Forbes: The Forprofit Social Enterprise

“The Forprofit social enterprise is the impact model of the future” says the CEO and co-founder of LeadGenius, which specializes in lead generation data and go-to-market intelligence for e-commerce teams

Just a few weeks ago, I was writing about the forprofit social enterprise model and how it aligned with an argument made nearly 500 years ago by Martin Luther, an argument that could be read in the 2009 papal encyclical Caritas in Veritate.

Was this a coincidence? The article goes on to say:

“Contrary to popular belief, profitability and positive social impact are not mutually exclusive. It is, in fact, possible to build a successful company and do good.

A ‘forprofit social enterprise’ bakes social impact mission directly into its business model. Doing good is the core of the business, not just something that happens along the way.

Here’s how we put it in the 2007 ‘Marshall Plan’ for Ukraine.

“This is a long-term permanently sustainable program, the basis for “people-centered” economic development. Core focus is always on people and their needs, with neediest people having first priority — as contrasted with the eternal chase for financial profit and numbers where people, social benefit, and human well-being are often and routinely overlooked or ignored altogether. This is in keeping with the fundamental objectives of Marshall Plan: policy aimed at hunger, poverty, desperation and chaos. This is a bottom-up approach, starting with Ukraine’s poorest and most desperate citizens, rather than a “top-down” approach that might not ever benefit them. They cannot wait, particularly children. Impedance by anyone or any group of people constitutes precisely what the original Marshall Plan was dedicated to opposing. Those who suffer most, and those in greatest need, must be helped first — not secondarily, along the way or by the way. “

This can be also be found in my 2013 Mixmarket article, on re-imaging capitalism .

What you won’t read about in Forbes is the battle to save tens of thousands of children which began with founder Terry Hallman’s expose of ‘Death Camps, for Children’, nor of his efforts to leverage support before his death.

It was from this form of social enterprise that the question of the purpose of business arose in a paper written by Terry Hallman for the Committee to Re-elect the President.

‘At first glance, it might seem redundant to emphasize people as the central focus of economics. After all, isn’t the purpose of economics, as well as business, people? Aren’t people automatically the central focus of business and economic activities? Yes and no.

‘People certainly gain and benefit, but the rub is: which people? More than a billion children, women, and men on this planet suffer from hunger. It is a travesty that this is the case, a blight upon us all as a global social group. Perhaps an even greater travesty is that it does not have to be this way; the problems of human suffering on such a massive scale are not unsolvable. If a few businesses were conducted only slightly differently, much of the misery and suffering as we now know it could be eliminated. This is where the concept of a “people-centered” economics system comes in.’

He argued that we need to reform capitalism, such that profit is measured in terms of human wellbeing, saying:

“We can choose to not reform capitalism, leave human beings to die from deprivation — where we are now — and understand that that puts people in self-defense mode.

“When in self-defense mode, kill or be killed, there is no civilization at all. It is the law of the jungle, where we started eons ago. In that context, ‘terrorism’ will likely flourish because it is ‘terrorism’ only for the haves, not for the have-nots. The have-nots already live in terror, as their existence is threatened by deprivation, and they have the right to fight back any way they can.

“‘They’ will fight back, and do. “

Interviewed in 2004 about his work in Russia, he said:

“The P-CED model is not a charity sort of operation. It is business. What we choose to do with profits is entirely up to us, and we choose before anything else happens to set most of our profits aside to assist poor people. In fact, our corporate charter requires us by law — UK law, where rule of law is very well established — to use our profits only for social benefit. We cannot do anything else with it.”

It’s too late for the children in Death Camps, too late for the passengers of MH17 and the 18,000 who’ve died in a conflict sparked by an EU trade agreement.

What is never too late, is a reformation of capitalism.

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Jeff Mowatt

Putting people above profit, a profit-for-purpose business #socent #poverty #compassion #peoplecentered #humaneconomy