It’s rather heartening to witness the various ways in which the entrepreneurial millennial population is giving back to the society. And the surprising revelation is this: they aren’t looking at charity as a way to be philanthropic. A study conducted in 2016 shows that the millennial contribute only 11% to gross charity donations. This makes sense since they are only beginning to create revenue streams and profits for their business ventures.
Young entrepreneurs designing their path
An increasing number of young entrepreneurs are owners of diverse businesses that may be modern or traditional. While industries such as real estate and fashion continue to interest young entrepreneurs, a growing percentage of the Millennial is also venturing into high technology businesses such as apps, e-commerce, and other web-related businesses. These smart young entrepreneurs are extremely proactive in raising funds from various sources to kick-start and sustain their business projects. In fact, they are deemed to be the new “industry captains”.
There is no denying the fact that the digital era has managed to open up numerous profit-making streams for the millennial population. That’s why you hear about a plethora of start-up businesses getting established at such a rapid pace.
While it’s exciting to scale profits and explore an unlimited number of revenue streams, giving back to the society that helped establish and run the business is also quite satisfying. Let’s have a look at some of the millennial entrepreneur ventures that are doing an excellent job at contributing to the society.
1. Higgins Would Be Proud
Want to hear about a highly, socially-conscious business venture started by the millennials? Higgins Would Be Proud (HWBP), the t-shirt company based out of Toronto.
HWBP was started by Fang Yu and Ben Egnal, graduates from the acclaimed Parsons School of Design, back in 2013. The business naturally started off with a brilliant idea: the first t-shirt line designed with the Higgins analogy was a huge success. You could buy t-shirts with the ‘Butcher Pug’ that were inspired by animal images hanging in butcher stores. The t-shirt had back rolls and Higgins’ jowls replacing cross sections of ribs and lions.
The owners of the brand believe that it’s not just about creating and selling cool t-shirts, they need to do something to give back to the society too. Hence, since the time HWBP was launched, 10% of every purchase has been going to ElderDog, a charity that is dedicated to helping older adults care for their dogs. The organization also looks after older dogs that are leading disrupted lives owing to sickness or due to the absence of a caregiver.
In the recent times, the HWBP owners have also made an effort to reach out to several homeless people who own dogs. In winter last year, HWBP along with a Toronto shelter, Fred Victor Centre, decided to do something for this section of the society. They went around in the extreme cold, handing out hoodies to the homeless on the street, one for the owner and a matching one for the dog.
2. My Green World
As far as an age analysis is concerned, it appears like the millennials, that is, those in the age group of 16 to 36 years, as well as baby boomers, are more likely to take up social entrepreneurship.
‘My Green World’ is a hybrid business venture started by Natalie Kyriacou in Melbourne, Australia. The aim of this project is to encourage wildlife charities and boosting donations. The owner is also hopeful of engaging children and more young people to help solve ecological issues.
How does the business make a profit? It offers educational content on various wildlife topics to children. It has also developed a game app called ‘World of the Wild’ to increase interaction with children.
Kyriacou had to sell off her car, pitch in all her savings and raise funds through crowdfunding, events, and from her family, in order to develop the app. Two years into the business, she continues to work another job and is a freelance marketing and public relations professional. Kyriacou says that they aren’t making profits currently and that she did not start the project to become a millionaire. The core purpose of “My Green World” was to have a positive impact on the environment.
Another highly talked about philanthropic effort is that of the Facebook owner, Mark Zuckerburg and Priscilla Chan. The couple has pledged “to leave the world a better place” and will give away 99% of their shareholdings in the Facebook (about $45 billion) to charity. However, this is still quite a publicized charity initiative. There are many other young entrepreneurs are coming up with innovative ways to include philanthropy in their business model.
The stories of HWBP and My Green World demonstrate how millennials have been using their businesses to help make the world a more livable place. Some of the common ways in which socially conscious, young entrepreneurs are contributing to the society through business include partnering with non-profit organizations, sharing products/services with the less fortunate, doing volunteer work and through donations. A lot of young entrepreneurs are also encouraging employee participation in philanthropic efforts to help spread the message of compassion and empathy.
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