July 13, 2018  6:20 PM – 7:00 PM

Building businesses with social agendas AMA

Founders are idealists. When they start a business, they have a mission—and hopefully it's not just to get rich at all costs. But how does that mission become intrinsic to the business?

Consider a company like Kiva, which offers microloans. Now compare it to Ethos Water, which donates water every time someone buys bottled water at Starbucks. Both have a social agenda; but of the two, only Kiva would stop working entirely if it abandoned that agenda.

If you want to change the world, it's not enough to be charitable. Your business model must be inherently beneficial. The change you want to see in the world has to be intrinsically woven into the very nature of the company, so a change of fortunes or shift in management won't eliminate the vision with which you started. That's hard—so this AMA will look at how to build a social agenda into a business model so your vision can survive.

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