3. Conscious Companies


Environment, health, community, society, etc…

Nearly all the assistance for entrepreneurs around the world is targeted to “tech” startup. This is inclusive not only of the other incubators, but also to the Angel investors, Angel Groups, venture capital, and assorted blogs, events, and other forms of assistance found in the entrepreneurial meccas of San Francisco, Seattle, Boston, New York, Austin, etc.

Meanwhile, another set of entrepreneurs is eager to start companies, seeking to solve many of the important problems of the world. Problems effecting the environment, health, communities and society as a whole.

Over the past decade, a new sector has emerged, combining the mission(s) traditionally underlying non-profits and foundations, with the revenue models embraced by for-profits. This sector has many names, including: social enterprise, for-benefit corporations, and impact economy.

Such companies span everything from non-profits trying to diversify their income from philanthropy, to Whole Foods, earning billions in revenues, to Ben & Jerry’s, now part of Unilever.

Fledge works with a subset of this market, mission-driven for-profit companies where the mission is embedded within the product or service. Missions like poverty, hunger, health, financial inclusion, and the environment. Fledge calls these “conscious companies.”

The key here is that the mission of each company is embodied within its product/service, rather than something tacked on the business model. This lets the “conscious companies” focus solely on revenues, rather than trying to balance the needs of the business and the mission.

What this means is that these “conscious companies” act like any other for-profit business. They try and maximize revenues, as more customers and more sales leads to more impact. Revenues are the path to profits, fiscal sustainability, and scale.

It also means that the debates about “mission dilution” are eliminated. For example, when Ben & Jerry’s was acquired, many supporters worried that their mission would be eliminated. In comparison, Zipcar’s mission cannot be diluted via its acquisition by Avis, short of Avis shutting down the service.

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