Doing a World of Good: WorldofGood.com
Evelyn Rodriguez on Making a Difference
I walked into Barefoot Coffee Roasters today (in Santa Clara, CA) because I heard they now have free Wifi (they used to charge).
'They're really passionate about their coffee,' said the undoubtedly Indian entrepreneur to his companion in line ahead of me.
'They insist of giving you espresso in a real cup and advising you that paper cups spoil the taste.'
Not only are they passionate about coffee - they've always been gung-ho on fair trade.
So when I walked into today to the cafe I wasn't surprised to see a new shelf selling exquisite handmade jewelry, candleholders, woven scarves, purses, wallets and other small housewares and personal items from artisans around the world.
The display gave me an opportunity to hear about World of Good, a fairly new social enterprise touting fair trade craftspeople. The company helps emerging artisans in emerging markets reach a global market for their wares.
Having just returned from two months abroad in Thailand and Sri Lanka where tsunami widows have turned to crafts for both livelihood and art therapy I've noted the catch-22: Tourists aren't coming to them, but they don't have the resources to market globally.
So there's definitely something to World of Goods model and mission. 'VCs [are] convinced that there's also money to be made from handmade silk scarves, woven bags, beaded jewelry and 'nonviolent' leather products (the cow must die of natural causes),' says a Time article.
The broader trend? Using business for good picks up steam as social entrepreneurship enters MBA programs. This Time article titled 'Meet the Hard-Nosed Do-Gooders' shares encouraging stats:
According to the 2005 Beyond Grey Pinstripes survey of business schools, the number of core courses with nonprofit-related content has more than doubled, from 10 to 21, at the 49 schools that have participated since 2003. The number of electives with a social or environmental focus-- including courses that explore entrepreneurial solutions to social problems--has almost tripled among the 24 schools that have participated in every survey since 2001, from 137 to 468. Net Impact, a global network of M.B.A. students, graduates and professionals trying to find business-based solutions to change the world, has grown from 3,288 members in 2001 to 13,500 this year.