A taste of social entrepreneurship

Posted by: Amy Choi on April 6, 2009

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to spend the day at Greyston Bakery to learn about their mission of providing jobs to the community of Yonkers, N.Y. The for-profit brownie business has an open hire policy, meaning anyone can get a job there. Really, anyone —there’s a sign in sheet at the front door of the facility, and you can walk right in and put down your name and contact information. When the company has jobs to fill, it calls whoever is first on the list, and works its way down. It doesn’t look at previous employment experience, incarceration records, or do any sort of background check. The day I visited, there were more than a dozen names on the list.

Melvin Genao, a 22-year-old originally from the Dominican Republic, has been with Greyston for three years. Before starting at Greyston, Melvin says he was on the street, without real focus. Now, he works as a mixer on the bakery floor, where Greyston produces some 20,000 pounds of brownies a day, and is training to become a mechanic.

If this has whetted your appetite for Greyston, check out the full video in our Feedroom. And for more on other social entrepreneurs, see our Special Report.

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What's it like to run your own company today? Entrepreneurs face multiple hurdles new and old, from raising capital and managing employees to keeping up with technology and competing in a global marketplace. In this blog, the Small Business channel's John Tozzi and Nick Leiber discuss the news, trends, and ideas that matter to small business owners. Follow them on Twitter @newentrepreneur.

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