Posted by: Nick Leiber on January 10, 2012
We’re kicking off our search for businesses to profile in our fourth annual roundup of America’s most promising social entrepreneurs. The idea is to find and report on business ventures that advance a social or environmental mission and aim to turn a profit. We’re asking readers to suggest candidates using the form at the bottom of this post.
Interest in social enterprise has grown in recent years. The movement has given rise to a slew of investors, incubators, networking groups, and other organizations dedicated to helping mission-driven entrepreneurs succeed. Policymakers, too, are recognizing approaches that combine business methods with social missions. Seven states have passed laws creating new legal structures that give companies more leeway to consider social and environmental missions over financial returns.
While definitions of social entrepreneurship vary, for purposes of this roundup, we are searching for for-profit, scalable companies that exist to solve societal problems. We want businesses with social missions baked into their operations, not tacked on as extras. We want companies that can demonstrate results, both in the marketplace and in their missions. That means we’ll only consider companies that will disclose their annual revenues. We’re seeking for-profit companies based in the U.S., doing business here or abroad, that meet these criteria.
Submit your company or another you know of using the form below. We’ll take suggestions through Feb. 9. Know that there is no need to submit the same company more than once. This spring, we’ll post profiles of the 25 our reporters and editors find most promising. Then we’ll ask you to vote for the one you find most promising, and announce the five that get the most votes. (For a look at last year’s roundup, flip through this slide show.)
(Photographer: Thomas Barwick/Getty Images)