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Blog Posts

Sep 26, 2019
Taking root

Farm-to-table food-grower preps for sustainability, 2020 launch John Schrock is an engineer who has an idea for how to transform the farm-to-table movement. Having worked on the concept for several years, this summer he plugged into SEA Change, an accelerator program in central Ohio focused on jumpstarting social enterprises. Roots Up will manufacture and operate […]

Sep 24, 2019
Next Up: New breed of enterpreneurs shaking up central Ohio, re-inventing business as usual

Social entrepreneurs are the new generation of change agents in Columbus because they combine social impact with strong business sense. In 2015, SocialVentures could count only 18 such businesses, but now they number more than 100. These are the entrepreneurs who last year created 253 new jobs for people who have typically been excluded from […]

Aug 16, 2019
A different tack on testing

Institute rethinking what leads schools, students to improvement School Performance Institute launched as the learning and improvement arm of the nonprofit United Schools Network. Its core purpose is to study and spread school design and improvement best practices to high poverty schools. It combines what it has learned from more than 120 school visits across […]

Jul 25, 2019
Reflections on 5 years:
Two SocialVentures board members look backā€”and ahead

The social enterprise sector in Central Ohio has expanded from 18 businesses to almost 100 since the launch of SocialVentures in 2014, accounting for nearly 2,400 jobs and $49 million in payroll. The sector has become the largest local job creator for individuals traditionally excluded from employment: ex-offenders, recovering addicts, survivors of trafficking, chronically homeless, […]

Jun 27, 2019
Pearl in the Rough:
Social enterprise launches 24/7 video health-care conferencing for at-risk rural populations

When we talked with founder Merry Korn last year, she was planning a beta launch of a new rural healthcare business, Pearl TLC (Tele Life Care), a remote monitoring service providing 24/7 access to healthcare via video conferencing with nurse case managers and support care coordinators. It’s seen as a way to provide access to care to […]

Feb 14, 2019
For-Profit Making a Difference in Ohio Prisons: Q&A with Nick Hirsch of Coffee Crafters Academy

Nick Hirsch is the Managing Director of Coffee Crafters Academy. This business operates cafes inside of correctional facilities as a hands-on program to teach inmates marketable skills and to develop a positive work history that will help them obtain employment once released. It is a for-profit social enterprise of Nothing Into Something Real Estate (NISRE) […]

Dec 11, 2018
Ruling Our eXperiences expanding its impact nationwide helping girls find success

Lisa Hinkelman, a former professor at The Ohio State University (OSU), has turned a research study into a multi-state business. Ruling Our eXperiences (ROX) is a nonprofit committed to equipping girls with the knowledge and skills they need to lead healthy, independent, productive, and violence-free lives. The organization achieves this by providing a K-12 school […]

Nov 29, 2018
Q&A with CleanTurn’s John Rush: Quiet Persistence Builds 2000 Percent Customer Growth

John Rush has started three for-profit businesses over the past six years that are committed to creating more stable lives for survivors of human trafficking, recovering drug addicts, the formerly incarcerated, and those that society has neglected. In six years, he has created 668 jobs and expanded his customer base by 2000 percent. CleanTurn’s brands […]

Oct 5, 2018
Q&A with Steve Votaw: Two Startups Help Mission Keep up With Growing Needs

Steve Votaw has used his two degrees in criminal justice to tackle its underlying causes. He spent the first 18 years of his professional life expanding Directions for Youth and Families to a $8 million nonprofit serving at-risk families. For the past three years, Steve has served as president of the Furniture Bank of Central […]

Sep 20, 2018
Bringing Convenience to Good Nutrition: Q&A with Anique Russell, Too Good Eats

Anique Russell left her job teaching special education in Columbus Schools to turn to social entrepreneurship dedicated to teaching parents about good nutrition through providing healthy snacks and nutrition education. With her husband she launched Too Good Eats in 2016. Targeted at families and moms in the 25 to 35 age group and operating out […]