Fixing Supply Chains: The Future Of Social Entrepreneurship And Business Itself

This month’s Harvard Business Review features an essay by Blake Mycoskie, the founder of TOMS.  It’s an inside look at how he stepped away from his flagship TOMS shoes to found TOMS coffee — and what he learned in that break.

But is TOMS 2.0 the future of social entrepreneurship?  Reading the essay by Mycoskie, I wondered if this was an accurate portrayal of where the “industry” of social innovation is at today and where it’s headed.

TOMS, as we know, has been a forerunner in the social entrepreneurship world.  In many ways, TOMS can be credited with taking the concept of social entrepreneurship to the mainstream. It’s been accepted and celebrated for a decade now, by the biggest names in philanthropy.  Bill Gates first cited TOMS as an example at World Economic Forum back in 2008 when he spoke of conscious capitalism — an idea that’s finally gaining steam today.

TOMS, however, has dealt with its fair share of criticism of the one-for-one model, questioning whether or not they’ve actually made a strong social impact through donations.  As TOMS has added more products to their marketplace and introduced TOMS coffee, the model has stayed the same: simplifying a purchase for a donation.

Yet, that seems to go against the grain of today’s entrepreneurs who are digressing away from charity to actually building businesses that address serious gaps in society — be it lack of jobs, poor wages, environmental pollution, food waste, etc.

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