Weekend Briefing No. 3

WEEKEND BRIEFING is a selection of insightful articles on social innovation delivered right to your inbox every weekend. If you have friends that would like this, please forward it along. They can sign up for free here.


Ten Trends in Social Entrepreneurship in 2014. Every year Echoing Green receives applications from thousands of rising social entrepreneurs for their prestigious fellowship. It’s probably the best set of data on what’s happening in social entrepreneurship. This year the data scientists at Echoing Green are releasing interesting insights on the 2014 applicants. Apparently their applicants are getting more mature and more for-profit. Check 10 trends in 2014.


Lead with product. Follow with story. The world of philanthropy has long known how to use Seventh Avenue to spur donations and raise our collective consciousness. Charities have inspired “pity purchases,” a transaction driven by liberal guilt, lefty do-goodism, but Maiyet does things differently. Their flagship retail store on Crosby Street, run by Melanie Copple, is more reminiscent of an art gallery than a traditional retail shop. They believe true luxury is artisanship, and have created a premium line, that happens to have a good story: lifting artisans in the developing world out of poverty. This is no pity purchase.  Check out New York Magazine’s piece on Maiyet.


Bold prediction. Now that the benefit corporation statute has been passed in Delaware, Fast Company is predicting that 2014 will be the year when we see the first benefit corporation go public.


How do you scale up? Endeavor and Omidyar set about to answer that question by studying 4,200 entrepreneurs in South East Asia. They found that the majority of new jobs were created by entrepreneurs that were scaling up. The report highlights entrepreneurs in industries from cut flowers to tech and provides insight on the common factors for success and challenges to growth. Check out the full report.


Amazon may sell everything, but Etsy sells something rarer and less tangible: authenticityEtsy (featured in Profit & Purpose) created the craft fair of the future. No matter how big the site gets — in 2013 it had sales of over $1 billion  — Etsy always manages to put the maker front and center. Human interaction is at the heart of its business model; personal stories are paramount. As one community member wrote on the company’s blog, “Buying on Etsy restores your faith in people — at least it did for me.” Here is an insightful blog about Etsy’s 2014 strategy from Chad Dickerson, the CEO of this leading B Corp Certified company.


Enjoy the weekend.