Addressing our most pressing issues is often associated with the work of nonprofits. Yet the philanthropic sector is so small, even the most effective programs in the world wouldn’t solve our global challenges across sectors such as food, water, health, and education. More and more, we’re seeing how business can serve as a tool for achieving social and environmental objectives. A common myth in the business world is that integrating a social or environmental mission is a burden on the bottom line. On the contrary, aligning mission and model presents significant market opportunities for both new businesses and established enterprises alike.

Businesses can increase profits by innovatively rethinking their products, markets and services to address societal issues and achieve economic success. Startups that consider their total return, both financial and social or environmental, will find themselves ahead of the competition when it comes to price increases and volatility, regulation, and social pressures. And whether it’s a mom and pop shop or a high-growth tech venture, businesses that operate with a clear social or environmental mission have greater employee engagement and are more likely to gain customer share.

Charlottesville is home to a small but growing pool of mission-driven businesses that are creating measurable positive impact both within and outside of our region. Maternity Neighborhood combines its digital platform with a new model of care delivery to help communities achieve better maternal health outcomes. Grow Oyster Reefs’ products are helping coastal communities regenerate their oyster populations and create more resilient marine ecosystems. High Tor Gear Exchange is supporting the circular economy by providing consumers not only a way to extend the life of their gear and clothing, but also shop for “new” items for their next adventure. The firms comprising Charlottesville Renewable Energy Alliance – Apex Clean Energy, Lumin, Sun Tribe, and more – are leading us to a low-carbon economy. Businesses like these will prove to be the winners in the marketplace of our future.   

To learn more about how to build a mission-driven business, join CBIC and Presidential Precinct on October 17 for Tech Night Takeover’s “Social Good Means Good Business.”  Event information and tickets available now

About the Author
Beth Johnson
Author: Beth JohnsonWebsite:
Program Director
Beth serves as Blue Morning’s Program Director. In her role, she manages Blue Morning’s programming, oversees its pipeline development, and brings on resources that advance the growth of mission-driven companies. Previous to Blue Morning, Beth worked in the non-profit and impact investing space.