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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 the mainstream economy.

In all, social enterprises accounted for nearly 2,400 jobs, $49 million in payroll, and $73 million in sales, and SocialVentures is the organization in Columbus that works every day to empower these mission-driven businesses. Why? Because we believe they are the most significant force our city offers to eliminate the social and economic divide that persists throughout central Ohio.

Earlier this spring, SocialVentures co-hosted Philanthropitch from Austin, Texas, to highlight to the public seven of these change agents. And on Aug. 6, SocialVentures’ annual community celebration, Positioned to Prosper, highlighted 11 organizations that have led the growth in this sector over the last five years. The leaders of these organizations are transforming the lives of the formerly incarcerated, of those recovering from substance abuse, and of human-trafficking survivors. They are providing access to healthcare for the LBGTQ community and the minority population of the King-Lincoln District. They are creating employment for veterans and the disabled. They are helping youth thrive, ensuring the homeless have homes, and that the hungry are fed. They are connecting companies to volunteer opportunities that make a difference. Many people are familiar with Joe DeLoss of Hot Chicken Takeover or John Rush of CleanTurn, but they should also get to know Amber Runyon, Kenny Sipes, Matt Goldstein, Merry Korn, Julie Smith, Lisa Hinkelman and the 94 other local social entrepreneurs that are making a difference in, and for, our community.

Social enterprises help us all to do good by creating social impact from what we do every day: buying goods and services. Buy your coffee, your lunch, your muffins, your candles, or your T-shirts from a social enterprise. Get your apartment cleaned and painted or your yard mowed by a social enterprise. Encourage the company where you work to buy from a social enterprise. 

Don’t know how to take the next step? Email, and we’ll help set you on a path to making a difference. Or, discover nearly 100 central Ohio social enterprises with which you can do business at