Business should have a purpose beyond profit
Our community is focussed on supporting social enterprises that are creating environmentally sustainable products and services. We think of social enterprises as a “business with a purpose beyond profit”.
Makuma is a social enterprise, for example. Our mission is to help create a sustainable society in which everyone has happy, healthy relationships. Our customers pay for some of the services we offer, which allows us to pay our team, to offer other services for free, and to grow and develop new services - all to help us achieve our mission.
This is different to a charity, because we’re trying to generate a profit. We feel that:
- profit is a clear sign we’re delivering real value to our customers
- if we communicate our impact clearly and transparently, our customers will value it
- operating as a profitable business allows us to work with ethical suppliers, even if they’re a little more expensive. That way, we help them grow their impact too
- proving that an idea can make a profit as well as an impact allows others to more easily replicate our success in other parts of the world
Starting a profitable business is a difficult challenge in itself, but starting one that’s focussed on creating a positive environmental impact is even harder. These businesses can only survive and thrive if they have a supportive community around them.
Healthy relationships are the foundation of healthy businesses
Effective collaboration is crucial to these startups being successful, yet requires skills that we certainly weren’t taught in school, and often can’t be found in a corporate environment either.
We believe that compassionate, healthy relationships are the necessary foundation for effective collaboration, both within a team and with the broader community, because:
- when we know that the person we’re interacting with deeply cares about us and our success, it’s easier to be grateful for their constructive feedback and learn from it
- when we feel safe to quickly admit we’ve made a mistake, we can fix it before it becomes a major issue
- when we have the confidence to have the difficult conversations that we might otherwise avoid, we can make much better decisions
- when we’re confident we’ll be supported whatever the outcome, we’re more willing to explore new and creative approaches
Makuma is developing practical activities and support for developing these relationship skills. The physical space will also be designed to encourage authentic connection.
Building a better world, one relationship at a time
The idea we’re presenting here might feel overwhelming when you think about all the steps we need to take to bring this community space to reality.
That’s why this isn’t a “master plan” with every little detail. Instead, we are focussed on building relationships with people who are particularly passionate about an aspect of the project, and who want to play a role in designing and building it. The ideas presented here have been left intentionally incomplete, because we want to give space for those who get involved to fill in these empty spaces with their creative ideas.
If you’re excited by the possibilities, we’re looking forward to getting to know you!