On Wednesday of this past week I had the extreme pleasure of attending the fundraising launch of the Green Thing, a social business of which I am now chairman. I don’t want to give too much away, as the official business launch is scheduled for 31 August 2007. What I will say is that all the profits of the Green Thing will go to support environmental causes and that it’s a really clever idea (I am biased). Anyone wishing to “do the green thing” is welcome to click on www.dothegreenthing.com.
So if I’m going to be so mysterious, why am I posting about this business? I would say there are several reasons. First, this funding launch was an exceptionally trendy, well-organized and slick event. The costs were born by a keen social investor, so no worries there, all funds raised still go to support this enterprise. The point is that social businesses need to adopt some of the aspects of mainstream businesses that have made them so successful. To continue to pretend that we can operate in an amateurish way will not in the long run help the cause.
Second, the business itself is based on the ability to utilize, to the fullest extent possible, the power of the internet and related marketing techniques. Again, cynics may moan about the overall issues raised by the influence these factors have on society, however, if we are going to build successful social enterprises, specifically in the internet space, taking advantage of that powerful medium, than we have to adopt the relevant techniques.
Finally, the founders of this business are a further example of things to come in the sector. Andy Hobsbawm and Naresh Ramchandani are two undisputed leaders in their respective fields. They have both given up meaningful sources of income to turn their attention to helping people to “do the green thing”. I hope and I believe there are more out there like them!