprofit ventures: I am currently starting an investment partnership for affordable housing (30-60% AMI) in Charlotte, NC.
* Payday loan reform: I have operated a no-interest small loan fund, linked w/ credit counseling, for employees of growing nonprofit firm in Charlotte for 3+ years.
How do you contribute?
I've launched these and other ventures with relevant experience (community/economic development and mgt consulting), my MBA training, and a continuing passion for private solutions to public problems. Networks of people (NC, DC) who can identify models and help flesh out viable concepts are critical. I've also provided some initial capital for the causes above and one or two others.
What are important lessons you learned?
* Most people are receptive to responsive, well developed ideas for social venture initiatives.
* Many citizens enjoy engaging and investing in ventures with "double bottom lines."
* Employee-focused firms can usually raise the seed capital for in-house loan funds from directors or senior managers.
* (Small) loan repayment risk is minimal with payroll deductions in a low-turnover firm.
What are your favorite social innovation resources?
Local activists and (nonprofit) networks who can articulate their visions, business models (in their language), and improvement/growth needs and opportunities.
Any last thought you would like to share?
* Every city, probably, is rich with opportunities for social enterprise
* Most well-run small firms could capitalize and operate a simple, small, no-interest loan fund, thereby improving employee morale and retention.
Where can we learn more about what you're doing?
Contact info via firstname.lastname@example.org or 704.552.6815