Corporations and businesses are always looking to add to their community engagement to lift their brands and expand their philanthropic portfolios. In the past, the way that many have chosen to do this is by making donations to large non-profits. While this is fantastic and should continue I believe that an emerging trend is the future of corporate community engagement.
Startups have seized the imagination of the investment world in the past 20 years. Silicon Valley has returned billions and shows like Shark Tank have popularized the relationship between investors and startups. The first step in expanding investment opportunities has been the new availability of Regulated Crowdfunding (RCF) that allow everyday folks to invest in new startups. But it’s time to go even further.
While billions is being poured into tech and biotech startups there are still investment deserts all around our tech hub cities. Many emerging entrepreneurs who have simple ideas often don’t have access to funding because of the attraction of big ROI dreams. But yet – our communities are filled with everyday entrepreneurs who have a great idea and the drive to make their business dream become a reality – especially in our black and brown communities.
So while many corporations give to large non-profits, their donations simple become part of the overall programs of the non-profits. This doesn’t always benefit the corporation as much as it should as it often doesn’t lead to high employee or community engagement and doesn’t give the corporation the personal impact stories that lift and inspire.
That’s why I’m working to bring these two futures together into a new model of corporate citizenship and community investment.
Because of my long history in community engagement and deep relationships with non-profits, churches, and local entrepreneurs I have developed a program that cultivates, consults, and oversees the investment of small SEED grants of $5,00 – $25,000 to vetted local entrepreneurs for their startup projects. These startup projects are not the next global tech company but rather, local businesses that will meet a community need and create local living wage jobs.
Currently, I’m in the process of setting up The Social Investment Cooperative, a 501(c)3 that will bring this program to life.
This is a win-win for everyone as it funds critically needed local small scale startups, teaches entrepreneurial skills to emerging leaders, and facilities a personal relationship between the entrepreneur and the corporation where we will create videos of their story and success for your marketing, involve your employees in their engagement, and work to enable them to join your corporate events so you both can share in each other’s success.
This is personal SEED investments that help to lift your brand, deepen your community engagement, and heighten your employee engagement.
Stay tuned! There will be more information coming soon!