Social Enterprises in Industry

As part of Social Entrepreneurship Week, the Bentley Service-Learning and Civic Engagement Center (BSLCE) is highlighting some inspiring organizations in order to demonstrate some of the many ways that social enterprises can impact social outcomes.  The BSLCE is committed to helping students understand the value of civic engagement and to cultivating future business leaders who understand their impact on social issues.  Social entrepreneurship is one of the most exciting avenues toward these goals!


Fair Trade USA enables sustainable development and community empowerment by cultivating a more equitable global trade model that benefits farmers, workers, consumers, industry and the earth by certifying and promoting Fair Trade products.

Impact: Have directed over $250 million consumer dollars to millions of producers so that workers can earn a decent wage and standard of living.

Genesys Works provides high school students with skills training, meaningful internships, and college/career coaching.

Impact: Placed 694 high school students in corporate internships in 2016.

KIPP Foundation provides a rigorous academic and character program for kids.  The program’s tenets are based on high expectations, choice and commitment, more time, power to lead, and a focus on results.

Impact: 98% of the 80,000 students enrolled in the KIPP program perform above average in reading and 90% perform above average in math.

Root Capital grows rural prosperity by investing in agricultural and small growing businesses.

Impact: $1 billion in loans; 2,101 loans to 632 borrowers that generated $6 billion in enterprise revenue.

Patagonia’s mission is to build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, and use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.

Impact: Patagonia donates time, services and at least 1% of company sales to hundreds of grassroots environmental groups all over the world, who work to help reverse the tide of the environmental crisis.

Warby Parker’s mission is to make eyeglasses more affordable and provide access to eyeglasses for the nearly 15% of the world’s population that does not have access to them.

Impact: For each pair of eyeglasses customers buy, Warby Parker donates enough money to provide a pair of eyeglasses to nonprofits like VisionSpring.  They also train nonprofit professionals on how to provide basic eye exams.

VisionSpring seeks to provide affordable access to eyewear everywhere in the world!

Impact: Has created $280 million in economic impact through increased economic productivity by correcting the vision of those in developing countries.

TOMS Shoes’ mission is to improve people’s lives through business.

Impact: Toms shoes donates a pair of shoes to someone in need for every pair they sell, and they also help provide prescription eyeglasses and access to clean water.

d.light design aims to provide safe, sustainable, affordable light to households and small businesses for the nearly 2 billion people living in developing countries around the world.

Impact: Reaches 65 million people with portable solar lights and offsets 23 million tons of CO2 emissions.

charity: water provides access to clean water to the 1 in 10 people around the world that lack such access.

Impact: 7 million people will get clean water as a result of nearly 23,000 clean water projects around the world.

Enterprise Community Partners create opportunity for low- and moderate- income people through affordable housing in diverse thriving communities.

Impact: Invested $4.8 billion in 2015 to create more than 18,200 healthy affordable homes, over 25,000 jobs, and other vital community assets that connect people to opportunity.

Medic Mobile promotes global health equality by designing, building, delivering, and supporting open-source software for health workers and health systems – helping provide better care that reaches everyone.

Impact: 13,577 health workers trained and equipped since 2010.


By Cassandra Layman
Cassandra Layman