4 Ways Your Startup Could Save the World
How can you and your company make a difference?
I might be the only optimist left in this great country right now. Before you get annoyed, or destroy me on Twitter, hear me out. Our country was built on the idea of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurs continue to create 63 percent of the new jobs in the United States. In fact, up to 90 percent of jobs globally are created by entrepreneurs. As former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said, “Entrepreneurship is about innovating, breaking down barriers, taking risks and showing that new business models can tackle long-standing problems.” I am bullish because I believe that your companies are going to save the world.
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were developed in 2015 by world leaders and entrepreneurs, serve as a solid framework for not only the end of poverty, but also highlight problem areas for which businesses can find innovative solutions. I think of it as the world’s to do list, and a great starting point for entrepreneurs who are looking to make a difference.
So how can you make a difference? Do you have an idea that will help alleviate one of the world’s pain points? Are you working to save the planet through your profitable company? Here are a few ways you can help save the world:
1. Make sure your company has a triple bottom line of people, planet, profit.
There is an opportunity to put purpose into profit. Weigh your profits equally with the impact on people and how your product enhances the planet. And by the way, this helps sales! Consumers pick purpose-driven products over those with no mission.
2. Collaborate across industries, sectors and communities.
Traditionally, collaborations for global development have been thought about in terms of public-private partnerships or public-private-NGO partnerships. We now know the most successful and sustainable social good efforts have multiple layers of engagement that include stakeholders, for-profit companies, nonprofit agencies and government all working in tandem toward a goal. Seek out partners in government, find community leaders to be advisors and find overlapping missions with a nonprofit.
3. Make inclusion a core tenet of your business.
We are in a time where diversity and inclusion is more important than ever. Look across your company and teams to ensure you have various races, genders and backgrounds working with you. Studies show diverse teams have better performance. Also, think broader -- make sure you think about supplier diversity in your subcontracting.
4. Apply for pitch competitions that emphasize global good.
Purpose-based pitch competitions are starting to emerge in the startup community, including #PitchwithPurpose, the first to include potential impact on the SDGs as a judging criterion. These sorts of competitions allow entrepreneurs an opportunity to practice their pitch, exposure for the organization as well as possibly earn money to further their mission and impact global goals. The 2016 winner of #PitchwithPurpose -- Ann-Christine Langselius, founder of Miraculum -- invented eco-friendly fire safety products that are safe to humans, wildlife and plants -- a solution that contributes to the fulfillment of several SDGs.
I hope you will join the UN Foundation, Circular Board and Dell Technologies as we look for women entrepreneurs who are changing the world.