Social Enterprises: Helping Hand Partners – Giving Communities a Hand

Helping Hands. Image Creative Commons > @Iowa_Spirit_Walker

We’re big advocates of driving change by being the change. That’s why we are big fans of social enterprises. Specifically, we’d like to bring to light a wonderful organization that we’ve been fortunate to work with: Helping Hand Partners.

Social enterprises put a spin on traditional revenue-generating businesses. On the surface, they operate like any other business, applying commercial strategies to maximize revenue and promote their brand. But unlike other companies, social enterprises are run by either nonprofit organizations or for-profit companies with the intention of earning revenue for the sole purpose of improving social and environmental standards.

In short, social enterprises prioritize improving human and environmental well-being as opposed to increasing shareholder profits. They strive to spur local economies and give well-paying, benefit-based jobs to workers within the neighbourhood. Profits are not distributed to individuals—they are pooled in a trust that goes to benefit the community.

We love social enterprises because they are a fantastic representation of “impact purchasing,” wherein what you buy has benefits beyond corporate interest. What companies like us gain from offering products made by social enterprises is the knowledge that every purchase has a direct influence on the workers, the community and the planet as a whole.

One of our key social enterprise suppliers is HHP. HHP is a non-profit organization that helps businesses source socially responsible products for their clients and customers – retailers, meeting and event planners, incentive companies, recognition and reward companies, and even promotional product companies, like Fairware.

Their mission is purely to effect change in the lives of individuals and the business practices of companies through corporate social responsibility; specifically in helping people earn a living and support their families. They represent some truly great examples of social enterprises, including Greyston Bakery, which makes the famous brownies for Ben and Jerry’s.

HHP has connected us to two suppliers—Bright Endeavors and Chicago Lighthouse. Bright Endeavors is a Chicago-based social enterprise that makes eco-friendly spa products and provides career training and jobs to young parents. Chicago Lighthouse, meanwhile, benefits visually-impaired people through its production of home accessories and promotional products. HHP aids both ventures to reach their full potential as a commercial business and increase funding for their social incentives.

Want to learn more about Social Enterprises – check out the resources listed below.

Contact us to learn how you can use social enterprise made merchandise to showcase your values.

Enterprising Non Profits

Canadian Social Enterprise Marketplace

Social Enterprise Alliance