The wonderful Bethany Palm has headed up a number of amazing social enterprises and she’s on a mission to make a real difference to even more lives with Social Good Impact! Beth and her team at Social Good Impact equip social entrepreneurs and change makers with the tools to change the world! We’re very excited to share her story with you.
First things first, please can you introduce yourself and explain what Social Good Impact does and who’s involved?
I’ve worked in the nonprofit sector in Minnesota for the last 15 years, 10+ of those years in social enterprises. Starting at Goodwill/Easter Seals Minnesota in 2006, I became obsessed with the idea of using business to solve social issues. While getting my MBA, I wrote feasibility studies and business plans for new earned income ideas and launched the Social Enterprise Alliance – Twin Cities chapter with a team of amazing colleagues.
I led a social enterprise called CityKid Java for 3 years as Director of Operations/General Manager and last year, founded a new social enterprise: BAM Essentials. I’ve worked as a consultant with clients to create strategic plans, presentation documents, full business plans and feasibility studies.
Social Good Impact is here to equip social entrepreneurs and changemakers with the tools to change the world. If you want to start a social enterprise, grow a conscious company, find like-minded people who “get it”, and develop self-care practices – you’ve found the right place.
What inspired you to be a social entrepreneur and changemaker and to bring like-minded people together?
I’m realizing that I’m best in projects (with a start and end), and when I can use my business background to bring process and best practice to social entrepreneurs who may not necessarily have that background. It’s the best way that I know to 10X my impact on the social enterprise sector.
Where are you based and what’s the response been towards Social Good Impact in your local area and further afield?
I’m based in Minnesota, USA and so far the response has been great! The business planning tools are definitely of interest among the people I’ve talked with.
There are lots of definitions flying around about ‘better business’. What’s the difference between a social enterprise, a B Corp and a Benefit Corporation?
I actually have a couple of blog posts about those exact topics and definitions!
What kinds of social enterprises and conscious companies have you helped to grow and how?
Over the past 10 years, I’ve adjusted my purchasing habits to support as many social enterprise companies as possible. I started by just trying to wear one social enterprise item each day, so I could start pointing to examples in my daily life. Today – almost everything I’m wearing is a social enterprise.
We discovered Social Good Impact though the monthly #socentchat on twitter, can you tell us a bit about it?
#socentchat is a totally 100% FREE monthly Twitter chat – hosted by @socialgoodim and @criticalNZ. #socentchat happens the third week of each month. The format is slow chat style: We’ll tweet one question per day, for a week, each month. 5 questions, 5 days. We do this so you can participate, no matter where in the world you live, work or play. No matter what time zone you’re in, you can participate in this Twitter Chat. Find more information and join us at https://www.socialgoodimpact.com/socentchat/
What are the biggest challenges faced by social entrepreneurs?
It varies, depending on who you ask, but the big ones are: funding sources/access to capital, marketing/sales/awareness, and project management/work-life balance. With Social Good Impact, I hope to equip social entrepreneurs with the tools to grow sales and make the case for access to capital.
What kind of tools do you offer to equip changemakers to make a start and do something great?
For now, general information about the sector, ways to connect with other like-minded people through our #socentchat on Twitter and Facebook group, and a listing of social enterprise deals (https://www.socialgoodimpact.com/social-enterprise-deals/). Going forward, more specific spreadsheets, templates and tools for launching and growing social enterprises.
What are your plans for the year ahead?
Webinars, publishing toolkits and working with social entrepreneurs to solve social and environmental issues. 2017 will be a big year!
Thanks so much to Beth for sharing her story and her knowledge on this subject, I’ve certainly learnt a lot and been inspired by all the work Beth and her team have managed to accomplish. I hope you have too!
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