This may come as a shock, but the social entrepreneurship fest really, really loves social enterprises
The 2019 Festival for Good takes place on Saturday, Sept. 7 from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. on West Town Street in Franklinton (near BrewDog). The businesses featured at the Festival For Good were started with a deliberate dual purpose: to harness the power of business to address the needs of the community. This innovative concept, often called "Social Entrepreneurship," has inspired over 100 new Columbus-based businesses to make giving back as simple as buying the right cup of coffee or hiring the right landscaper.
We search all year to bring together social enterprises, old and new, in historic Franklinton for one day only, so that you can explore and discover who, what and how you want to support social change throughout the year. Here are a few things we at the fest love:
Since our festival was created to draw attention to these business models, we'd be remiss to not mention them as something we love. A social enterprise is a business that was started because the founder wanted to make a social impact using a sustainable financial model. There are a bunch of different kinds of models — "buy one/give one" and businesses that provide jobs and support for people with barriers to employment are two of the most common. They are also particularly hot right now, and we'll have 30-plus at the festival on Saturday.
Is it cheating to list three as one? These three entities are the programming and training system for social enterprise in Columbus. They support one another and can help move an entrepreneur through a weekend-long workshop, a 14-week accelerator and provide continued support once they're done. Without these ventures, many of the operating social enterprises in Columbus wouldn't exist.
Our social enterprise ecosystem would not be what it is today without the collaborative nature of Columbus. The city's support for entrepreneurs, willingness to meet with just about anybody and (relative) lack of ego makes Columbus the perfect place for social enterprises to make a real difference.
The rise of volunteerism
Our social service sector couldn't achieve nearly as much impact without volunteers. Volunteers not only make things happen, but often build connections across cultural and socio-economic differences. And that's something we all desperately need, whether we realize it or not. Two GiveBackHack and SEA Change alumni, BESA and POINT, are making it easy to volunteer through your workplace (BESA) or through an app available on the app store (POINT). There's also an online option through Experience Columbus; take your pick and get involved!
Festival for Good attendees
Our attendees make the event what it is: an amazing way to provide exposure to businesses for whom doing good is like breathing. The attendees enjoy adult beverages and music, play our sticker game to engage with the vendors and win awesome prizes, and hang out. Our hope is that when they leave they know they've made a difference, and know to head to SocialVentures' marketplace to continue to support social enterprise throughout the year. If each person tells one more person about this concept, the social enterprise sector will grow and make an even bigger impact in our community!