February 2023 Social Impact News Roundup: Turning Problems into Possibilities 

Alexandra Nemeth

Senior Manager, Content Marketing & Storytelling at MovingWorlds

How Social Entrepreneurs Makes the Impossible, Possible

Did you know that 80% of plastic waste leakage into the ocean globally comes from flexible packaging, like chip bags? This multi-layered plastic waste is considered impossible to recycle, with close to 0% being recycled globally. That is, until now: our friends at Ashaya have created the first ever product from recycled multi-layer plastic. Learn more about Ashaya’s patent pending technology and innovative business model in this inspiring post from its CEO – and proud TRANSFORM Support Hub member – Anish Malpani. Another TRANSFORM Support Hub enterprise making big strides in the space of recycling technology for single-use plastics is Arqlite, which recently unveiled its first eco-friendly home hardware product – the Arqlite Eco Pot. The official launch is happening in March, but you can sign up now for Early Bird access!

These breakthroughs are shining examples of what social entrepreneurship is all about — taking an “impossible” problem and finding a market-based way to solve it with highly ethical and principled operations.

Navigating the Path to Scale

Many social entrepreneurs with brilliant strategies and ground-breaking interventions are held back by the fundamentals of their organizational model: how the organization runs day to day, its norms, structures, and operational heartbeat. As Spring Impact Managing Consultant Sam Edom shares via Pioneers Post, “Successful scale is built on an organizational model that’s driven by the specific needs of your team and your goals, and constantly evolves as those needs change at different stages of development.” Social leaders must carefully and continuously attend to the organizational models – find guidance and templates to help you get started in the full article here. Looking for additional guidance on the journey to scale? Check out Spring Impact’s new Scaling Impact Toolkit – an open source resource for mission-driven organizations and individuals packed with step-by-step guides, tools, strategies, and models. [Find even more toolkits for any of your challenges in the TRANSFORM Support Hub Tools & Resources Library.]

Lessons in Resilience 

From climate change to the market downturn, major shifts have impacted and galvanized our work as a sector over the past year. In the latest impact report from our partners at Mercy Corps Ventures, hear from the entrepreneurs who are meeting the moment, and explore trends, failures, and lessons learned in 2022. The report calls for a “generation-defining level of commitment, creativity, and collaboration from governments and the private sector” – a theme echoed in new research from our partners at Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship about what the social enterprise ecosystem needs right now, as well as in our work convening cross sector partners to support social entrepreneurs via the TRANSFORM Support Hub.

Sustainability Is The New Business As Usual

As Susan Galer from SAP shared in Forbes, “This year’s forecast of sustainability trends looks like the perfect storm (in a good way) of purpose-minded, yet business opportunity-led progress.” Of particular priority to private sector leaders are getting accurate, quality ESG data (particularly ahead of regulations), connected data to drive organizational accountability, innovating sustainable business models, and sustainability as a form of business currency. These predictions certainly ring true in this recent write up about Patagonia’s CEO Ryan Gellert, who shared, “Businesses for far too long have hidden behind this narrative that their number one role is to maximize shareholder wealth…the climate ecological crisis is an existential threat to humanity, and it’s one of our own creation. Business has been part of the problem, and must now be part of the solution… The days of ‘business as usual’ are over.”

Social Impact Job Openings

Upcoming Events & New Programs

  • March 2: Join Collective Impact for a free webinar, “Exploring the Racial Equity Toolkit.” Learn more and register here.
  • March 5-8: Attend the Africa Health Agenda International Conference, focused on building resilient health systems to address issues such as climate change, conflict, and food insecurity. Learn more and register here
  • March 7: Deadline to submit proposals to the Food & Land Justice Fund, A $1 Million USD funding opportunity for black farmers in the southeastern United States working towards food justice. Learn more here.
  • March 13: Deadline to apply for the One Young World Scholarship, open to young leaders working to champion mental wellbeing or create a more equal society. Learn more and apply here.
  • March 16: Attend the TechStrong Con virtual conference, focused on the role of digital business transformation in adapting to a rapidly changing world. Learn more and register here.
  • March 16: Join Impact Entrepreneur’s Laurie Lane-Zucker and social impact pioneer and global development leader Brigit Helms of Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship for a live fireside chat with Q&A, on the topic of Building an Entrepreneur-centric Impact Ecosystem. Learn more and register here.
  • March 24: Deadline to apply to The Bayer Foundation Women Empowerment Award, open to female entrepreneurs active in Africa, Latin America & Asia who create social impact in health, nutrition, & agriculture. Learn more and apply here
  • March 28: Join J.M. Kaplan Fund for an informational webinar about its J.M.K. Innovation Prize and how to apply for an opportunity to win $175,000 USD in funding. Register here
  • March 31: Buy Social USA is hosting a Virtual Logistics EXPO, a free event to connect social enterprises with businesses and other purchasers of logistics services. Learn more and register here
  • March 31: Deadline to apply for the June cohort of the Miller Center’s Social Enterprise Accelerator. Learn more and apply here.
  • March 31: Deadline to apply for funding from Miller Center’s Crypto for Good Fund, open to startups leveraging blockchain technology to drive financial inclusion and climate resilience in emerging markets. Learn more and apply here.

Congratulations to…

A Final Bit of Inspiration

“First, give yourself permission to be a contrarian, to flout convention, to follow the unsafe path, to zig when everyone else zags; then take some action to get going. Allow yourself to try; then try.”
Linda Rottenberg, Co-Founder of Endeavor