Social Impact is Not Just Trendy During the Olympics!
Large companies have been heating up the TV screen with messages of social impact during the Olympics. They tell the athletes’ stories. We are invested in these journeys to success and the role these corporations play. But what about you and your small business? Can you have a social impact?
Yes you can. We are highlighting much smaller companies and individuals and how they are giving back to their communities.
Jody Steinhauer – CEO The Bargains Group – Toronto Canada
Jody calls herself the CBO (Chief Bargains Officer). She is the founder of a 26 year old award winning discount wholesale and promotional products company. Jody built her company around the philosophy of “giving back makes good business sense”.
Jody’s passion for helping the homeless and her commitment to corporate social responsibility led to the creation of a not-for-profit division within the Bargains Group, where she is able to offer incredible discounts and product donations to not-for-profit agencies working with limited funding.
Her company is always a “first responder” in crises. This June when a devastating fire ripped through the town of Fort McMurray, Alberta, leaving thousands of people homeless, Jody and her employees were loading up tractor trailers to ship essentials out to the fire ravaged city.
In the summer, the Bargains Group has Project Water, to relieve the homeless of the relentless heat by offering summer survival kits. In the winter it is boots and outerwear and blankets for those in need, including the newly arrived Syrian refugees. Jody can call on many corporations, large and small to donate because of her long term commitment to helping those in need. The causes she supports don’t make the headlines like supporting the Olympics, but have more of a social impact to the very vulnerable. The people who get lost in the shuffle.
Jody won the 2016 Provincial Outstanding Community Volunteer Award and is nominated for the 2016 RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Award, having won this award once before. She is a tireless speaker to show others how social impact can make a difference in this world.
Imast Bayzar – Owner Your Boutique, St. Catharines, Canada
Tucked away in Port Dalhousie, the sleepy corner of St. Catharines, is Imast’s unique and delightful fashion boutique, named Your Boutique. Imast, herself is unique. She comes from a family steeped in “giving back”. Her father raised not only his own family but his siblings, when his father passed.
Originally from Turkey, Imast has continued the family tradition of social impact, by supporting and participating in local charity fashion shows such as Wellspring Niagara, May Court Club, Cancer Society and Evangelista/Adams Cancer screening to name a few.
Last October Your Boutique had its own fashion show, a full house, and raised $1200 for Make a Wish Foundation.
Imast is the 2016 winner of the Company of Women Donner Messer Connectivity Award given annually to a women who selflessly makes a difference in the community.
Cate Costa – Founder, Venture Catalyst Consulting
Upon graduation with her MBA degree, Cate could have had any job in a large corporation but she has chosen a different path. As Director of Entrepreneurship at the Urban League in Chicago, she is in charge of programs for two under supported sectors, women and minorities. She has always tried to focus special attention on female and minority business owners because these are groups that have been historically discriminated against and continue to face additional barriers to success in entrepreneurship. It is important to me her to do what she can to help any entrepreneur who is willing to put in the work succeed, but women and minorities are her focus because they continue to be underrepresented in the ranks of the most successful entrepreneurs and she hopes to help change that.
As a result Cate is focusing the majority of her efforts on programs for the Chicago Urban League, relegating her own private practice to evenings and weekends. Cate says:
“It is incredibly rewarding when you build a long-term relationship with a client and are able to see them grow, turn a corner in their business, and succeed a new level, at least in part because of the guidance that you’ve given them. This is a job that truly impacts people’s lives and it’s a wonderful feeling to contribute in any small way to someone achieving their goals and being able to create a better life for themselves and their family.”
Cate has been named one of the 2016 Porsche Power 30 Under 30 in Chicago, was appointed by the Governor of Illinois to the Business Enterprise Council for Minorities, Females, and Persons with Disabilities, was appointed by the Mayor of Chicago to the Chicago Task Force on Barriers to Employment and Entrepreneurship, and her blog was named one of the Best Entrepreneurship Blogs of 2015 and 2016.
How important do you think having a social impact is to you and your business? Can you make a difference in the lives of others, even if you have a “for profit” business, we hope so. If you have an interesting story to tell about “caring and sharing”, contact us to be part of our social impact series.