From B Corps and Public Benefit Corporations, to commercial non-profits and small businesses making
intentional social change -- Social Enterprises can take many forms, but are all using business as a tool
to make a positive social and environmental impact in their community and the world.
Social Enterprises are tackling social challenges
across every industry, measuring impact in areas
including, but not limited to:
Meet our Innovative Ambassadors of Social Enterprise who are pioneering and leading the change needed to
build a new economy, one that is driven by purpose over profits -- an economy that works for everyone.
Meet Can Can Wonderland
Social Enterprise Model: Public Benefit Corporation
Impact Areas: Economic Development, Arts & Culture
Located in St. Paul's Hamline Midway neighborhood and the Creative Enterprise Zone, Can Can Wonderland combines art and play to create a one-of-a-kind arts immersive environment for people of all ages to enjoy. As one of the first arts organizations in Minnesota to become a public benefit corporation; social purpose is at the core of Can Can Wonderland’s mission to be an economic engine for the arts.
*54+ Artists Employed in creation of the golf course
*$570,000 paid out to artists in first year of operations alone
*Grew staff to 57 Full Time employees
*Produced an average of 20 art programs each week
Meet Tech Dump
Social Enterprise Model: Commercial Nonprofit
Impact Areas: Environment & Consumption, Workforce Development.
Tech Dump is a social enterprise that provides jobs and training to people who face barriers to employment, such as previous incarceration, addiction, and/or homelessness, and protects the environment by responsibly diverting electronic waste through recycling and reuse. Tech Dump has the highest industry standards for secure e-waste recycling.
Tech Dump collects old electronics from businesses and also operates a retail arm, Tech Discounts which offers quality used desktops, laptops and more at great prices. Making technology affordable removes one more barrier to access.
Measuring Impact: Since its inception, Tech Dump has processed more than 25 million pounds of e-waste. In the process, it has provided more than 300,000 hours of job training. The organization's impact includes extensive job training that leads to living wage employment; responsible electronics recycling, and refurbishing that lessens the harmful effects of pollution in our environment; and refurbished electronics that make technology affordable and accessible.
Meet Element Gym
Social Enterprise Type: For-profit, Specific Benefit Corporation
Impact Areas: Economic Development, Youth & Education, Food & Health
Element Gym is a social enterprise gym and fitness company dedicated to providing entrepreneurial and educational opportunities to others in the industry, and creating a sense of community by boldly standing against and fighting inequalities. With an un-orthodox approach to gym operation, Element Gym, puts people over profits, focusing on impact through changing lives and creating happiness while giving back in the community in conjunction with the Element Foundation.
Building equality through exercise, The Element Foundation was established in partnership with Element Gym to help improve the health and fitness of children in the Twin Cities through community based educational programming, philanthropy and scholarship opportunities.
Measuring Impact: In 2018, Element Gym defined success with the development and implementation of 5+ programs, providing 800+ staff and volunteer hours, creating 6 new jobs, 8 community partnerships, and recognized by Ramsey County, with over 60+ referrals for their impactful programs.
Element Gym provided 24 scholarships, over 350+ hours of free classes, serving diverse communities including over 65 individual above the age of 45. This past year Element Gym became a Rock Steady Boxing Affiliate, a unique exercise program, based on training used by boxing pros, and adapted to people with Parkinson’s disease.
Meet Sisterhood Boutique
Social Enterprise Type: For-profit social enterprise of nonprofit Pillsbury United Communities
Impact Areas: Youth & Education, Economic Development, Gender Equality
The Sisterhood Boutique is a social enterprise clothing store developed by East African women between the ages of 14 and 23, dedicated to building a positive place for girls and women living in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis.
These young female entrepreneurs designed a shop with a colorful variety of clothing and accessories available, to not only provide affordable clothing options for residents of the neighborhood, but pave the way for a program where young women learn a variety of personal and professional skills.
The boutique is one of 8 social enterprises run and supported by Pillsbury United Communities.Pillsbury United Communities is a 501c3 that expects young people to get to and through college — and onto lives full of possibility. Their efforts support educational success and life readiness starting in preschool to k-12 and continuing all the way to scholarships for higher education.
Measuring Impact: Over four years since inception, Sisterhood Boutique has supported:
*124 Young-Women Employed
With a 98% High School Graduation Rate and 88 participants enrolled in Post Secondary Education.
Meet Eat for Equity
Social Enterprise Type: Non-profit with a for profit subsidiary
Impact Areas: Food & Health, Workforce Development
Eat for Equity, a nonprofit social enterprise, is dedicated to building a culture of generosity through sustainable community feasts of all sizes to raise money for charitable causes. Eat for Equity is built on the idea that when we all give what we can, we can make a big impact together.
Eat for Equity Catering began as a project of Eat for Equity in 2013 and recently incorporated in 2018 as a separate specific benefit corporation to promote and model equitable and sustainable food sourcing and provide access to conscious food choices. This catering business is used to further support local nonprofit causes.
Measuring Impact: Eat for Equity has created over 303 community feasts dishing up 31,500 plates of locally-sourced, organic food. For every $1 Eat for Equity spends hosting an event, $5 is donated back to local nonprofits. Since its inception, Eat for Equity has raised over $207,000 for local and international nonprofit causes. The organization invests $1 back into the local economy and farmers, with $126,000 invested in local food.
Meet Sunrise Banks
Social Enterprise Type: For-profit social enterprise, Public Benefit Corporation + B Corp
Impact Areas: Economic Development
Sunrise Banks, based in St. Paul, Minnesota, seeks to radically change the way urban communities and people thrive by empowering them to achieve financial wellness. Sunrise is certified by the U.S. Treasury as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), a designation earned by approximately 100 banks nationwide.
Sunrise Banks uses a do good approach to their business model. The organization creates both people and place based products that make a difference in communities. Sunrise Banks is more than a bank; they create strong relationships and look for multiple ways to make an impact. It's quite simple: believe in the power of business as a force for good and your impact will be multiplied.
Sunrise Banks's mission focused approach, national charter, and innovative spirit, have catapulted the organization onto national platforms.
Measuring Impact: As a legally incorporated benefit corporation in Minnesota, Sunrise has a corporate purpose to create a material positive impact on society and the environment and has expanded the fiduciary duty of our leadership to include consideration of stakeholder interests. Sunrise is committed to rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.
In addition, Sunrise continues to be a Certified B Corp. In 2018, Sunrise once again scored in the top 10% of all Certified B Corps for overall social and environmental impact and was named to the Best for the World honoree list for the 6th time.