The fastest way to bring about the change you wish to see in the world is to start a company.
I'm all for playing within existing systems and frameworks, and especially in the nonprofit space, I'd love to see more collaboration and less duplication of efforts. But, when it comes to taking the status quo, smashing it wide open, and then giving people something better to do, use, support, or try, then there's no question about it: entrepreneurship is the surest pathway towards change.
This is why we started Cool People Care, and why we structured it as a business rather than a 501(c)3. Our thinking? Leverage consumers' desires to purchase clothing they like, combine it with a positive message and a measurable impact and you just might have a way for organizations to think beyond the lackluster charity T-shirt. In the process, we'll shift the mindset so that caring is the cool thing to do and build upon (what was very new at the time) the growing desire and ability for people to share their thoughts, ideas, and opinions online. In the end, to increase the attention and money given to the world's most important causes, we needed to start a company.
Rest assured, this isn't a trend. It's how things get done. Do you wish that more goods were produced in the USA? Don't worry about finding the right candidate who will make (or not make, in all likelihood) new laws once elected. Start a business. Fed up with the poor quality of school food? Sure - you can picket the powers that be. Or, you could start a business. Do you see a trend here?
Most of the ways in which the world shifts nowadays does so at the hands of enterprise. We're all consumers at heart, stuck in a matrix of capitalism that is equal parts deceiving and hopeful. But these structures are merely neutral frameworks, giving us the rules and possibility with which we can bring about something new and meaningful to produce the results we wish to see in this world.
Change is a two step mental process. First – give up an old paradigm. Two – adopt a new one.
Maybe the adopting of a new one for you will be in opening up shop.
What do you think?
Can the right kinds of new businesses bring about change in way that's better than the government or nonprofit sectors?